September 17, 2010, 2:10 PM

Netflix obtains streaming rights for newer theatrical films

Netflix will stream five to 10 Nu Image/Millennium Group films per year.

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Netflix Inc. has signed a long-term agreement with Nu Image/Millennium Films to stream newer theatrical films to Netfix members.

Under the agreement, theatrical films distributed by the Nu Image/Millennium Group will be licensed to Netflix for streaming over the Internet to subscribers. Previously, these films would have been licensed to premium TV channels, the companies said.

Between five and 10 theatrical films per year will flow to Netflix through the agreement.  Films generally will stream a few months after the films are released on DVD. Nu Image and Millennium films are best known for big-budget action and thriller movies, including “The Expendables,”  “Brooklyn’s Finest,” “Righteous Kill,” “16 Blocks” and “Black Dahlia.”

“(Nu Image CEO) Avi Lerner and Nu Image have a remarkable track record of producing crowd-pleasing and profitable films,” says Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix. “Their ability to work across multiple studios and maintain a consistent output of diverse and successful films makes Avi and his company perfect Netflix partners for theatrical features in the pay TV window.”

Among the first films to be released under the deal is Dito Monteil’s 2011 scheduled release “Son of No One,” a crime drama starring Channing Tatum, Al Pacino, Katie Holmes, Tracy Morgan, Ray Liotta and Juliette Binoche.  “Elephant White,” starring Academy Award nominee Djimon Hounsou and Golden Globe winner Kevin Bacon, also is slated for Netflix. The film, scheduled for release in 2011, is a drama about a contract killer caught up in the white slave trade in Thailand.

Netflix, No. 14 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is the No. 3 paid video provider in the country after Comcast and Time Warner, according to Forrester Research. Netflix says that last year 61% of its approximately 15 million subscribers streamed a TV show or film online.

Netflix in August signed similar distribution agreements with Epix, a fledgling pay movie channel that is a joint venture among Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Lionsgate studios, and with Starz in 2008.

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