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Netflix-iPic Entertainment tie up; to release original films

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MUMBAI: The subscription led video-on-demand (SVOD) streaming service Netflix has partnered with iPic Entertainment theater chain to release selective original films. These movies will shown simultaneously on the streaming service and at iPic theaters across the US.

With this deal, several reports have surfaced mentioning the red light on rival theater owners.

The partnership is set to launch from Friday with Netflix's war thriller The Siege of Jadotville, opening at iPic theaters in Los Angeles the same day it's released on the streaming service.

"Consumer choice is a pillar of our philosophy and the unparalleled level of comfort and hospitality offered at iPic made this a natural partnership," said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos in a statement.

The movie chain operates 15 theaters with 113 screens nationwide, including in New York, Miami Beach, Houston and Scottsdale, Ariz.

iPic Entertainment president and CEO Hamid Hashemi added, “ This is a significant game changer for consumers and fans, paving way for a new frontier in shared experience viewing of Netflix entertainment."

Netflix has previously released its original films in theaters, like 2015's Beast of No Nations, bypassing the exclusive theatrical window viewed as vital to many movie chains.

"Movie theaters are worried. Netflix is already their biggest competitor right now," voiced Exhibitor Relations analyst Jeff Bock to USA Today. "This represents a direct hit to their business that shakes them to the core."

The president and CEO of the National Association of Theater Owners John Fithian has also opined his unhappiness with this practice. "Simultaneous release, in practice, has reduced both theatrical and home revenues when it has been tried. The theatrical window is a longstanding industry practice that has benefited studios, theaters and moviegoers. We all should tread lightly and be mindful that over the years, the film industry's success is a direct result of a highly successful collaboration between filmmakers, distributors and exhibitors,” said Fithian in a statement.

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