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Netflix in Talks to Buy Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre From American Cinematheque

Egyptian Theatre
Max Malandrino/REX/Shutterstock

Netflix is in early talks to buy the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood from American Cinematheque in what would be the first movie theater acquisition for the streaming giant.

The proposed deal would likely play out with Netflix programming on weekday nights while the non-profit Cinematheque would program screenings, lectures, and festivals on weekends. The transaction would not include the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, Calif., which Cinematheque also programs. Additionally, it’s not expected that the deal will impact Netflix’s relationship with independent theater chains that show its films such as Landmark and Ipic.

If the deal goes through, Netflix could use the Egyptian to premiere potential awards candidates. The company already has a smaller screening room in their Hollywood headquarters, less than two miles away. American Cinematheque had no comment.

The Egyptian Theatre was opened in 1922 by Sid Grauman on Hollywood Boulevard, just east of McCadden Place. The facility has an ornate style evoking ancient Egypt with an open-air courtyard. The stage is flanked by carved columns and models of the Sphinx. The Egyptian launched with the premiere of “Robin Hood,” starring Douglas Fairbanks, Wallace Beery, Sam De Grasse, Enid Bennett, and Alan Hale.

The facility was closed in 1992 and the American Cinematheque purchased the Egyptian from the city for $1 with the provision “that this historical landmark would be restored to its original grandeur and re-opened as a movie theatre showcasing the organization’s celebrated public programming.” It was re-opened in 1998 after Cinematheque completed a $12.8 million renovation.

The Egyptian specializes in revival showings such as an upcoming program of the Marx Brothers comedies “A Day at the Races” and “A Night at the Opera” with an introduction by authors Robert Bader and Josh Frank.

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos is a board member of American Cinematheque. Sources said he is recusing himself from the negotiations. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.