Portland’s Independent Theaters

The Academy Theater on Stark and 78th. The Academy is one of many independently owned movie theaters in Portland. Photo by Nora Hugo.

Movie theaters in Portland malls tend to boast comfortable seating, recent movies, and a large variety of unhealthy snack options, all of which may seem vital to the movie-watching experience. However, these perks often lead to pricey tickets and long lines, and the theaters are surrounded by the mall environment that some people seem to shy away from.

Portland also has a large number of smaller, independent movie theaters that lack most of these drawbacks and have perks like cheap childcare, the option of alcoholic beverages, and locally sourced food options. Additionally, as Franklin student Viridian Klei (10) says, “You’re supporting a small business that starts in Portland, ends in Portland and is helping the community… it’s less of just giving money to a big corporation that goes to one person rather than supporting the local economy.” If this appeals to you more than a mall movie theater does, you might consider dropping by one of these independently owned theaters.

Laurelhurst Theater- Located in Northeast Portland, this movie theater has been around since 1923. It now offers a variety of first-run, independent, art, and classic films on four screens. Their menu includes a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, with four pizza options. If you are under 20 years of age, you need an adult accompanying you to any daytime showings and cannot attend shows after 8:00 pm.

Academy Theater- This movie theater has been located in the Montavilla neighborhood of Southeast Portland since 1948 and shows a selection of second-run and classic films. Tickets are priced at $4 for adults with a two-for-one Tuesday special, and $3 for kids and seniors. The Academy also offers a variety of food and snacks from neighboring establishments such as Bipartisan Cafe, Flying Pie Pizza, and Miyamoto Sushi. Every day, the theater shows 6-9 movies at varying showtimes on their three screens.  

Roseway Theater- Located in the Roseway neighborhood of Northeast Portland, this one-screen movie theater was built in 1924 and has been operational since 1925. The Roseway was restored recently and offers the usual movie snacks, along with tickets priced at $8 for all showtimes and ages.

Moreland Theater-  The Moreland Theater shows first-run movies on their one screen. It was built in 1926 in the Sellwood neighborhood of Southeast Portland. Tickets are priced at $9 for general admission, and tickets for children, seniors, military, or matinee showings are $7. This theater also offers a Tuesday special of $5 tickets for all showings, and shows one movie at a time.

Cinema 21- This art movie theater is located on 21st Avenue in Northwest Portland, hence the name. Established in 1926 and renovated in 2014, this theater shows a variety of independent, classic, and art films on its three screens and often hosts film festivals in Portland. Tickets are priced at $10 for general admission with discounted tickets at $9 for students and $7.50 for children and seniors.

Hollywood Theater- This theater became a nonprofit after it was renovated due to a fire in 1997. Located in the Hollywood district of Northeast Portland, it offers a variety of snacks and drinks along with ice cream from Salt & Straw, one of Portland’s most well-known ice cream companies. Tickets are $9 for adults and $7 for students, seniors, and children, and the theater offers three auditoriums on two floors. 

Clinton Street Theater- This theater opened in 1915 and shows indie and revival films. The Clinton, located in Southeast Portland, has one screen and works as closely as possible with filmmakers and also hosts live events. Tickets at the Clinton cost $8 general admission, and they show 1-2 movies per day at varying showtimes. 

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