Netflix must be a Gemini. It has two minds. One, it wants movies on its platform and not in theaters.
But, it puts movies in theaters, even for a short time. So to that end, Netflix has saved (for now) the legendary Paris Theater in New York across from the Plaza Hotel. The Paris was shuttered by its owners and landlord, Sheldon Solow, at the end of summer following the run of Ron Howard’s “Pavarotti.” It was the last of Manhattan’s free standing single screen theaters.
The company has signed a lease, without giving details, to keep its movies in the Paris for the time being. Currently “Marriage Story” is playing there. My guess is “The Two Popes” is next. “The Two Popes,” one of the best movies of the year, is made for the Paris. Audiences will eat it up. The company says it plans to use the theater for special events, screenings, and theatrical releases of its films.
“After 71 years, the Paris Theatre has an enduring legacy, and remains the destination for a one-of-a kind movie-going experience,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer. “We are incredibly proud to preserve this historic New York institution so it can continue to be a cinematic home for film lovers.”
It’s unclear if Netflix will do this anywhere else, or whether it will inspire other TV platform based studios like Hulu or Amazon to do likewise. These companies have all the money now. If they’re so inclined I direct them to the dormant Metro Theater on 100th St. and Broadway, which could be a goldmine on the Upper West Side. And hey– what about the Ziegfeld? We miss it!