Many independent movie theaters across the country have been forced to close their doors in the past few years, but this week Netflix has managed to save a particularly beloved one. The last single screen theater in New York, the Paris Theater went out of business this past August, but will now be reopening for at least the next year, as Netflix has just signed a lease. The theater will be used for screenings, special events, and theatrical releases of their films.
The Paris Theater, with 581 seats, has been open since 1948 and is one of the oldest theaters in the country. It is beloved by moviegoers for its arthouse atmosphere and history. Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said about the theater, he is “incredibly proud to preserve this historic New York institution so it can continue to be a cinematic home for film lovers.”
Netflix is allegedly also considering buying the Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles, and the reason behind these purchases lies in their original content struggling to get theatrical release in chain theaters. The Irishman did not have the large opening they had hoped, but if they were to own their own theaters it would guarantee as many weeks of screening as they would like. Because films nominated for Oscars need a theatrical release, award winning directors like Martin Scorsese need the confirmation of award season qualification when making a deal with a company. If Netflix wants to continue working with renowned directors and making indie, arthouse style films, they might just need to own the places to screen them in order to keep making them happen.