The rare single-screen arthouse theater in Manhattan will re-open to screen Netflix films.

By Nick Romano
November 25, 2019 at 01:55 PM EST
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Marion Curtis/Netflix

New York City will always have Paris, thanks to a new move by Netflix. But, will it be the Paris the city’s cinema lovers recognize?

The Paris Theatre, a landmark of Manhattan as the city’s only single-screen theater, closed its doors earlier this year only to see Netflix re-open them temporarily for the theatrical release of the streamer’s film Marriage Story. Now, through a new lease agreement with Netflix, those doors will remain open.

While the Paris Theatre played host to various “prestige films” since opening in 1948, when actress Marlene Dietrich first cut that red ribbon, Netflix plans to use the space for “special events, screenings, and theatrical releases of its films,” according to a press release issued Monday. Specifics of the lease agreement were not disclosed.

“After 71 years, the Paris Theatre has an enduring legacy, and remains the destination for a one-of-a kind movie-going experience,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, 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.”

The studio continues to grow its name as a formidable awards contender, and permanent spot like the Paris could help with that. Because of certain Oscars eligibility rules, like the one that states narrative features must screen in theaters for seven consecutive days in Los Angeles county to be considered for the Academy Awards nominations, Netflix has been bringing more of its films to the big screen. However, the majority of theater circuits won’t screen Netflix titles or any film, really, that isn’t shown for approximately 30-day runs. That’s why Netflix has had to lean on a number of independent theater venues in the past for its releases.

In addition to the Paris Theatre on the East Coast, Netflix also entered talks in April of this year to purchase The Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles.

A space like the Paris also helps the company draw in more lauded names like Martin Scorsese (director of Netflix’s The Irishman), Alfonso Cuaron (director of Netflix’s Oscar-winning Roma), and Noah Baumbach (director of Netflix’s Marriage Story) to make films for them with the allure of a limited theatrical release before hitting the streaming platform. This year’s Marriage Story, The Irishman, and The King were among the Netflix releases following that release plan.

Netflix continues to screen Marriage Story, starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, at the Paris.

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