Portland used to be full of old-school movies playing on theaters' big screens. That's changed a lot in the past few years—first the McMenamins theaters went first-run, and just last month, the Laurelhurst followed suit. (A weird, wonky quirk of first-run film exhibition: In addition to helping determine ticket prices, film distributors can require theaters to show new movies a certain number of times per day—meaning that for first-run theaters, it can be hard to find room in the schedule for an old favorite or cult classic.)
Thankfully, Montavilla's second-run Academy Theater is doubling down on repertory screenings—this summer, they'll be offering not one but two older films each week.
At first, this seems like a response to the Laurelhurst going first-run and dropping some of their rep screenings. But the Academy's general manager, Dannon Dripps, says that's not the case.
"To be totally honest, we were planning on doubling up our repertory since last summer," he tells me. "Our repertory selections generally tend to have the biggest draw of anything we show during the summer months."
And while first-run blockbusters (like oh, we don't know) bring hordes of moviegoers to first-run multiplexes, those movies often lack staying power—meaning summer can be a dire time for second-run theaters.
"As any second-run programmer can tell you, the industry is feast or famine, and the summer is usually the latter, especially in the beginning," Dripps says. "We noticed that each week last summer we had a second-run title on our schedule that wasn’t bringing people in, be it an early release blockbuster that flopped, a mediocre indie film that people weren't particularly interested in, or a movie that was released in February or March that we're playing deep into the summer and is played out." By rifling through studios' back catalogs, Dripps says, "We are just adapting to the market and trying to bring people the things they want to see."
We've got a complete list below of the repertory bookings the Academy has planned for this summer, but highlights (AT LEAST ACCORDING TO ME) include Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Treasure of the Sierra Madre (on 35mm!), the original Godzilla, the Talking Heads classic Stop Making Sense, and Back to the Future Part II—which, given the fact that it's basically a dystopic cautionary tale in which Biff Tannen plays Donald Trump, is gonna be real interesting to watch in 2018.
The Academy isn't your only fix for older movies: As part of the Mercury's Summer Guide, Senior Editor Ned Lannamann has rounded up some other rep screenings (and the best theaters to hit when you're looking for AC), and, as always, the Mercury's Movie Times have you covered for everything that's playing in town until the heat-death of the universe.
In the meantime, here are the rep titles the Academy's planning to cram into your eyes this summer:
June 1-7 The Sound of Music (1965)
June 1-7 Back to the Future (1985)
June 8-14 Back to the Future Part II (1989)
June 8-14 The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)
June 15-21 Ghostbusters (1984)
June 15-21 Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1984)
June 22-28 Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)
June 22-28 Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)
June 29-July 5 Independence Day (1996)
June 29-July 5 E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (1982)
July 6-12 Raiders of the Lost Ark (1982)
July 6-12 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
July 13-19 Labyrinth (1986)
July 13-19 Treasure of the Sierra Madre on 35mm (1948)
July 20-26 Spirited Away (2001)
July 20-26 Jumanji (1995)
July 27-August 2 The Goonies (1985)
July 27-August 2 The Wizard of Oz on 35mm (1939)
August 3-9 Twister (1996)
August 3-9 The Last Unicorn (1982)
August 10-16 The Princess Bride (1987)
August 10-16 The Lord of the Rings (1978)
August 17-23 Godzilla (1954)
August 17-23 The NeverEnding Story (1984)
August 24-30 Men in Black (1997)
August 24-30 Stop Making Sense (1984)