If Douglas Fairbanks lifted his head he would find that the theater where his movie premiered Robin Hood 101 years ago, the Egyptian, is now in the hands of a streaming giant that many in the Hollywood Academy and the industry at large perceive as a serious threat to the survival of movie theaters in general. The irony is evident. Netflix, however, inaugurated it this week after three and a half years of restoration, brandishing the flag of what it really is: its savior. If it were not for the more than 70 million dollars that has been injected into it, the old theater would be at risk of disappearing.
Far from entering into controversies, Ted Sarandosthe executive president of Netflix, presented it on Monday before a group of guests and journalists as great news for film lovers and an opportunity to see gems of the seventh art on screen such as West Side Story, 2001: A Space Odyssey o Lawrence de Arabiato name some of those that are scheduled on the billboard for the coming weeks.
This is on weekends and operated by the American Cinematheque, the cultural institution whose objective is to preserve and exhibit cinema of all time. From Monday to Thursday the room will be reserved for screenings of Netflix titlescomplying with the Hollywood Academy’s requirement to screen its titles in a cinema open to the public to aspire to the Oscars.
«Despite being a relative newcomer to the history of Hollywood, we wanted to show that we love and respect that history“said Sarandos, staying faithful to the distinctive aspects of a building that he considers “a temple of audiovisual narrative” and one of the two most recognizable icons of the cinema mecca. The other is the Hollywood sign. “Over the years, everyone from Charlie Chaplin to Audrey Hepburn to Marlon Brando sat in the seats you now occupy.”
Yes indeed. Sarandos has clarified that Netflix’s intention is not to keep movie theater finances afloat, but rather to preserve the big screen experience itself. “We release our movies and series in theaters almost every night, and we rent theaters to do so,” said the executive. “We realized that there was an opportunity to make good use of our money by preserving a great building like the Egyptian or the Paris,” referring to the other historic room that was going to become a pharmacy in New York and that Netflix rescued with another injection of millions.