Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Portland Opens First Airport Movie Theater in the U.S.
By Brian Gallagher
Travelling can often become an arduous ordeal, and if your flight becomes delayed, you can be stuck at the airport for hours with nothing to do. Located in Portland, Oregon, the Hollywood Theatre, has been around since 1926. They have recently opened up a small 17-seat movie theater in the Portland International Airport called Hollywood Theatre PDX, where fans can watch local indie films. And unlike practically everything else in this and every other airport, the theater is completely free. The theater, which began allowing folks in this past February, is the first-ever movie theater in a U.S. airport. But it was inspired by a similar theater in Hong Kong.
Afar Magazine explains that Doug Whyte, the executive director of the Hollywood Theater, got the idea for this airport movie house after reading about a similar theater in the Hong Kong International Airport, where patrons can watch new full-length theatrical releases. This Portland theater will only showcase independent short films from local filmmakers, with an hour's worth of short films running on a loop, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Here's what Doug Whyte had to say about how he wanted his airport theater to be different than the Hong Kong theater.
“"We knew we'd have to do ours differently, so we decided to play up the local angle and make it free. The hope is that people will flit in, watch a few short films, then flit out."
The theater opened in Concourse C of the Portland International Airport in February, after the theater spent four years raising $180,000 to create the theater. Doug Whyte also managed to get a number of audiovisual companies to donate a state-of-the-art movie projection and sound system for the theater, which was valued at over $200,000. This means that movie patrons who visit this unique theater will get the same high-quality theater experience as a traditional movie theater, while enjoying local films from Portland filmmakers. For fans who regularly travel out of the Portland airport, there will different films added every quarter.
Doug Whyte said that he will replace the theater's current reel of short films with a new reel this coming June. Airport employees report that the theater has seen a steady flow of traffic, and during days with significant weather delays, there have been times when the theater is standing-room only. Movie patrons are also allowed to bring food in from other areas of the airport, with many patrons bringing in popcorn from a nearby shop. Given the success of this theater, it's possible that it could spawn other movie theater owners to plan their own airport theaters. And it gives local Portland directors a chance to showcase their art. Take a look at a photo from the grand opening in February, along with another image of the theater's marquee, from an Instagram user.