Netflix might buy this iconic Hollywood theater

World Today

Video streaming service Netflix considering purchase of iconic Hollywood theater

From the home screen to the big screen, Netflix may be on the verge of buying one of Hollywood’s most-iconic theaters. It’s part of a series of moves by the streaming service to compete for the coveted Oscar awards.

CGTN’s Phil Lavelle has details.

Netflix may be the big name in streaming, but there’s one thing that has, so far, eluded this media giant: full acceptance by the Hollywood elite. It entered the industry as a disruptor, but now it’s trying to get its multi-million dollar offerings into consideration for awards.

2019 was a real turning point, with the service’s film, Roma, nominated for ten Academy Awards and taking home three. Now it appears Netflix has switched its ambitions up a gear, with reports that it is in advanced talks to buy the iconic Egyptian Theater in Hollywood.

Peter Saphier is an Academy member and one of those who votes on who gets an Oscar. He explains to CGTN why the data and content company is now interested in bricks and mortar.

“It gives them the prestige of having a theater and a showcase for their product in a theater form,” he said. “It helps them bridge the gap between what they are – originally a television service – and what they want to become, a movie service, or a large frame video service of some kind.”

Netflix has to abide by the same rules as all of the other big studies in order for its movies to be considered for an Oscar. Films must be shown in a commercial movie theater in Los Angeles County at least three times a day for at least seven consecutive days, with attendees paying to view it. 

Some establishment figures, like Hollywood icon Steven Spielberg, have made it clear that they see Netflix’ content as “TV movies”  rather than the kind that screened at a theater. 

“They still wanna be considered a disruptor in the industry, but they also want acceptance from their peers in this space and to be accepted as a heavy hitter and not just some flimsy digital company,” explains Samson Amore with the Los Angeles Business Journal, who has written extensively about Netflix’s ambitions. “I think the reason that Netflix wants to be considered a legitimate business on par with some of these larger studios is to prove to their investors that we’re here to stay, we’re going to be solid in this market for a long time and you as an investor have a potential to get a lot of rewards from our business.”

Kathryn Arnold is a Hollywood expert who has watched the industry evolve. 

“Netflix came in as a disruptor, they were a game changer,” she said. “Small screen budgets were smaller, and they didn’t have the top tier talent or production value. Netflix decided, ‘we’re going to go in, we’re going to go big or we’re going to go home.’ So they have theatrical quality movies but are playing on the small screen and then the exhibitors are wondering ‘well why do we have an existence anymore? Are we still relevant?’ So I think there’s got to be some play with Netflix willing to have theatrical releases along with playing on the small screen as well.”