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Netflix Saves NYC’s Historic Paris Theatre From Closure

The single-screen theater closed earlier this year before Netflix reopened it for its Oscar hopeful “Marriage Story.”

Netflix announced on Monday that it has reached a lease agreement to reopen New York’s iconic Paris Theatre.

The Paris, New York’s last single-screen theater, was shuttered earlier this year and re-opened earlier this month by Netflix for the streaming platform’s Oscar hopeful “Marriage Story.” Now Netflix will keep the theater open and plans to use it for special events, screenings and theatrical releases of its films. Terms of the lease 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,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos 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 Paris Theatre has charmed film aficionados since it first opened in 1948, when actress Marlene Dietrich cut the ribbon to commemorate the occasion. The theater, opened by Pathé Cinema, originally showed French titles, the first of which was La Symphonie Pastorale, which ran for eight months.

The Paris became a symbol of prestige cinema, known for showcasing specialized films, and can be credited with introducing renowned foreign language films to an American audience including Franco Zeffirelli’s “Romeo and Juliet,” which ran for almost an entire year from 1968-1969;  Claude Lelouch’s “A Man And A Woman;”  and Marcello Mastroianni’s comedy “Divorce Italian Style,” which played for over a year.

The theater closed in August 2019 after a successful run of Ron Howard’s “Pavarotti.”

While major exhibition chains have found a way to thrive on the backs of blockbusters, the Paris Theatre’s initial closure was a sign of the struggles that smaller independently owned cinema houses and their indie fare have faced recently.

Those challenges have been exemplified by Landmark’s sale to Cohen Media Group at the tail end of 2018, and L.A.’s Laemmle Theatres shuttering its historic Music Hall cinema last week. The Laemmle chain was even on the block over the summer before the family-owned and operated chain decided against a sale.