Netflix keeps New York’s Paris Theatre open
James R | On 26, Nov 2019
Netflix has stepped in to keep New York’s Paris Theatre open, after it closed earlier this year.
One of the oldest art houses in the United States, and the last single-screen theatre in New York, the iconic venue first opened in 1948, when actress Marlene Dietrich cut the ribbon to commemorate the occasion. The theatre, 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 specialised 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.
But the theatre closed in August 2019 after a successful run of Ron Howard’s Pavarotti. Netflix then reopened the theatre to screen Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story. It followed a similar deal to rent out Broadway’s Belasco Theatre to screen The Irishman, leasing the place throughout November.
“We’ve lost so many wonderful theaters in New York City in recent years, including single house theaters like the Ziegfeld and the Paris,” said Martin Scorsese at the time. “The opportunity to recreate that singular experience at the historic Belasco Theatre is incredibly exciting.”
That creative play gave Netflix the chance to screen The Irishman on the big screen at a time when big multiplexes continue to refuse to show Netflix titles because the streamer doesn’t abide by the traditional full theatrical window before releasing its movies online. Now, Netflix has gone one step further and leased the Paris Theatre to save the beloved institution. That endears the company to filmmakers keen to see their movies in cinemas and cinephiles keen to see a historic theatre remain open – and it also gives Netflix a home in New York to host special events, screenings, and theatrical releases of its films.
“After 71 years, the Paris Theatre has an enduring legacy, and remains the destination for a one-of-a kind movie-going experience,” says Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer. “We are incredibly proud to preserve this historic New York institution so it can continue to be a cinematic home for film lovers.”
The lease follows reports that Netflix was in talks to buy the similarly iconic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.
Photo: Netflix / Marion Curtis