Next month, the Academy Theater at 7818 SE Stark Street will switch to showing first-run films after sixteen years as a second-run venue. Consequentially, the owners plan to raise ticket prices. The business partners feel this transition better positions the theater for post-pandemic success and stability.
The transition begins on March 4th with The Batman by Warner Bros. Pictures. On that night, tickets will cost $9 for adults and $6.50 for seniors or children. Food and beverage offerings will remain the same with beer, wine, and pizza from Flying Pie Pizzeria.
Owners Heyward Stewart, Julie Stewart, and Ty Dupuis moved to first-run films in response to market trends. Over the last few years, movies have increasingly transitioned to early in-home distribution, eating up the demand for second-run showings on the big screen. Recently, many studios have agreed to a 45-day theatrical release window for new films as a concession to theater operators. Although shorter than the old 90 windows, it offers movie houses the opportunity to present unique entertainment to patrons and draw people back into communal viewing.
Movie theaters suffered more than most businesses during the pandemic. They faced prolonged shutdowns and did not have alliterative revenue sources to lean on. After reopening, moviegoers were hesitant to return to the theaters while infection rates climbed. New online streaming options allowed people to stay home, further slowing the industry’s recovery. However, signs point to a turnaround industry-wide, with a strong rebound for theaters showing big-budget first-run films. The fate of second-run theaters is unknown, making the Academy’s shift necessary for the theater’s continued operation.
The Academy Theater opened in 1948, serving a welcomed role in the community until closing in the mid-1970s. After its resurrection in 2006, it quickly became an icon of Montavilla. Theaters need visitors, and the owners hope this change will bring people back. Keep an eye on the theater marquee for new first-run titles and consider spending an evening at the Academy.
The Academy Theater will reopen to the public next month, 68 weeks after it closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. The opening date appeared last week alongside a detailed accounting of the movie theater’s history. As the 1948 era move house prepares for the July 16th reopening, staff also ready for a busy summer season.
Located at 7818 SE Stark Street, The Academy Theater closed its doors in March 2020. After the last show on Friday the 13th, the staff locked up for a several-week-long intermission while the country tried to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, over a year later, the theater remained dark, even as other surrounding businesses reopened in phases.
After so much time shuttered, extensive work is needed to ready the business for an eager audience. Co-Owner, Heyward Stewart barely has time to prepare everything and has dedicated all his efforts towards that goal. “I am super busy at the moment trying to get things together for our reopening.” However, Stewart is excited that this day is finally approaching and what reopening could mean for the neighborhood. “[We] look forward to being a part of the revitalization of Montavilla.”
The Academy Theater is often seen as the symbolic heart of Montavilla and is an iconic representation of the Stark Street business district. Its reopening will signify the actual end of restrictions and the beginning of returning to normalcy for many. Keep an eye on the movie theater’s marquee for coming attractions and showtimes but regardless of what’s playing, consider a visit to make up for the lost time.
Our Academy Theater has anchored Montavilla Town since its opening in 1948. It closed as a theater in the 1970s and operated as an office. 2006 saw its return to glory as a movie house. Modern issues have threatened the viability of the Academy Theater. Whether it was the conversion from film to digital or a electrical fire, the community has supported it. We all know how valuable it is, not just for the entertainment they provide, but also as an icon of our neighborhood.
So once again we need to show our continued support. Please consider buying a Gift card.
It may feel like Oregon is on the cusp of reopening, but some businesses will have to wait longer than others to serve patrons again. Places of mass gathering will not be opening quickly. Even when opened, people may be scared to go to the movies. Things will get better but if we want to enjoy the future as it was before, we will have to invest in it now.