PhotoVideo: Historic Egyptian Theatre and Netflix/Hollywood Insider
Netflix’s purchase of Egyptian Theatre their easy way into a non-controversial ticket to Oscars race?
Netflix is getting a Hollywood big screen and the company is excited and ready to go. The past few years have been crucial and formative for Netflix. They have transformed from a streaming platform to the hub for subscription viewing, as well as taking on the task of creating Netflix Original series and films. Hollywood has mixed views on Netflix’s role in the industry, but that role just became much more significant. Netflix has struck a deal and purchased Hollywood’s beloved movie house Egyptian Theatre. This is a major deal for the company, as they will now have a venue to screen their original projects, host events, premieres and more.
Netflix’s eligibility to the Academy Awards has come under fire in the past and many Hollywood A-Listers were dragged into the controversy. As per the current Academy Awards rules (non-pandemic rules), “Under Rule Two, Eligibility requires that a film be shown in a commercial motion picture theater in Los Angeles County for a theatrical qualifying run of at least seven consecutive days, during which period screenings must occur at least three times daily.” Netflix’s ownership of the Egyptian Theatre would allow their films to be” showcased at a commercial motion picture theater in LA for at least seven days with three times daily showing.”
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The History Of The Egyptian Theatre
Hollywood’s historic Egyptian Theatre has been standing on Hollywood Boulevard since 1922. It was built in the middle of the silent film era, and holds a rich history for movie lovers. The Egyptian hosted the first-ever movie premiere for Robin Hood starring Douglas Fairbanks and Wallace Beery. Admission for the premiere was just $5, and the Egyptian was the only theatre to showcase the film for that entire year. Other impressive premieres that year include Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush, Don Juan starring John Barrymore, and Cecil B. Demille’s The Ten Commandments. With help from multiple film foundations/companies, in 2016, the projection booth at the Egyptian Theatre was retrofitted to begin screening 35mm nitrate film and is now one of only four theaters in the United States capable of showing this rare, ultra fragile and flammable film stock. The Egyptian Theatre was built by Sid Grauman, the same man who built the well-known Chinese Theatre, located just a few blocks away. Both theatres quickly became famous Hollywood hot spots for celebrities and movie-lovers alike.
In the late 1980s and 90s Hollywood glamour was dying out, and the Egyptian had lost some of it’s shine. The theatre closed temporarily until it was sold in 1996 to the American Cinematheque for just $1. The American Cinematheque bought the theatre under the premise that the landmark building must reopen as a movie theatre and keep its original charm. After completing some renovations the Cinematheque opened the theatre up to guests in 1998. Since then, the Egyptian has been home to countless movie premieres, in-person conversations with stars, advanced screenings, and film festivals. The American Cinematheque was established in 1984 as a means to celebrate the artistry of film. They were founded in the hopes of bringing communities together to share their love of film. In May 2020 the report came out that Netflix finalized a deal to buy the Egyptian. The deal agrees that the Cinematheque will still be allowed to host events and control programming on weekends.
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What Does This Mean For Netflix?
The news of the Egyptian deal comes after learning that Netflix acquired the Paris Theatre in New York, back in August 2019. Now the streaming platform has a home in Hollywood to host premieres, screenings, and other events. This will be incredibly beneficial as the company is now producing a ton of original content. The American Cinematheque will still operate on the weekends and the partnership will allow both companies to expand viewership a great deal. In a press release from Netflix, Rick Nicita, Chairman of the American Cinematheque said, “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.” The Egyptian Theatre is heavily supported by the community of Los Angeles, and those cinephiles that were in regular attendance at the theatre, are hoping that the deal between Netflix and the Cinematheque will preserve the beauty and ideals of the theatre.
Netflix has been the world’s leading streaming service since it’s beginning in 1997. In 2013 the platform released its first batch of original programming, including popular shows such as Orange Is the New Black and Arrested Development. Since then, Netflix has taken the world by storm and has created dozens of award-winning projects. Each year Netflix brings in bigger and bigger names, and having their own home in the heart of Hollywood is sure to only help in bringing in big-time directors and producers. While there is some hesitancy about whether or not Netflix is the right fit for the Egyptian, together Netflix and the Cinematheque feel like they are taking the first step into the new Hollywood.
The streaming platform has now set its eyes on Oscar victories and a non-controversial ticket to the race. They have truly surpassed expectations, and to have their own theatre for Netflix original content premieres and screenings is exciting!
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