Netflix Paris Theatre

Back in August, The Paris Theatre – New York City’s final single-screen venue and one of the oldest art houses in the entire country – closed its doors, seemingly for good. But while arguments have raged for years about whether streaming services are killing movie theaters, the beloved NYC movie institution found an unlikely savior in the form of Netflix, who swooped in and scheduled Noah Baumbach’s new film Marriage Story to play there starting earlier this month.

Now Netflix has signed a lease agreement to preserve the theater for an undisclosed amount of time, extending the Paris Theatre’s life and turning the establishment into a hub for Netflix content.

Terms of the new lease were not disclosed, but Deadline reports that the lease agreement will last for ten years, so movie fans in New York City can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that this institution isn’t going away just yet.

In a press release, Netflix explained that the company plans to use this location “for special events, screenings, and theatrical releases of its films.” It’s interesting to me that their language specifies film releases, since there’s been some speculation that Netflix may want to showcase some of its more cinematic streaming shows, like Stranger Things or the upcoming The Witcher, in a theatrical environment. But that doesn’t appear to be the case…at least, not yet.

“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.” Even Sarandos specifically points to “movie-going” in his messaging, so I think it’s safe to say that the platform’s streaming shows won’t be displayed on the big screen any time soon. But with the Justice Department poised to overturn the Paramount Consent Decrees, it may not be long before Netflix starts buying up tons of theaters in major cities and begins to change the moviegoing landscape as we know it. The streaming platform is apparently still in negotiations to purchase the Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles (that deal has evidently not been made official yet), but this lease gives the company an east coast base where it can premiere its potential Oscar contenders to meet requirements for awards consideration.

Here’s some more background info on the Paris Theatre from the press release:

The Paris Theatre has charmed film aficionados since it first opened in 1948, when actress Marlene Dietrich cut the ribbon to commemorate the occasion. The theater, opened by Pathé Cinema, originally showed French titles, the first of which was La Symphonie Pastorale, which ran for eight months.

The Paris became a symbol of prestige cinema, known for showcasing specialized films, and can be credited with introducing renowned foreign language films to an American audience including Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet, which ran for almost an entire year from 1968-1969;  Claude Lelouch’s A Man And A Woman; and Marcello Mastroianni’s comedy Divorce Italian Style, which played for over a year. The theater closed in August 2019 after a successful run of Ron Howard’s Pavarotti.

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