Laurelhurst Theater

Streamers: What’s Next for Movie Theaters?

Welcome to the brave new world of total confusion in the movie business

If there’s one thing we’ve all learned, or at least should have learned, over the least year or four, it’s that prediction is folly. As a calamitous 2020 comes to a close, and we take a moment, despite ourselves, to imagine what the coming 12 months have in store for cinema, about the only thing we can be sure of is that it’ll be better. Right? I mean, it kind of has to be better. Right?

In Portland, movie theaters have been closed to the general public since mid-March. The survival of one of the nation’s best exhibition infrastructures hangs in the balance.  Beloved independent venues such as Cinema 21, the Hollywood Theatre, the Northwest Film Center, the Clinton Street Theater, the Laurelhurst Theater, Living Room Theaters, and more have explored inventive ways to bring in at least a fraction of their normal revenue. These have included partnering with indie distributors to serve as portals for online rentals, renting themselves out for private, socially-distanced screenings, and selling concessions to go.