Netflix‘s renovation plans for the recently acquired Egyptian Theatre Hollywood were presented this week at the Central Hollywood Neighborhood Council. In virtual attendance were Netflix Design & Construction Regional Team Lead Tony Hambarchian and Studio Policy Manager Amy Lemisch, but an array of project renderings and new details were presented by Charuni Patibanda, president of government affairs and lobby firm The McOsker Group.
Patibanda described the streaming giant’s plans for the historic theater as a “rewind rehab.” Elements like the theater’s ceiling, with its sunburst organ, there since the venue’s 1922 inception, will be preserved, while its Steven Spielberg Screening Room, a product of a late 1990s renovation, will be removed, Patibanda said. “The Egyptian Theatre is an HCM; it’s already been designated as a Historic-Cultural Monument, and we are not doing anything to impact any of the historic nature of the project,” she said. “In fact, we are doing everything we can do essentially renovate and rehab the building back up to its former glory, when it opened in 1922.”
The Egyptian Theatre is famous for hosting Hollywood’s first film premiere, of the movie Robin Hood, that year, but it is facing a down period worsened by the coronavirus pandemic and looking to be turned around by Netflix. The company finalized its $14.4 million purchase of the theater in May, announcing it would partner with seller and longtime operator the American Cinematheque on a new programming schedule. Netflix says it will use the revamped space during weekdays for special events, screenings and premieres, while the American Cinematheque, a cultural arts nonprofit, will proceed with its own programming Friday through Sunday.
Netflix also says it will foot the bill for the renovation, which will include up to an estimated $6 million just in necessary internal and structural upgrades to the building. Patibanda said demolition permits would be pulled primarily for a seismic retrofitting.
The revamped Egyptian Theatre will also have a variety of new features in addition to its structural modernization. In place of the outgoing screening room will come a new concession and lobby area, while the the outdoor courtyard area will be renovated to better reflect the theater’s original feel, Patibanda said. “The courtyard and the feel of the outside is geared to look the way it looked in 1922 when [The Egyptian Theatre] opened,” she said.
As far as a reopening goes, it will be a couple of years. Netflix expects the renovated Egyptian Theatre to open its doors at the end of 2022, Patibanda said during the meeting.