Netflix does not plan to buy a movie theater chain, co-CEO says

FILE PHOTO: Netflix executive Ted Sarandos arrives for the world premiere of his film "The Irishman" in New York City

By Lisa Richwine

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (Reuters) – Netflix Inc is not looking to buy a movie theater chain, Co-Chief Executive Ted Sarandos said on Monday, a rejection of speculation that swirled after the world’s largest streaming service bought two cinemas.

The company owns one theater in New York, purchased in 2019, and one in Los Angeles, which it bought in 2020. Netflix uses the cinemas to hold movie premieres and to showcase some of its original films.

Asked at Vox Media’s Code Conference if Netflix might next buy a theater chain, Sarandos said “no.”

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He also said he expected theaters to survive the rise of at-home streaming but that audiences would make fewer trips to their local cinema when they can watch so much programming at home.

“I think (moviegoing) will be less frequent, maybe more expensive,” he said. “Using it as an event to get out of the house, people are still going to be looking for that.”

Sarandos also said that the recently released Korean horror series “Squid Game” was on its way to becoming Netflix’s biggest non-English title so far and could turn into its most popular show yet around the world.

“We did not see that coming, in terms of its global popularity,” Sarandos said.

The current most-watched show, measured by total viewing hours, is romantic drama “Bridgerton,” Sarandos said. The most popular film to date is Sandra Bullock thriller “Bird Box.”

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(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Stephen Coates)