As Netflix continues maneuvering to keep its foothold amid the streaming wars, the service has also been battling against Hollywood institutions, which are fretting about the (possible) end of movie theaters. This has led to Steven Spielberg bashing Netflix (while also conspicuously helping Apple launch its own streaming service) and Helen Mirren telling Netflix to bugger off at CinemaCon’s recent gathering of theater owners. Well, Netflix is making another chess move while moving to acquire its first brick-and-mortar theater, the historic Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard.
Deadline reports that the deal will cost “tens of millions of dollars” with the primary goal of Netflix improve its image with Hollywood heavyweights who are worried about changing tides. In addition, the purchase of the pharoah-themed building (which has held movie premieres for nearly a century, beginning with 1922’s silent Robin Hood) would help the current owners, non-profit American Cinematheque, grow more financially sound. The acquisition isn’t expected to impact Netflix’s other relationships (with Landmark and Ipic theaters, for example, which screen its movies) and should bring mutual back-scratching:
Both parties look at this as something of a partnership, sources said. Netflix will program its screenings for weekday nights while the Cinematheque runs screenings, lectures and occasional festivals on weekends on an autonomous basis. The organization will be able to expand its programming with the financial resources from this deal. Netflix will hold occasional special screenings and events for some of its splashiest movie launches. Cinematheque also will continue to run its screenings at the historic Aero Theatre in Santa Monica, on which it holds a 10-year lease.
This is, of course, only the latest twist in the Netflix saga that’s currently plagued by angsty subscribers who don’t understand why beloved shows get the ax while the streaming service launches multiple new series every week. Those viewers are still peppering Netflix tweets with interrogations on a daily basis, and no one’s quite sure how Netflix’s business model can sustain its increased costs, other than more price hikes. Well, maybe more red-carpet screenings at this historic theater will help matters? Only time will truly tell the tale.