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General Portland Movie Info

Movie Theaters

(see the summary theater chart listing all theaters mentioned here.)


Portland is dominated by one theater chain, Regal Cinemas , which acquired the big ActIII chain in the summer of 1998. So far Regal has been a mixed bag: ticket prices have gone up to $7.75 or $8.00 ($5.25 for matinees) at most theaters, and concessions got even more expensive - if that was possible. Quality of theaters is mixed; the Broadway downtown is notorious for projection and audio problems, but the newer ActIII multiplex theaters in the suburbs - huge monstrosities with gaudy neon decor - aren't so bad once you get inside. Except for the Evergreen, most of the multiplexes have a few screens of decent size, with reasonable digital sound systems, and stadium seating. I wouldn't see a film (certainly not for $7.75 or $8.00) unless it was in one of the "bigger screens" in these places; the smaller auditoriums are lacking in sound quality and screen size.

Since Regal has closed the Eastgate Theatre (as of February 25, 2001), there are few good choices left for seeing "big" films that require a big screen. One would be the main auditorium at Regal's Lloyd Cinemas (not the one in the mall) and the main auditorium at Tigard Cinemas. The trick is figuring out if the film you want to see is in the big auditorium or not! Often it is the first film listed in the paper but not always.

Competition for Regal Cinemas

If you wanted to see a commercial film in Portland, until recently you had few other choices besides Regal's 25+ movie theaters. There are a few independent theaters and the very small chain of Family Theaters, but that was about it. In the fall of 1998, another big national chain, Century Theaters, opened the Century Eastport multiplex theater in Southeast Portland, on SE 82nd Ave just south of Powell. In 2004 they opened a second multiplex in Beaverton at Cedar Hills Crossing (formerly Beaverton Mall).

A few differences from Regal's theaters. For one, Century offers a much wider variety of concessions (you'll be amazed) than a typical theater. Century also structures their bargain pricing differently than Regal: shows before 4PM are "bargain" shows, but between 4-6PM are "twilight" shows which are the cheapest. This seems to be an improvement over their previous policy of "movies after 2PM are full price" on weekends. Regal, on the other hand, is pretty much "bargain shows" before 6PM, every day.

Otherwise, the Century theaters are pretty nice. Great staudium seating auditoriums and good-sized screens For most people, the most important thing is still which theater is closest to them and has the movie they want to see.

Non-commercial "Artsy" Films

Ah, but my favorite types of films are the non-Hollywood "artsy" films.  Portland has only a couple of "art houses".  One is the Cinema 21 in NW Portland.  This is Portland's only independently-owned first-run art house.  Most new off-beat films open here as well as revivals of old films, foreign films, etc.  It's a great theater; I'm proud to do their website.

Regal has had several first-run art house theaters downtown in the last few years. But recently, the Movie House has been closed. Regal's previous first-run art house theater, the KOIN Cinemas, became a discount theater (all seats $2.50) for a few months after the Fox Tower opened, but as of January 2001 Regal has changed it back to an art house cinema - sort of. Now it gets films after they leave Fox Tower. The Fox Tower has become the first-run art house theater. Fox Tower is similiar to KOIN but bigger: stadium seating, ten screens, several of which are 200+ seats, several of which are perhaps 50 seats (tiny!). Digital sound at least - something KOIN never had. However, KOIN's two medium-sized auditoriums are nice, the seats are comfortable, and they are a better place (from my standpoint) to see art house films than anywhere in the Fox Tower. Bravo that Regal has upgraded KOIN again.

The Regal Broadway Theatre downtown (four screens) on SW Broadway and Main used to show a mixture of commercial and borderline artsy films, But with opening of the Fox Towers in October, 2000, with plans to show "alternative" films here. Rumor has it that the Broadway will start to show commercial films only (it has mostly been that way anyway recently). Portland recently lost the Movie House theater downtown (SW 12th and Taylor), one screen also showing first-run artsy films.  This is a neat old theater - decent (not huge) auditorium with a cool upstairs lobby in which you can sit and relax, even play checkers. The seats have already been ripped out - looks like its days as a movie theater are over. So sad.

Regal's new Fox Tower 10 at SW Taylor and Broadway (opening October, 2000) is, quite honestly, not much different than the KOIN Cinemas - just a little bigger. Ten screens instead of six. Some of the auditoriums have 200+ seats, but some have only five (!) rows. I've seen movies in both the big and small, and let me tell you, sitting in the back row in the small theater was too close for me!

