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'The Irishman' to screen in Memphis at Malco Paradiso

Commercial Appeal Memphis logo Commercial Appeal Memphis 11/5/2019 John Beifuss, Memphis Commercial Appeal

Director Martin Scorsese's gangster epic "The Irishman" will receive a theatrical screening in Memphis, after all.

Produced for Netflix, the much-anticipated 3½-hour film — which has received almost universal critical acclaim and is expected to be a top Oscar contender — will screen at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2, at the Malco Paradiso, in a special event organized by Indie Memphis.

The movie will be shown on multiple screens, based on how many tickets are sold, according to Ryan Watt, executive director of Indie Memphis, the organization that this week wraps up its 22nd annual film festival with Tuesday-through-Thursday encore screenings at the Ridgeway and Powerhouse.

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The culmination of Scorsese's career-long fascination with organized crime, "The Irishman" reunites the director with his "Taxi Driver"/"Raging Bull" star, Robert De Niro, who — with the help of digital special effects — is "de-aged" to appear decades younger in some scenes, along with fellow cast members Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. The cinematographer is Rodrigo Prieto, a Memphis fan who shot "21 Grams" here in 2003, for director Alejandro Iñárritu.

The event is something of a sequel to this year's earlier Indie Memphis-hosted screening of "Roma," another high-profile Netflix film that Malco did not book due to the cinema chain's policy of not exhibiting movies produced by or bought for distribution by the streaming service. (The exception to the rule to date has been "Dolemite Is My Name" by hometown director Craig Brewer, which opened Oct. 4 at the Paradiso and ended its successful run Oct. 30, after its Oct. 25 debut on Netflix.)

Malco Theatres Inc. is one of many major movie-theater companies with a policy of excluding Netflix releases. According to those companies, the streaming service's watch-movies-at-home business model is hostile to the traditional moviegoing experience, especially since those few Netflix films that are distributed to theaters — generally so the movies can qualify for the Academy Awards — become available to subscribers only a few weeks after their theatrical debuts. 

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"The Irishman" opened in three cities Nov. 1, and will expand this month to a handful of theaters before its Nov. 27 Netflix debut. (It runs Nov. 22-28 at the Belcourt in Nashville.)

The movie's television availability is unlikely to reduce tickets sales in Memphis. When Indie Memphis hosted "Roma" Jan. 29 at the Paradiso, the movie — an Oscar nominee for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress — sold out three auditoriums, even though it had been available on Netflix since Nov. 21.

Tickets to "The Irishman" are at regular Paradiso prices ($12 per adult, $8 per child), and are now available at malco.com.

This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: 'The Irishman' to screen in Memphis at Malco Paradiso

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