In 1922, an Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood opened its doors for the very first time, marking the beginning of a cinematic legacy that would last for nearly a century. Now, as it approaches its 100-year anniversary, the iconic theater is set to celebrate a grand reopening following a remarkable $70 million renovation led by Netflix.
The Egyptian Theatre holds a special place in Hollywood’s cinematic history as the venue for the very first movie premiere in 1922. Over the years, it has seen glamorous film premieres of classics such as “Ben-Hur,” “My Fair Lady,” and “Return of the Jedi.” The tradition of hosting movie premieres dates back to its original red-carpet premiere for the silent film “Robin Hood,” starring Douglas Fairbanks.
The theater’s opening coincided with a cultural craze ignited by the excavation of King Tut’s tomb by a British archaeologist, which resulted in a nationwide fascination with ancient Egypt. The Egyptian Theatre was part of a trend that saw the emergence of at least 11 other Egyptian-themed theaters across the United States.
During its early years, the theater featured unique touches that added to its charm, such as a staffer dressed as a Bedouin guard walking across the roof, adding drama to the atmosphere.
Throughout its history, the Egyptian Theatre faced significant challenges, including extensive damage caused by the 1994 Northridge earthquake, which left the building with gaping holes. During its restoration, an intriguing architectural mystery unfolded as the theater was found to be constructed much like a Hollywood set. The plaster and chicken wire busts of two pharaohs overseeing an elaborate wooden gate opened to reveal a solid brick wall.
Under its new management, the Egyptian Theatre will continue to showcase classic movies on weekends, with programming overseen by the American Cinemateque, a non-profit organization that formerly owned the theater. On weekdays, the theater will primarily host screenings for Netflix, which acquired the historic building in 2020. This unique partnership marks a fusion of an iconic historical venue with a major player in the modern entertainment industry.
The Egyptian Theatre is poised to officially reopen its doors on November 9, commemorated with a sold-out screening of “The Killer,” a Netflix film directed by David Fincher and featuring the talented actor Michael Fassbender. This reopening signifies a harmonious blend of cinematic history, cultural significance, and the ever-evolving entertainment industry in the heart of Hollywood.