Along with the Cinema 21 and the Regal theaters, there's also the Cinemagic Theater in SE Portland at SE Hawthorne and 20th.  They show also sort of "second run" films maybe after Regal or Cinema 21 shows them, but this is a nice theater.  Not far away is the Clinton Street Theater at SE Clinton Street and 25th.  This art house shows more revivals than current releases.  Their big event is the Rocky Horror Picture Show every Saturday at midnight.

Portland's classic old Hollywood Theater on NE Sandy and 42nd Ave was recently purchased from ActIII by a non-profit group that plans to restore the theater. This piece of history is definitely worth saving.  While restoration is (gradually) underway, the Hollywood Theater is showing a mix of revival films and second-run art films at discount prices.  They actually have three screens (the balconies were turned into additional screens a few years ago I take it).

Across the river in Clark County, Washington is another neat theater, the Kiggins Theater in downtown Vancouver at 10th and Main.  The Kiggins was also recently re-opened and renovated and shows second-run commercial films and the occasional artsy film. In Camas there's the Liberty Theater which also shows first-run commercial films. Both of these classic single-screen theaters have modern digital sound systems. Regal has opened about 30 new screens in Vancouver in just the last year if you live in Vancouver or visit, be sure to support the Kiggins and the Liberty.

Pioneer Place Cinemas Finally Opens

Regal Cinemas finally opened Pioneer Place Cinemas in June, 2003, at Pioneer Place II, a mall in downtown Portland. It was a long time coming.

In 1998, Sundance Cinemas, an extension of Robert Redford's Sundance Institute (and film festival), was announced as a venture with General Cinemas to show independent films. But it was not to be - the venture died in 2000, and the theater sat vacant for several years atop the new shopping mall extension.

Regal has been showing a mix of art house and commercial fare in this complex. It's not bad - some rooms are decent sized and all have stadium seating. It's better than Regal's Fox Tower for sure.

Theater Pubs

Finally, Portland has a unique set of theaters run by the McMenamins pub chain.  These folks operate four theater/pubs, where you can buy beer and food and enjoy it while you watch a film.  Their four theaters are the Mission Theatre in NW Portland (NW Glisan and 16th Ave), the Bagdad (another classic old theater, SE Hawthorne and 37th Ave), the Kennedy School (NE 33rd and about Killingsworth), and the Edgefield (east of Portland in Troutdale).  These theaters show discount films, either $2 or $3 depending on the film, a mixture of commercial films and (occasionally) artsy stuff and revivals.  Due to the alcohol, minors are not admitted to most shows, and you must show ID to get in like a bar.  These theaters are popular and usually busy, and they are also (except the Bagdad) fairly small, so on weekends there are long lines and often sell-outs.

The Laurelhurst Theater has recently been renovated and converted into a Theater/Pub also.

The Northwest Film Center

Portland also has a film and video resource center for the northwest, the Portland Art Museum's Northwest Film Center.  These folks run a film school, offer services to budding film makers, and screen unique film series all year. The film center usually screens films at the art museum, but during renovation and construction of a new theater, they will move to the Guild Theatre at SW 9th and Taylor. The film center also puts on four film festivals each year, including the main event, the Portland International Film Festival each February for two-and-a-half weeks.  The international festival is mostly foreign films and a few American independents, truly a great festival.  Films screen on four screens simultaneously for most of the festival, so there are a lot of choices.  I am also proud to volunteer for these folks.

Video Stores

Besides Blockbuster and Hollywood Video, Portland does have a few unique little video stores featuring "hard to find" videos.  Probably the city's best video store is  Mike's Movie Madness in SE Portland (SE Belmont and 44th Ave; 503-234-4363).  If you can't find some old obscure film or some new artsy film, likely they'll have it.  Movie Madness has quite a selection of VHS videos, and they also rent laserdiscs and DVD's, too.

Other great video stores for artsy films:  Trilogy (NW Thurman and 25th Ave; 229-1884), Clinton Street Video (SE Clinton and 25th). Soho Video (downtown SW Jefferson and 10th) has recently gone out of business, unfortunately.

Portland Theater Reference Chart

You can also get a One-page Printable Portland Movie Times summary!

