Netflix has another theater it's added to its portfolio. The streamer and American Cinematheque – the previous owner of the iconic Hollywood-based Egyptian Theatre – announced Friday the theater was officially changing hands effective immediately. In a joint release from the two parties, it was revealed Netflix plans on using the venue to house premieres and screenings for Netflix programming while American Cinematheque will continue to have the ability to showcase programming on the weekends, whenever theaters are able to reopen in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Egyptian Theatre is an incredible part of Hollywood history and has been treasured by the Los Angeles film community for nearly a century,” Netflix Films head Scott Stuber said in the statement. "We look forward to expanding programming at the theater in ways that will benefit both cinema lovers and the community.”
The purchase also provided American Cinematheque – a non-profit based in Los Angeles – a much-needed cash infusion while still have the opportunity to show select programming. “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,” American Cinematheque chairman Rick Nicita added.
The sale also got a stamp of approval from Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti. “Love for film is inseparable from L.A.’s history and identity,” the mayor added. “We are working toward the day when audiences can return to theaters –– and this extraordinary partnership will preserve an important piece of our cultural heritage that can be shared for years to come.”
As noted in the release, the sale of the Egyptian Theatre does not include the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica. American Cinematheque is currently in the midst of a ten-year lease on that property.
This isn't Netflix's first foray into the world of theater ownership. Last November, Netflix started leasing New York's Paris theatre under a similar premise; instead of becoming a regular exhibitor, Netflix simply uses the locations to screen its own content.
Cover photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images For FYI