Netflix on Monday said it signed a lease to keep open New York’s Paris Theatre, one of the oldest art houses in the nation.
The financial terms of the lease were not disclosed. Netflix said it will use the Paris for special events, screenings and theatrical releases of its films.
“After 71 years, the Paris Theatre has an enduring legacy, and remains the destination for a one-of-a kind moviegoing experience,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, wrote 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.”
The deal comes as Netflix and large theater chains like AMC Theatres have been unable to reach an agreement on the length of time Netflix original films can be shown before appearing on the service. Netflix shows movies in cinemas at the same time or shortly before they are streamed in the home, a practice that many theater chains say undermines their business.
One potential solution for Netflix is to lease or buy its own theater chains. That would allow the Los Gatos-based streaming company to screen its own films, while also endearing itself to filmmakers. Netflix has been in talks to buy the Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. Showing movies on the big screen also makes them eligible for awards considerations.
Sarandos recently told the L.A. Times that Netflix’s increasing number of original movies adds value to the service and that the platform’s global reach is appealing to filmmakers.
“For less than the cost of the movie ticket, you get a month of Netflix,” Sarandos said. “At the end of the day filmmakers want their films to be seen, their work to be out there in the culture and that happens on Netflix better than anywhere in the world.”
The Paris opened in 1948, originally showing French titles and later became known for introducing foreign language films to American audiences with movies such as Claude Lelouch’s drama"A Man and a Woman” and Marcello Mastroianni’s comedy “Divorce Italian Style.”
The theater closed in August after its lease expired and reopened in November to show the Netflix film “Marriage Story” by Noah Baumbach.