Netflix to Keep New York's Paris Theatre Open

Paris Theater - Getty - H 2019
Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for Sensation of House

The historic Manhattan venue will provide the streamer a place to showcase its films.

Netflix on Monday announced it has signed a lease that will keep the historic Paris Theatre in New York City open for business.

The single-screen cinema, located at 4 W. 58th St., is one of the country's oldest art house theaters.

Netflix plans to use the theater for its original movies, special events and other screenings (in other words, it wouldn't operate the Paris as a normal theater).

In Los Angeles, the streamer has similar plans for The Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, should it close a deal to buy that location from the American Cinematheque, which would continue to program the Egyptian on weekends.

The Paris Theater closed its doors in August after a seven-decade run. Netflix, which has screened its movies at the Paris in the past, successfully negotiated with the building's owner, New York real estate developer Sheldon Solow, to go forward with the Marriage Story run. That was followed by the lease announced Monday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“After 71 years, the Paris Theatre has an enduring legacy, and remains the destination for a one-of-a-kind moviegoing experience,” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement. “We are incredibly proud to preserve this historic New York institution so it can continue to be a cinematic home for film lovers.”

Netflix has long had to rely on a patchwork of independent theaters to play its original movies — such as Marriage Story or The Irishman — since the majority of circuits won't carry a title that doesn't play on the big screen for roughly 30 days. Having access to the Paris or the Egyptian on a permanent basis is a win for Netflix, even as it continues to contract with such indie chains as the Landmark to play its films, particularly during awards season.

The Paris opened in 1948, with actress Marlene Dietrich cutting the ribbon for then-owner Pathé Cinema. The locale originally showed French titles, the first of which, La Symphonie Pastorale, ran for eight months. It broadened its slate of offerings in subsequent years while remaining a haven for foreign-language fare. The Paris was the first theater in the U.S. to show Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 movie Romeo and Juliet.