After 71 years of service, the Paris Theatre in New York closed in August. Now, its doors are open again, thanks to Netflix.
On November 25, the famous streaming platform announced the renewal of the lease of the legendary Midtown Manhattan cinema, home to lovers of independent film, particularly of the French variety. The company intends to organize screenings of Netflix original productions, film releases and various events. Its film “Marriage Story” is currently being screened in the theatre, the last single-screen cinema in New York since the Ziegfeld closed in 2016.
The irony in the situation hasn’t been lost: after threatening the livelihood of cinemas, Netflix now has one. For the Silicon Valley company, the move is aimed at circumventing the restrictions placed by major cinema operators (Regal, AMC, Cinemark) on the release of its films. These operators require Netflix to respect a delay of several weeks between the release of its productions in theatres and the distribution on the platform to its subscribers. For example, Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” (with Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino), Netflix’s original production, was unveiled on the site on November 27 and released in theatres on November 1.
Another advantage of acquiring theatres for Netflix is that it attracts the greatest directors, for whom showing films in physical cinemas remains important. It is also a criterion for a film to be nominated for an Oscar: the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), which organizes the ceremony, requires that candidates for the statuettes be screened in New York or Los Angeles for a minimum of one week to be eligible to compete.
Inaugurated by Marlene Dietrich, the Paris Theater was launched by Pathé, the French film company, in the heart of Manhattan, not far from 5th Avenue and Central Park. Netflix acquired the lease for a period of ten years.