Broadway will be turning back the clock next month when it converts one of its august theaters into a movie theater and starts screenings of Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman.”
Netflix is going to put up a screen in the Belasco Theatre and show the movie on the Broadway model of eight performances a week — Tuesday through Sunday evenings, with matinees on Saturday and Sunday from Nov. 1-Dec 1.
The Belasco has been empty since the play “Network” ended its run in June. Its next tenant will be “Girl from the North Country” in March. Broadway producers lately have been creative about using the theater spaces when vacant, including programing concerts, magic shows and improv performances.
While unprecedented these days, turning the 1,000-seat Belasco into a movie house is an echo from the past. Almost every Broadway theater that is still standing was converted to showing movies, recording radio broadcasts, or being used as a TV recording studio at some point in Times Square’s seedier days, says Tim Dolan, a Broadway historian who is owner of the Broadway Up Close Walking Tours Inc.
The mobster flick “The Irishman” stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. It represents a big risk for Netflix, which ponied up $159 million to make “The Irishman” after other studios passed.
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