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Paris Theater
Photography: The Brinsons

NYC's iconic Paris Theater will reopen this fall!

The Netflix-owned venue, first opened in 1948, will return with fresh renovations.

Written by
André Wheeler
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Cinema enthusiasts can breathe a sigh of relief. The Paris Theater, Manhattan’s sole-surviving single screen theater, will finally open its doors again this fall. 

The 571-seat venue, which first opened in 1948, has largely been able to stay afloat thanks to Netflix purchasing it in 2019. However, after closing for over a year due to Covid-19 restrictions and safety measures, cinema enthusiasts worried over the fate of an increasingly endangered gem.

Thankfully, the arthouse cinema is coming back. And with a facelift. Recent renovation work was aimed at giving the space a “light refresh,” the theater’s management wrote in an email announcement. The improvements include new carpeting and drapes, a bright red marquee sign, and installing a handicap-accessible bathroom. 

The theater will officially reopen on August 6, but the film slate has not been announced yet. In the past, the theater has hosted the premieres and brief theatrical runs of original Netflix films, including Noah Baumbach’s 2019 relationship-drama Marriage Story. That’s still part of the plan, apparently. On Paris Theater’s website, its management promises to return with “premiere engagements of new films, repertory screenings, filmmaker series, retrospectives, discussions programs, an exclusive sneak-preview club, and more.” 

Over the years, the Paris Theater has acquired somewhat of a fan club through its commitment to supporting independent films and filmmakers. In August of 2019, the theater closed its doors. Then, in November, Netflix came to the rescue and purchased the venue.The move was presented as aiding in the preservation of film, but it was also a strategic choice. Oscar eligibility still requires films to have theatrical runs and Paris Theater provided the streaming giant with a guaranteed venue (especially when some cinemas refused to screen Netflix films). 

The Paris Theater offers movie lovers an increasingly rarified experience: watching movies in movie theaters. The venue’s latest reopening comes as the shift away from theater experiences is metabolizing faster and faster. This year, many of Hollywood’s biggest studios, including Warner Brothers and Disney, opted for a radical model of simultaneously releasing films in theaters and on streaming services.  

For more information about The Paris Theater, and its yet-to-be-announced film screenings, check out its website.

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