Netflix in talks to buy historic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood

HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES -- Netflix is in preliminary talks to buy the historic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, Eyewitness News has learned.

The Pharoah-themed theater, built by Sid Grauman in the 1920s, has been one of the most famous and storied theaters in the world. Now negotiations are underway for Netflix to buy it. Yes, Netflix, the same streaming service that Oscar-winning film maker Steven Spielberg has blasted for streaming movies, like Academy Award winning "Roma," direct to viewers at home, with limited theatrical showings.

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"The Egyptian was where the first Hollywood movie premiere was held in 1922 and now a streaming service looks like its going to own it," Natalie Jarvey from the Hollywood Reporter points out.

If you're wondering, that first Hollywood movie premiere was for "Robin Hood."

American Cinematheque owns Egyptian Theatre now. The independent, nonprofit organization is dedicated to preserving and celebrating moving pictures in all forms. The sale to Netflix would lead to a partnership, where both would have access to the theater.

"This is really about Netflix planting a flag for the theater community. This gives them a landmark theater in Hollywood, where they can stage events, premieres and really show the Hollywood theatrical community that they're committed to the work they are doing," Jarvey explains.

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Reports suggest Netflix isn't interested in becoming a brick-and-mortar theater owner, but come awards season, the Grauman's Egyptian Theatre will be its go-to venue for glitzy screenings.

Jarvey believes the purchase of the Egyptian is a way for Netflix to get in the good graces of the theater community.

"This isn't going to solve Netflix's problem of getting wide theatrical distribution across the country. This is one theater in Los Angeles. It's largely kind of a flagship but it will show that they are committed to the preservation of the art of theater, because that's really what the Egyptian Theatre and American Cinematheque have been known for," Jarvey said.

There are no details on the timeline of the deal and when it might close, but it is said to be in the many tens of millions of dollars. Netflix will use the Egyptian Theatre for screening and special events only, and not for public showings of any movies.

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