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Netflix Buys Hollywood’s Iconic Egyptian Theatre

Netflix and the American Cinematheque are partnering up to save the Egyptian Theatre, where “Robin Hood” held the first Hollywood movie premiere. At that historic premiere, Fairbanks was joined by other Hollywood icons of the time like Cecil B. DeMille, Charlie Chaplin, Jesse L. Lasky, and Mary Pickford. Other notable Silent-era premieres held at the Egyptian include Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” in 1923, Charlie Chaplin’s “The Gold Rush” in 1925, and “Don Juan” in 1926 starring John Barrymore and Mary Astor. According to Netflix’s announcement, the Cinematheque will continue to program and operate a second historic theater, the Aero in Santa Monica.

“The Egyptian Theatre is an incredible part of Hollywood history and has been treasured by the Los Angeles film community for nearly a century,” said Scott Stuber, head of Netflix Films. “We’re honored to partner with the American Cinematheque to preserve the theater’s storied legacy and continue providing remarkable film experiences for audiences. We look forward to expanding programming at the theater in ways that will benefit both cinema lovers and the community.”

“The American Cinematheque was honored to bring the Egyptian back to life in 1998, and together with Netflix we are thrilled to continue this stewardship by restoring it once again for a new generation of film fans to experience movies on the big screen,” said Chairman of the American Cinematheque, Rick Nicita. “The Egyptian Theatre remains our Hollywood home and we are grateful to both the City of Los Angeles and the Attorney General of the State of California as we accept this incredible opportunity that will greatly benefit the American Cinematheque.”

“Love for film is inseparable from L.A.’s history and identity,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “We are working toward the day when audiences can return to theaters –– and this extraordinary partnership will preserve an important piece of our cultural heritage that can be shared for years to come.”

“The Netflix and American Cinematheque partnership at the Egyptian Theater is a win-win for film, historic preservation, and the arts,” said Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, Los Angeles City Council 13th District. “The collaboration ensures the cultural destination remains in the Heart of Hollywood for decades to come.”

The theatre was originally built in 1922 during the silent film era, and it remained a fixture throughout Hollywood’s Golden Age. The venue is still a popular destination for moviegoers, and in 1996, the City of Los Angeles sold the building to the American Cinematheque as part of the City’s Hollywood Revitalization project. The Cinematheque then raised the extensive funds to renovate and restore the theater to its original grandeur and reopened it as a movie theater showcasing the longtime organization’s celebrated public programming.

In 2016, with the generous support of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Turner Classic Movies and The Film Foundation, the projection booth at the Egyptian Theatre was retrofitted to begin screening 35mm nitrate film and is now one of only four theaters in the United States capable of showing this rare, ultra fragile and flammable film stock. Part of the new plans includes upgrading equipment to enhance the audience experience and renovating and restoring the theater.

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