Since Netflix began including high-end films to its collection, it has been pondering over a tricky question, which is where else to showcase them beside the Internet?
Netflix is planning to expand its theatrical presence by leasing the iconic, single-screen Paris Theater of New York. The streaming giant signed a lease with the owner of the recently closed Paris Theater, to release its movies on the big screen.
Reviving the Legacy
“After 71 years, the Paris Theatre has an enduring legacy, and remains the destination for a one of a kind movie-going experience,” Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos, said in a statement. “We are incredibly proud to preserve this historic New York institution so it can continue to be a cinematic home for film lovers.”
This follows reports that Netflix also plans to buy the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles. These actions might seem a bit odd for a streaming company; however, they are likely to help it associate with high-profile filmmakers such as Noah Baumbach and Martin Scorsese. After all, Scorsese’s latest film “The Irishman” and Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” are both playing in theaters; however, they’re appearing on a limited number of screens.
Netflix can host opulent premieres and other events after buying or leasing the theaters while ensuring that its films get the prestige of a big-screen release.
The Paris theater is located on a prime piece of real estate straddling between midtown Manhattan and the borough’s Upper West Side, near the entrance to Central Park. Being Manhattan’s last single-screen theater, it brews a nostalgic feeling of a pre-multiplex era, as other members of the endangered class such as Ziegfeld no longer operate as movie theaters.
A little Insight of the Deal
The deal was signed with the New York developer Sheldon Solow, who owns the Paris Theater along with 9 West 57th St. and other eye-catching towers in Manhattan. Forbes recently valued Solow at $4.6 billion. A deal was struck between Solow and Netflix to feature Noah Baumbach’s movie “Marriage Story” in the theater. That agreement turned out to be an exordium to a larger pact.
The Urgent Need of a Theater
The country’s largest movie theater chains have denied showing films by Netflix because the company has a rule that does not honor an exclusive theatrical window of 30 to 90 days.
Netflix urgently seeks an Oscar, for which they have to adhere to a criterion of the Academy, which administers the Oscars. The criteria require the films to be shown for a week in New York or Los Angeles to be eligible for awards.
More importantly, Netflix wishes to work with many big directors who want an extrusive theatrical platform for their films, though it is not clear whether a single coastal theater will suffice their needs. Netflix did not specify how it would decide which directors or films would run in the theater, especially in busy fall, when a single screen would be hotly in demand.
If Netflix makes a deal to acquire the Egyptian Theatre fall through, the company is likely to put the theater to similar use as the Paris in New York.