Netflix has officially bought the historic Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, after over a year of negotiations.
Netflix has been working to be taken seriously in the world of Hollywood filmmaking and part of that is having a presence during awards season. Netflix has battled with movie theater chains, AMC and Regal, to screen their movies in order to make them eligible for the Academy Awards. However, Netflix has run into trouble because of their refusal to adhere to the established theatrical window. Variety has reported that Netflix has finally closed a long in the works deal to purchase the historic landmark Egyptian Theater in Hollywood.
“The Egyptian Theatre is an incredible part of Hollywood history and has been treasured by the Los Angeles film community for nearly a century,” said Scott Stuber, head of Netflix Films. “We’re honored to partner with the American Cinematheque to preserve the theater’s storied legacy and continue providing remarkable film experiences for audiences. We look forward to expanding programming at the theater in ways that will benefit both cinema lovers and the community.”
While some film aficionados will be upset that Netflix now has control over the historical film institution, Netflix has made it clear that the American Cinematheque curation team will continue to program content with autonomy on the weekends. Netflix will use the theater for special events, premieres, and screenings during the week, as well as invest in the Egyptian Theater’s renovation.
“The American Cinematheque was honored to bring the Egyptian back to life in 1998, and together with Netflix we are thrilled to continue this stewardship by restoring it once again for a new generation of film fans to experience movies on the big screen,” said Rick Nicita, chairman of the American Cinematheque. “The Egyptian Theatre remains our Hollywood home and we are grateful to both the City of Los Angeles and the Attorney General of the State of California as we accept this incredible opportunity that will greatly benefit the American Cinematheque.”
The Egyptian Theater opened in 1922 on Hollywood Blvd. and is the location of the first film premiere in Hollywood. The film that holds that historical feat is Robin Hood, directed by Allan Dwan and starring Douglas Fairbanks, Wallace Beery, Sam De Grasse, Enid Bennett, and Alan Hale. The theater closed seventy years later, in 1992.
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The non-profit organization, American Cinematheque purchased the Egyptian Theater from the city for $1 with the provision that the theater would be named a historical landmark and “restored to its original grandeur”. The theater also needed to be re-opened to screen American Cinematheque’s public programming. The Egyptian Theater was reopened following a $12.8 million renovation.
Netflix Is Changing With The Times
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, theatrical windows have been shortened or all together skipped by some films, like Trolls: World Tour, Artemis Fowl, and Love Birds, while other films have been delayed until movie theaters reopen to the public, including Tenet, Mulan, Black Widow, and No Time To Die. Because of this, awards season will look a bit different than usual as the Academy will be allowing films that were streamed to be eligible. This is an unprecedented decision, but makes sense given the current theater closures.
While films that are exclusively streamed will be eligible for Oscars this year there is a good chance that won’t be the case in the future. Netflix has now found a way to easily screen their films so that they can be eligible come awards season. It should be interesting to see how this plays out once theaters reopen and Netflix is able to begin the screenings. The Egyptian Theater is continuing to make history, but it should be interesting to see how cinephiles feels about this moment in movie history.
How do you feel about Netflix buying the Egyptian Theater? Are you worried about Netflix owning the historical landmark? Are you glad American Cinematheque will retain control over programming on the weekends? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media.
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Source: Slash Film