DiCaprio, Netflix agree to team up on film about endangered gorillas

(CNN) -- What do you get when you combine gorillas, Leonard DiCaprio and Netflix?

A hit, the media company hopes.

Netflix announced Friday that it will team up with DiCaprio -- who it described as a "an actor, producer and philanthropist" -- to distribute a documentary film entitled "VIRUNGA," about the quest to save endangered mountain gorillas in the eastern Congo park by that name.

"With VIRUNGA, we'll work with Leo to introduce viewers around the world to an incredible, gripping story that will have audiences guessing right up until the final act," said Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer.

The fact Netflix is getting behind a high-profile production is nothing new. After all, it has produced the critically acclaimed series "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black," not to mention the reboot of "Arrested Development."

But what makes this unique is that it's a film, not a series, and it will come out in theaters in New York and Los Angeles on Nov. 7. That's the same day "VIRUNGA," which is directed by Orlando von Einsiedel, will roll out on Netflix as well.

According to its website, the film chronicles how a "a small and embattled team of park rangers -- including an ex-child soldier turned ranger, a carer of orphan gorillas and a Belgian conservationist -- protect (Virunga National Park) from armed militia, poachers and the dark forces struggling to control Congo's rich natural resources."

"VIRUNGA" hasn't been distributed widely, but it has racked up a number of awards from the likes of the Tribeca Film Festival, DOXA and American Film Institute.

DiCaprio, its executive producer, called the partnership with Netflix "an exciting opportunity to inform and inspire individuals to engage on this topic."

"Films like VIRUNGA are powerful stories that are a window into the incredible cultural and natural diversity of our world, the forces that are threatening to destroy it, and the people who are fighting to protect it," the actor added.

Mountain gorillas are a subspecies of the eastern gorilla discovered in 1902 and imperiled in recent days by war, hunting, disease and other threats. There are a little less than 800 of them in the wild now, according to the World Wildlife Fund, about half of those in the Virunga Mountains bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.

DiCaprio, one of Hollywood's most respected and bankable actors, is an activist on issues ranging from protecting elephants and tigers to safeguarding habitats in the Pacific and Arctic Oceans and climate change.

In September, the Clinton Global Initiative, an effort led by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, gave DiCaprio one of its "Global Citizen" awards.