Latest News – 7th January 2021
The City of Los Angeles' Cultural Heritage Commission met on 7th January 2021, with one of the agenda items being an informational presentation on the Netflix Egyptian Theatre project.
The Netflix team presented an overview of the project to the meeting, followed by a period for public comment, wrapping-up with comments from the Commission. An archived copy of the Netflix presentation is available here (38MB PDF).
LAHTF spoke during public comment and welcomes Netflix’s “restoration rewind” to return the Egyptian Theatre close to its 1922 roots. That said, there are some concerns which LAHTF have previously shared with the Netflix team.
In addition to the points covered in our Position Statement (see below, under heading dated 4th January 2021), LAHTF urged the Commission not to grant any demolition permits until full project plans have been approved. Secondly, and following no response from Netflix regarding LAHTF's concerns, LAHTF asked that the Commission consider creating a working group to liaise with Netflix on the project.
Overall, LAHTF is encouraged by the direction of Netflix’s project with its focus on the theatre’s history, removal of non-historic elements, and restoration of the theatre’s character. For Hollywood Boulevard, all eyes are on this theatre and it’s in the hands of one of the most innovative companies in Hollywood. It’s truly the perfect opportunity that we want to see done right and deserving of the historic Egyptian, knowing that it can be with this team, for future generations to enjoy.
LAHTF hopes to continue the dialogue with the Netflix project team and reached-out again to the Netflix team following the meeting.
An audio and written record of the Cultural Heritage Commission meeting will be available on the City's Planning website here once published.
Update – 4th January 2021
LAHTF met with Netflix in late 2020 to discuss the Egyptian Theatre project. Below is our position statement on the current plans.
LAHTF Position Statement on the Egyptian Theatre
Update – 17th October 2019
LAHTF Position Statement on the Egyptian Theatre
While the continued uncertainty over the ownership of the 1922 Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood has caused the Board of the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation to monitor the plans for the theatre itself, LAHTF's priority is the preservation, restoration and sustainability of this important historic theatre.
One of the elements of our mission is to promote and ensure the continued use of Los Angeles County's classic theatre resources. We look forward to working with any occupant of the theatre to preserve and enhance its historic elements and to make them available to the public to the greatest extent possible.
Update – 27th June 2019
- Creation of an endowment, to ensure the future of American Cinematheque programs on the big screen for years to come.
- American Cinematheque’s independent programming continuing to run at the Egyptian Theatre of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday each week.
- Renewal of the lease at the Aero Theatre for a further ten years.
- Expanding programming into other venues around Los Angeles.
Update – 9th April 2019
"Netflix In Talks To Acquire Hollywood’s Historic Egyptian Theatre From American Cinematheque"
According to a news exclusive published by Deadline today, and similar reports published by Bloomberg and the Los Angeles Times, streaming media giant Netflix is in talks to acquire the historic Egyptian Theatre from American Cinematheque.
LAHTF has reached-out to Netflix and American Cinematheque for comment. We will keep you posted as more news becomes available.
About the Egyptian Theatre
Built in the early 1920s by Sid Grauman, the Egyptian Theatre was the site of the first-ever Hollywood movie premiere when it showcased “Robin Hood” in October 1922. The theatre was designed by architect firm Meyer & Holler and was originally planned to be hispanic in nature – hence the Spanish-style roof tiles above the exterior entrance – however was restyled in Revival-Egyptian due to public fascination with Egyptian archeology typified by Howard Carter's discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922.
In the mid-1950s the Egyptian became the second theatre in the country to be equipped for the 70mm TODD-AO process, complete with a 60ft wide screen. In 1968 subsequent remodeling was undertaken to accommodate a 75ft wide screen for the Dimension 150 (D-150) process. The installations resulted in the loss of the stage and most of the proscenium, with just the very top level of the original proscenium arch remaining.
Substantial damage was caused to the building during the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. The exterior was subsequently restored to its original condition while the interior included modern upgrades. The auditorium is now smaller with stadium seating and a small balcony. The rearmost section of Orchestra seating was removed and given over to concession space and to accommodate small screening theatre, currently called the Steven Spielberg Theatre. The auditorium ceiling with its magnificent sunburst plasterwork (hiding the theatre's original organ chamber) was preserved.
In 2016 the Hollywood Foreign Press Association awarded the Egyptian a $350,000 grant for upgrades to the Projection Booth including modifications allowing the theatre to exhibit nitrate prints.
Historic photos courtesy Los Angeles Public Library (Hollywood Blvd), California State Library (Forecourt), New York Public Library (Auditorium). Other photos for LAHTF by historictheatrephotos.com.