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Scott Radke

We're starting to get a better idea of what Portland's newest movie theater will look like. And sound like.

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Eagle-eyed Mercury readers will remember that we've been trying to figure out what's going on with the construction at Southeast 39th and Powell foreverall the way back in April, I mentioned a building permit that noted plans for a "new theater" with "7 theater rooms" at the location. That permit was filed by C2K Architecture, a firm that’s previously worked on three different locations for Cinetopia, a high-end theater and restaurant chain with several locations just outside of Portland, but none in the city proper.

Over the past year, multiple emails and calls from the Mercury to Cinetopia have gone unanswered—even as a sign for "Studio One Theaters" went up on Powell, and even as construction started to look like it was wrapping up. Meanwhile, a listing for "VCE Theaters" at the location started popping up on Dolby's website, which indicated the forthcoming theater would have Dolby Atmos, a super high-end sound system.

But now, a few job postings have given us a much clearer idea of what Studio One Theaters will offer.

While a job posting for a dishwasher offers some info, it's a job posting for an entry-level manager at Studio One that offers a lot more, starting with the news it'll be a "first run multiplex movie theater / dining experience"—which sounds a whole lot like Cinetopia.

Studio One Theaters will feature the latest first and market state of the art technologies including 4K Laser Projection, Advanced 3D and 128 channel Dolby ATMOS sound. Studio One Theaters will also feature a multitude of unique first of their kind entertainment venues including: Seven (7) Penthouse Theaters, each featuring custom luxurious furnishings and full to your seat restaurant service. A farm to table world cuisine sit down restaurant featuring over 50 wines by the glass, 12 beers on tap and a full cocktail menu. (Via.)

The big news there—at least for Portland's cinephiles—is the sound and picture stuff. As far as I know, those laser projectors will be the first of their kind in Portland (laser projection is kind of a big deal, and if I'm not mistaken, the only theatrical laser projector in the region is at Seattle's Cinerama. UPDATE: Nope! I was mistaken! See below.) And Dolby's immersive Atmos sound system is only available at a few Portland-area theaters—OMSI's Empirical Theater and Cinetopia's Vancouver Mall location.

Given the size of the location and the number of auditoriums, it's a good bet Studio One's "penthouse theaters" aren't going to be giant—I'd imagine something along the lines of Cinetopia's swanky "movie parlor" or "living room" auditoriums, or maybe the auditoriums at downtown's Living Room Theaters. If Studio One's sound and picture end up being as good as one would expect from both laser projection and Atmos, Portland might have a new destination theater for high-end film presentation.

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Scott Radke

The location will also offer also something a little... unexpected, according to that job listing: An onsite "intimate live music recording and broadcasting venue" with "a first of its kind immersive multi-media stage, and a variety of social media streaming technologies." Okay!

Still up in the air are the two things people are probably the most curious about: When the theaters are opening (I've heard rumors via the film nerd-o-sphere that they've been aiming for Christmas, but that seems... soon) and what kind of films they'll be showing (if Cinetopia is any indication, it'll likely be mainstream fare of blockbusters and family films). Once we have more info, we'll keep you in the loop.

UPDATE, MON DEC 17: Living Room Theaters CEO Steve Herring was kind enough to correct us on the whole no-laser projectors-in-Portland thing, letting us know that the Living Room "has had two 4K laser projectors installed at our location in downtown for the majority of the year." Meanwhile, Blogtown reader Thomas heroically pointed us toward the Portland Auditor's Office, which has a slew of plans for Studio One Theaters, many of which confirm the information above.

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