Theater Phone Number Address Comments
Showtimes via McMenamins WebSite
230-0895 3702 SE Hawthorne McMenamins Theatre/pub (tables to eat/drink beer)
Broadway Metroplex
Showtimes via Yahoo!
503-225-5555 x4607 1000 SW Broadway (at Main downtown) Big-budget artsy films and first-run commercial films.
The Cinema 21 503-223-4515 (recording, live voice during theater hours) 616 NW 21st Ave (at Hoyt) Portland's Premier Art House Theater
Century Theaters 503-503-225-5555 x4650 82nd Ave Between SE Powell and SE Holgate (at Eastport Plaza Shopping Center) I-205 Exit at Powell, go west, south on 82nd Ave. Brand new multiplex theater in East Portland; alternative to Regal Cinemas. Nice theater.
Showtimes via Yahoo!
231-7919 2021 SE Hawthorne Second-run art house; some revival films
Clinton Street Theatre
Showtimes via Yahoo!
238-8899 2522 SE Clinton Revival films; Rocky Horror Picture Show Saturday Nights
Eastgate   2025 SE 82nd Ave (at Division) CLOSED, February 2001 Was the largest theater auditorium in Oregon- the place to see the blockbuster action films.
Showtimes via McMenamins Website
669-8754 2126 SW Halsey, Troutdale McMenamins Theatre/pub (tables to eat/drink beer)
Fifth Avenue Cinemas
Showtimes via Yahoo!
725-4470 510 SW Hall Blvd, Portland (PSU, betwen 5th & 6th Ave) Two screens - no new releases, just revivals. Run as non-profit organization in association with Portland State University.

Closed during the summer.

Regal Fox Tower 10
Showtimes via Yahoo!
503-503-225-5555 x4604 735 SW Taylor (at Broadway) Regal's new (October 2000) first-run arthouse multiplex theater. Some screens are tiny, they may sell out most shows on weekends, like KOIN did!
Hollywood Theater 503-281-4215 4122 NE Sandy Blvd Classic old theater being renovated by a non-profit group; currently shows second-run art films, revival films, and some commercial films at bargain prices.
Kennedy School
Showtimes via McMenamins Website
503-288-2180 5736 NE 33rd Ave (at Kilingsworth) McMenamins Theatre/pub (tables to eat/drink beer)
Kiggins Theater
Showtimes via Yahoo!
360-737-3161 1011 Main Street (downtown Vancouver) Recently rennovated old theater; single-screen; late-run commercial films and some artsy stuff, modern digital sound system
Showtimes via Yahoo!
503-232-5511 2735 E. Burnside Supposedly renovated in late 1999 and re-opened as a Theater/Pub, McMenamins style. They serve Pizicato Pizza plus beer and wine. Not been there yet...
Liberty Theater 360-834-2131 downtown Camas,WA on 4th Ave, between Birch and Cedar streets Restored single-screen theater showing mostly first-run commericial films; well maintained, modern digital sound system.
KOIN Cinemas
Closed, January 2004
  SW 3rd & Clay downtown (in KOIN Center high-rise)
Mission Theater
Showtimes via McMenamins Website
503-223-4031 1624 NW Glisan McMenamins Theatre/pub (tables to eat/drink beer)
Moreland Theater
Showtimes via Yahoo!
503-236-5257 SE Milwaukie & Bybee Another cool old single-screen theater in SE Portland showing some artsy, some commercial films.
Northwest Film Center 503-221-1156 (voice) Guild Theatre, SW 9th and Taylor

The Film Center not only puts on four festivals - the Portland International Film Festival (February), the Northwest Film & Video Festival (November), the Jewish Film Festival (January), and the Children's Film Fesitival - but also shows film series all year. Plus they offer film classes.

The film center screens films at both the Whitsell Auditorum (at the Art Museum) and to the Guild Theatre at SW 9th and Taylor.

Roseway Theatre
Showtimes via Yahoo!
503-287-8119 7229 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland Mixture of second-run artsy and commercial films. Note: showtimes are often unavailable for this theater on the web - call 503-287-8119.
Tigard-Joy Theater
Showtimes via Yahoo!
503-778-8080-3 11959 SW Pacific Highway (99W), Tigard Second-run artsy films, about the only theater on the west side of Portland to show them.

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