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Netflix Expands Cinema Portfolio, Buys Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre

Netflix has added to its portfolio of cinemas with the Egyptian Theatre, the site of the first Hollywood movie premiere and the base of American Cinematheque, a non-profit film organisation.

In its announcement, Netflix stated: “Netflix and the American Cinematheque are joining forces to ensure the long-term future of Egyptian Theatre… The Egyptian Theatre will remain the home of the American Cinematheque with the organisation’s celebrated curation team continuing to autonomously program Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”

However, Netflix will invest in the theatre’s renovations and will use the space for special events, screenings and premiers during the week.

As such, the Egyptian Theatre will be an important space for Netflix moving forward. In the past major theatre chains have not played original Netflix films, as the video streaming company refuses to have their productions exclusively shown at theatres for 90 days – something other movie studios agree to.

However, times may be changing, given the significant strain that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on movie theatres.

For example, in late April the CEO of NBCUniversal Jeff Shell stated that the studio would be releasing films both at theatres and on premium video on demand (PVOD), which resulted in AMC Theatres banning the studio’s films from its cinemas.

Alternatively, other theatres may choose to soften their exclusivity stipulations in order to survive.

“The Netflix and American Cinematheque partnership at the Egyptian Theater is a win-win for film, historic preservation, and the arts,” said Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, Los Angeles City Council 13th District. “The collaboration ensures the cultural destination remains in the Heart of Hollywood for decades to come.”

Late last year Netflix acquired New York’s Paris Theatre, allowing the theatre to remain open.

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