We are excited to announce that beginning April 13th, The Laurelhurst Theater will offer first run films. This change will mean that instead of having to wait months to see new releases at the Laurelhurst, you'll be able to see them when they first come out. No more waiting for films that everyone is talking about. You'll get to see the movies you want to see, when you want to see them.
We'll still have the same great varied selection of films that we currently offer; from blockbusters and independent films, to arthouse and special repertory titles, with the same eye for terrific cinema. When we were first lucky enough to take the helm of this 94 year old theater in 1999, admission was $3 and the equipment just barely worked. Netflix was delivering DVDs in the mail, digital streaming was nonexistent, and if it you didn't make it to Movie Madness before happy hour you'd be out of luck on that new video release. Now you can download new release films before we can even show them at the Laurelhurst. While we'll always have an affinity for our time as a 2nd run venue, we're excited to make this change to adapt to the realities of the present.
In addition to showing first run films, we'll also be offering matinees seven days a week. Minors will be allowed when accompanied by a parent or guardian for shows starting before 7:30. Online ticketing will be available as well, with no assigned seating so you can still choose who you sit next to. All of this in upgraded auditoriums, with new seats in two of the four auditoriums, a sparkling revamped ladies' room, and general admission ticket pricing rivaling matinee prices at larger theaters. And of course concessions will still be the best deal in town.
$9 General Admission
$6.5 Seniors & Children
$6 Matinees (shows starting before 5:30)
$6 Terrific Tuesdays (all shows $6)
We’re looking forward to bringing back first run movies to the Laurelhurst, our neighborhood and our City. The Laurelhurst Theater hasn’t been a first run theater since 1979! We are so excited to see what the next 19 years will bring!
Thank you for your past support and we're committed to being the place you want to see a movie in the future.
Update: April 11, 2018
This last week has proven to us that we have the most passionate customers that a business could ask for!
We have received many questions and concerns and we want to be clear, we love the Laurelhurst Theater as much as you do. The last 19 years have been amazing and we could not have asked for more support.
We realize that this change is hard for some and it’s been very difficult for us as well. Our goal is to be able to keep a successful theater open in the neighborhood. Part of that is recognizing that we have to change to keep up with the times. We have spent 19 years creating a fun, comfortable neighborhood theater and we could not have done it without the support of everyone. If we could keep doing what we have been doing for another 19 years we would.
We wanted to answer some of the most frequently asked questions and let you know we appreciate your comments and concerns. Your responses, both positive and negative, show us how much you care. We are grateful that the Laurelhurst Theater matters to you. You matter to us as well.
Q & A:
Can you show both 1st and 2nd run movie titles?
No. Studios do not allow for a combination of pricing structures of 1st and 2nd run movies at the same location. We are required to have one pricing structure. If we did have second run movies in addition to first run, we would be required to charge the same price that we are charging for first run. Theaters can not charge 2nd run prices for 1st run films.
Couldn't the Laurelhurst just increase ticket prices for 2nd run?
We could, but that does not change the fact that our attendance has been decreasing. Charging more for the same older movie is not going to bring in more customers. All of the movies that we are showing right now have been out for over a month on streaming services and Blu-Ray. While some customers do not mind waiting, our attendance reflects that more and more people are watching movies before we get them. We want to continue to be a movie theater and by showing first run films it gives us the best opportunity to keep this building as a theater.
Are you keeping your repertory titles?
Yes. We’ve shown close to 1000 repertory movies over the last 19 years and it’s part of who we are. Since we’ll not be able to lower ticket prices for these films, we’re working on ways to bring them back and to have incentives to make up for the higher ticket price. Look for us to resume repertory films in the coming weeks.
Has business slowed down?
Starting about six years ago our attendance peaked and has been decreasing every year since.
How are you going to be different from any other First run theater?
By being true to who we are in the variety of the films that we play, maintaining the value of our concessions, and how we treat our customers. We’re not going away, we’re just getting better.
Why $9, and how did you determine that price?
To get first run movies we are charging the lowest amount the studios will allow in order to have first run movies.
We are able to offer:
$9 General Admission
$6.5 Seniors, Students & Children
$6 Daily Matinees (shows starting before 5:30).
$6 Terrific Tuesdays (all shows $6)
How many different movies will you show every week?
This will vary week by week. As a first run theater studios typically require their movies play in their own auditorium at all available show times. Typically we’ll show 4 movies a week, occasionally we’ll have 5 or 6 depending on specific requirements from the studios.
Have we sold the business?
We have not and have no intention of selling. The same two guys, Portland born and raised, that started the Laurelhurst in 2000 still own all of the business.
Are we getting kick backs from the Studios?
Going first run has been our decision as a reaction to the continued decline in attendance. No movie Studio or other entity has offered us any incentive to make this change.
Is this just a money grab?
This is a way to hopefully stay in business.
Thank you for your support over the years and we hope to keep seeing you at the movies.
Here’s some press coverage:
A Laurelhurst Theater Gift card is a great gift for the movie enthusiast. Gift cards can be used for both admission movie tickets and concession items. Proceed to the secure check out and we will mail the gift card anywhere you would like.