By Omar Younis
November 9, 2023 – 8:29 AM UTC
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Egyptian Theatre, a historic movie house that hosted Hollywood’s first film premiere a century ago, will re-open to the public this week after a multi-million-dollar restoration by Netflix (NFLX.O).
The company that pioneered watching movies at home stepped in three years ago to refurbish one of the most famous theaters in Los Angeles. Built during the silent film era, the Egyptian rolled out Hollywood’s first red carpet for the premiere of “Robin Hood” starring Douglas Fairbanks in 1922.
Netflix said it spent $70 million to restore the theater, preserving its original Egyptian Revival design in the courtyard and inside the building while adding updated sound and projection equipment.
“If you had seen the theater over the last couple of years before we were able to get in and do this work, you’d see it was showing every bit of its 100 years,” Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos said in an interview. “To be able to bring it back, and it’s a beautiful movie house, is just an incredible point of pride for us.”
Netflix will hold premieres of its films and other special events at the theater on weekdays starting with a screening of David Fincher’s “The Killer” on Thursday.
On weekends, the Egyptian will show classic films selected by the American Cinemateque, a nonprofit group that had purchased the theater in 1986 but struggled with upkeep of the century-old building.
“Even though we had spent considerable money renovating it, it still was not what we really dreamt it could be,” American Cinematheque Chairman Rick Nicita said.
Now, “it’s a brand new old movie palace, if that’s not a contradiction in terms,” Nicita added. “I can’t wait now to see a movie here.”
Reporting by Omar Younis;Additional reporting and writing by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Sandra Maler