Tidying Up With Marie Kondo (2019), The Crown (2017), Daredevil (2018), and Black Mirror (2017); if all of these names sound familiar to you, then you are definitely a Netflix fan. These shows are just 4 of the 40 best Netflix series right now, based on WIRED guide. However, this article is not about an upcoming series starring Julia Roberts or anything. It’s actually about Netflix’s current ongoing attempt to buy the Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre, a historic movie theatre located at 6706 Hollywood Blvd. in California.
First thing’s first, what is the Egyptian Theatre? It was built by American showman, Sid Grauman, and real estate developer, Charles E. Toberman, who was also known as the “Father of Hollywood”. The theatre hosted the first-ever Hollywood premiere in 1922 with a screening of Robin Hood, an Allan Dwan-directed silent film which starred Douglas Fairbanks. The current owner of the theatre is the American Cinematheque, an independent and nonprofit cultural organisation in Los Angeles, dedicated exclusively to the public presentation of the moving image in all its forms. It also implemented a $12.8 million renovation and facelift to the theatre in 1998.
The details for this debatable purchase are somewhat limited, as close sources aren’t even revealing their names and discussions are said to be discrete. Before we reveal the data that we know so far, let’s shed a bit of light on why this issue is causing so much controversy. So controversial in fact that Deadline Hollywood mentioned that Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos, who is also a board member of American Cinematheque, recused himself as the arrangement was voted on.
Netflix, also sometimes referred to as the “Streaming Giant”, is well-known for its subscription-based streaming service which offers online streaming of a library of films and television programmes, including those produced in-house. Consequently, many theatre owners and Hollywood traditionalists are in conflict with the streaming giant over how long movies should stay in theatres before they are uploaded online.
Steven Spielberg stressed his position against Netflix in February 2019 as he described himself as “a firm believer that movie theatres need to be around forever”. He also added, “I hope all of us really continue to believe that the greatest contributions we can make as filmmakers is to give audiences the motion picture theatrical experience”.
So the main question, in this case, is will Netflix’s purchase of the Egyptian Theater put out the fire of conflict or just make it spread? Well, it is said that Netflix will use the venue only to host film premieres and other industry events, with no current plans to sell tickets to the public or use it as a commercial theatre. Furthermore, reports say the deal would help the Cinematheque expand its projects since it is a nonprofit, and therefore has been quite cash-strapped over recent years. Generally, most parties are in favour of this partnership.
The Netflix-Cinematheque negotiations will not be finalised until issues involving real estate and city permits are settled.