After more than a year of negotiations, Netflix has closed a deal to buy Hollywood’s historic Egyptian Theater, thereby marking a major milestone in the streaming giant’s plans to be taken seriously in the film industry and, ultimately, world domination.
More than a year ago, Netflix entered conversations with American Cinemathique to buy the historic Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Blvd. Variety reports that the streaming giant finally closed the deal to buy the theater for an undisclosed price, bringing Netflix one step closer to its goal of becoming a serious part of the Hollywood filmmaking community and to find a venue to showcase its awards contenders to make the Academy’s eligibility requirements.
However, before Film Twitter rises up in outrage about a long-loved Hollywood institution becoming a glorified Netflix screening room, the streaming giant announced that the Egyptian will remain the home of the American Cinemathique, and the organization’s curation team will continue to program content on weekends. Netflix will also invest in the theater’s renovation and will only use the facility for special events, screenings, and premieres during the week.
“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.”
“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,” added 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 Egytpian is one of the oldest theaters in the U.S., established as a glamorous “movie palace” back in 1922 when it became the site of Hollywood’s very first movie premiere (for Robin Hood in 1922). The theater was closed in 1992 before American Cinemathique swooped in to purchase the Egyptian from the city for $1 with the provision that it be named a historical landmark “restored to its original grandeur.” It reopened in 1998 after Cinemathique completed a $12.8 million renovation. But Cinemathique is a nonprofit, and its funds have been depleting in recent years. This acquisition will be a win-win for both, as Cinemathique will continue to program films over the weekends and Netflix will be have a venue to screen its awards contenders without having to go to war with AMC or Regal again.
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