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What to do when the major movie chains are off-limits? Head for Broadway.
Netflix said Monday that Martin Scorsese’s critically acclaimed The Irishman will play for one month at the Belasco Theatre in New York City, from Nov. 1 through Dec. 1. It’s the first time the historic Broadway locale has welcomed a movie, according to the streamer.
Starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, Scorsese’s mob pic is making a major awards play, but won’t be shown by most movie chains since Netflix doesn’t abide by the traditional theatrical window of 74 days to 90 days.
That means the streamer must either rent locations (known as “four-walling”) or book indie theaters willing to screen the film. The Irishman will begin its exclusive theatrical run Nov 1. before debuting Nov. 27 on the streaming service.
One New York City indie theater used by Netflix in the past is the recently shuttered Paris, famed for its focus on art house fare. In Los Angeles, the streamer has relied on the Landmark, iPic and Laemmle (the latter is currently for sale). The streamer is also expected to soon close its deal to buy the historic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, which it would program in tandem with the American Cinematheque.
“We’ve lost so many wonderful theaters in New York City in recent years, including single-house theaters like the Ziegfeld and the Paris,” Martin Scorsese said in a statement. “The opportunity to re-create that singular experience at the historic Belasco Theatre is incredibly exciting.”
Scorsese gave a shout-out to Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos and Netflix film chief Scott Stuber, along with their teams, for finding creative ways “to make this picture a special event for audiences and I’m thankful for their innovation and commitment.”
The filmmaker and top Netflix honchos met with executives at AMC Entertainment and other circuits for months. But neither side would ultimately budge.
Netflix says it will outfit the Belasco with state-of-the-art equipment.
Added Stuber, “It’s an immense honor for The Irishman to be welcomed to the Belasco — an iconic and historic landmark fit for Scorsese’s latest cinematic achievement.”
The Belasco is one of 17 Broadway theaters owned and operated by The Shubert Organization. Opening in 1907, it was designed by architect George Keister.
For Scorsese, it’s a homecoming of sorts. In 1977, he directed the Broadway musical The Act, starring Liza Minnelli, which played at the Belasco. Ditto for his Irishman stars. In 1969, Pacino won a Tony Award for his Broadway debut in Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie? at the Belasco, while De Niro starred in Cuba and His Teddy Bear in 1986 and was the director of A Bronx Tale, The Musical in 2016.
Screenings of The Irishman at the Belasco will follow the traditional Broadway model of eight performances a week; ergo, Tuesday through Sunday evenings, with matinees Saturday and Sunday. The location is dark on Mondays.
The Irishman runs three and a half hours, making it Scorsese’s longest film to date.
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