Netflix to Mix Things Up - Reopening Theater for Marriage Story
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Netflix To Mix Things Up By Reopening Theater For Marriage Story

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BY February 18, 2021

When you think about Netflix, you’re going to have a picture in your head. It might be of you, relaxing at home, streaming content from your laptop, phone, or TV. The whole purpose of Netflix has been accessibility, and the ability to choose from thousands of titles at your leisure. So, the Netflix announcement that they’d be reopening New York’s Paris Theater for Marriage Story, means that one has to wonder what it means for the platform. A platform built on the idea of at-home viewing may have a great idea up their sleeve when it comes to the unique theatre experience.

So, What’s Happening With Netflix Releasing Marriage Story In Theater?

Marriage Story is Noah Baumbach’s latest beauty. It tells the tale of two parents with a complicated past as they move forward through the process of separation. It’s heartbreaking, endearing, and dare I say it, a masterpiece. I had the fortune of watching Marriage Story at TIFF in early September, and it was a fantastic cinematic experience. The jokes had the entire theater filled with ruptures of laughter. The shared tears did not go unnoticed. I remember feeling incredibly fortunate to have watched it in a theater. The film just feels like something that was bigger than a streaming platform. I guess Netflix agrees.

The film will release for streaming on December 6th, 2019. Though the film has had its go at festivals, it hasn’t announced any major theatrical releases. Though, Netflix has recently released its plans to show the film at the Paris Theater in New York City for a limited time, starting November 6th. The 581-seat theatre was the last single-screen theater in Manhattan and closed recently after its lease ran out. The theater is owned by Sheldon Solow, a real estate developer who has yet to make secure plans for the theater following its lease ending. So, it’s future is uncertain.

Netflix Marriage Story Theater Image via Netflix

So, What Does This Marriage Story Theater Release Mean?

Now, Marriage Story is certainly a stand-out in terms of Netflix’s original content. It’s star-studded, with leads including Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson. It’s already received a fair amount of Oscar buzz, including a potential Best Picture nomination. So, it’s not like Netflix is pulling out all the stops to release their smaller works of original content. But, if this goes well, it could re-define the theatre-going experience for those who are used to streaming. This could create more paired theatrical and streaming releases. Combining the history of the Paris Theater with such a special film may have the desired impact of creating more memorable viewing experiences.

There has been plenty of talk amongst film fans and members of the industry who have a belief system on what movies are supposed to be. Many attribute their love for movies with the entire watching experience. For some, this means the peace of turning off your phone, sitting in a dark room, and sharing the experience with a room full of strangers. Netflix may have gotten the hint that the theater is crucial to some people’s love of movies, and Marriage Story may prove this. With all of their success, their next move in the streaming wars could be to pair their streaming releases with theatrical ones. The idea of Netflix-only theaters doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch.

So, readers, do you prefer to watch your movies at home or at the cinema? And do you think that the viewing experience is just as important as the film itself? Let us know your favorite movie-watching memory.

Featured image via Netflix.

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Meghan Hale is a graduate student living right outside of Toronto, Canada. She has always been the go-to gal for talking about anything film related and has a frustratingly long list of movie trivia up her sleeve. She is currently working on her first screenplay, as well as a horror novel, with the goal of publishing it while Stephen King is still around to read it.

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