Netflix reopens the “Egyptian” film palace in Hollywood

The Egyptian Hollywood Theater opened its doorways for the primary time in October 1922.

The Egyptian Theater, which hosted its first-ever purple carpet premiere in Hollywood in its hieroglyph-adorned courtyard greater than a century in the past, reopens this week beneath the brand new possession of Netflix.

Los Angeles’ venerable film palace, steeped in silver display screen lore, would possibly look like an sudden funding for a streaming massive that has made a fortune convincing audience to look at motion pictures on their TVs, laptops or even telephones.

However for Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, the chance to rescue a crumbling Tinseltown endeavor — and exhibit his corporate’s meteoric upward push from era innovative to a big participant on the center of the leisure trade — used to be a no brainer.

“Hollywood is all about symbols,” he advised AFP.

“The Hollywood signal and this theater are in all probability probably the most recognizable symbols of Hollywood… and this, sadly, used to be falling.”

The theater first opened its doorways in October 1922, with the arena premiere of Douglas Fairbanks’ “Robin Hood.” Up to now, Los Angeles’ thriving leisure trade used to be targeted at the downtown house, a couple of miles away.

Organizers put in dazzling lighting fixtures to draw the target market, and rolled out a purple carpet around the theater courtyard for VIP visitors together with Charlie Chaplin. This innovation, which objectives to emulate Eu royal etiquette, will set a fashion for leisure trade premieres for the following century.

Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos attends a press preview for the reopening of the Egyptian Theater, in Hollywood, California, on November 6, 2023.

Over the next a long time, the Egyptian Theater fell on arduous occasions, maintaining serious injury within the 1994 Los Angeles earthquake.

The construction used to be taken over via the non-profit American Cinematheque, which repaired the construction, however had difficulties investment its upkeep — till Netflix got here alongside.

The deep-pocketed streamer agreed to finance paintings to renovate the theater once more. The price used to be now not published, however estimates point out that it’s about $70 million.

“We, as a nonprofit, had been suffering,” stated Rick Niceta, president of the American Movie Board.

“They got here in and shaped an excellent partnership with us. They understood what we had been seeking to do.”

Beneath the settlement, Netflix will host its personal displays all through the week, beginning with David Fincher’s “The Killer” on Thursday, whilst American cinema will display vintage movies akin to “Lawrence of Arabia” on weekends.

“We hire film theaters always, in New York and Los Angeles, to do our premieres and occasions,” Sarandos stated.

“So the concept that shall we put that effort into one thing that may result in the preservation of one thing nice? It appeared like a win-win.”

The Egyptian Theater in Hollywood hosted Tinseltown’s purple carpet premiere in 1922.

“The following 100 years”

With its sand-colored partitions and columns, colourful hieroglyphs, and an enormous steel scarab beetle striking above the degree, the theater used to be in the beginning designed to capitalize at the Twenties obsession with all issues historical Egyptian.

The ushers on the “Robin Hood” premiere had been wearing Egyptian costumes. In a advertising stroke, Tutankhamun’s tomb used to be found out simply two weeks later.

Whilst the theater is present process its most up-to-date recovery, Netflix redesigned the construction and courtyard to extra intently replicate its 1922 specs, albeit with state of the art audio and visible installations.

The transfer is the newest remark of intent from an organization that has invested closely in recent times to draw main silver display screen administrators and stars to its movies, cementing its place as an organization on the center of the Hollywood ecosystem, whilst respecting its rights. Traditions.

The streamer additionally took over New York’s ancient Paris Theater a couple of years in the past.

“Now we have been generating unique movies for not up to seven years… and we haven’t contributed a lot to 100 years (of Hollywood historical past),” Sarandos stated.

Guests attend a press preview for the reopening of the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, California on November 6, 2023.

“However it is a down cost at the subsequent 100 years.”

In fact, the chance of Netflix dominating the film trade for the following century is more likely to disenchanted some film theater house owners.

Whilst opponents like Apple have not too long ago proven movies like Killers of the Flower Moon on large monitors for prolonged sessions sooner than streaming, Netflix has angered cinema bosses via refusing to do the similar.

However Sarandos rejects “all this discuss whether or not reside streaming is excellent or unhealthy for the leisure trade,” pointing to Al-Masry’s reopening.

“In some ways, streaming stored the leisure trade. This can be a image of that, too.”

© 2023 Agence France-Presse

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