• Benji Sills

Dolby SoHo Pop-Up: Netflix Film Experiences

Updated: Feb 25, 2020

Paige and I rarely catch a day off at the same time, so when we do, we make sure to waste it as thoroughly as possible. With no prior planning (and certainly without the necessary physical stamina), we decided to scale all of Manhattan in a day-long walk. This stroll took us along the entirety of Broadway from the Financial District’s Battery Park to the upper crest of the island at Inwood Hill Park - a 13 mile long stroll in it’s entirety. Without any real plan, we were open to any surprises that would find us along the way and were therefore thrilled when a lady clad in a Netflix-branded shirt waved to us and called out “free pop-up!”

‘Free’ met all of our desired requirements and so we popped into the Dolby exhibit without any notion of what to expect. Apparently, the space is owned by Dolby and they stage a shifting variety of pop-ups there continuously throughout the year. The current one is themed around four of this year’s most highly regarded Netflix films: The Two Popes, The Irishman, Dolemite is My Name and Marriage Story. I’m a colossal film buff and Paige is also usually content to nap next to me during a screening, so we were both excited to explore.

We were given a brochure on the way in that laid out the design of the rooms. The entrance foyer included several photo ops, from a Netflix-branded mural to a mirrored room playing the Irishman in a dizzying array of orientations. We passed through this room and into a hallway where two off-shooting areas were set up as Netflix-inspired living rooms. We plopped down on a comfortable couch and watched the first few minutes of Marriage Story playing on a giant flatscreen, at which point I proclaimed I was ready to move in.

One of our favorite rooms was next up: a brief display on the aging technology employed in The Irishman, as well as several costumes from the film and a camera used to shoot it. There were also a wealth of photo opportunities including period piece phone booths. The room also included a small, stylish bar where you could sign up with your email in exchange for a free coffee, although judging by Paige’s expression, you get what you pay for. Behind this room was another small display, this from The Two Popes. This included costumes from the film and some fake fragments of ceiling fresco.

Two wide staircases also lead us downstairs where we found a Dolemite is My Name disco already in place. Numerous costumes from the film are also on display amidst the bright lights and flashing colors. We found the most fun installation to be a green-screen where you can record a video as you try to quickly inhabit the shifting film backgrounds behind you. Paige, with only a vague briefing of what these films were about, took the lead. We anxiously await our Academy Award.

The only feature we didn’t try was the on-site Dolby Theater. As proud card-carrying AMC A-listers, we get to see films in Dolby frequently and are already familiar with the crisp imagery and booming surround sound. For anyone not versed in the world of Dolby, the theater provides a great opportunity to waive the hefty ticket price and watch 15 minute presentations of each film (which I believe covers almost the entire opening credits for The Irishman). The time slots for each film are listed outside the theater and there are plenty of staff to help facilitate seating. As much fun as we were having however, Paige and I had to cut it short. As anyone familiar with Manhattan knows, SoHo is not particularly far up Broadway and it was already dark. With four hours left in our Broadway walking extravaganza, we waved goodbye and vowed to return for Dolby’s next exhibit.

The exhibit is in New York City, at 477 Broadway. It is open Wednesday through Sunday from 1-8PM and will be there until January 26th.

Admission is free (and even better, that includes a movie sticker).

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