Netflix has reached a deal with Relativity Media to stream the studio's films via its "Watch Instantly" service.
Netflix says the deal marks a continued shift in the distribution of major motion pictures in the U.S. Under the agreement movies previously distributed to pay channels such as HBO, Showtime and Starz will become available to be streamed from Netflix just months after their release on DVD.
Among the first films to be released under the Netflix-Relativity deal are "The Fighter," starring Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg and Amy Adams and distributed by Paramount Pictures, and "Skyline," co-directed by the Brothers Strause and released by Rogue Pictures and Universal Studios. Both films are scheduled for theatrical release later this year and to be available at Netflix in early 2011.
"Our continued goal is to expand the breadth and timeliness of films and TV shows available to stream on Netflix," said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix.
"Historically, the rights to distribute these films are pre-sold to pay TV for as long as nine years after their theatrical release. Through our partnership with Relativity, these films will start to become available to our members just months after their DVD release."
Relativity has financed, co-financed or produced more than 200 features, generating more than $13 billion in worldwide box office revenue. Fifty Relativity films have become "Top 10" box office releases during the past two years. Current Relativity theatrical releases include "Robin Hood," "Get Him to the Greek" and "Grown Ups."
"This clearly is a natural step in the evolution of the movie business and opens up a whole new world of revenue and marketing opportunities," said Ryan Kavanaugh, Relativity's CEO.
"Netflix has certainly made its mark, with a service that reaches over 13 million people and allows consumers to have what they want, when they want it. We have a shared vision, and this deal marks a significant change in our industry."