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Netflix will stream The Artist, other Weinstein Company films, before cable

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Say what you will about Harvey and Bob Weinstein — and, at this point, pretty much everyone has, and a great majority of it's negative — but they certainly know how to wring as many dollars out of their films.

Take this new multiyear licensing agreement they just signed with Netflix, which gives the streaming company exclusive rights to broadcast "foreign-language, documentary, and certain other movies" before cable TV. From the brothers' point of view, it's the perfect deal at the perfect time.

Every few years, a foreign-language movie crosses over and becomes a legitimate hit in America. In 2006, it was Pan's Labyrinth. In 2000, it was Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. 1998 had Roberto Benigni's Life is Beautiful. The crossovers are consistent, but not predictable, so when you have an entity like this year's The Artist, which has a viable shot at sweeping the Oscars, you have to cash in that chip.

And the Brothers Weinstein are doing just that.

Using it as the prize jewel to lure Netflix—a company still in damage control after the mess they made last year—into taking some of their lesser-profitable ventures (in this case, high school football documentary Undefeated, Ralph Fiennes' Coriolanus, and Madonna's widely-ridiculed W.E., among others) is a work of business genius.