In case you haven't heard, downtown's Cinerama theater (owned by Paul Allen's mighty Vulcan Inc.—kneel before our pudgy overlord!) reopened its doors last week after a great big fancy overhaul. The renovations include a new screen, a new marquee, a remodeled interior, digital and 3-D capabilities, and new management by the name of Greg Wood, who runs the Roseway Theater in Portland. Erik Henriksen, my esteemed counterpart at the Portland Mercury, calls the Roseway "the best movie theater I've ever been in." Back in August, Henriksen e-mailed me to heap praise upon this Wood person:
He took an old theater, gorgeously renovated it, stuck in the best digital picture and sound I've experienced, and kept it all independent. It gets first-run movies on opening dates, but he sells concessions at non-rapey prices, hires charming teenagers to work there, and generally runs a hell of an outfit.
WELL. After months of renovations, the new Cinerama is finally open—so is it as gorgeously kick-ass as the Roseway? Is it a "hell of an outfit?" WHAT OF THE RAPINESS?! I chatted with Wood about the opening weekend.
Wood: We're open! Yahoo! We survived the weekend! We sold out a bunch of shows, no problem—everyone seems to be really happy, and things are great. The quality of our screen and our sound are just amazing, and we're constantly hearing, "Okay, we're never going to IMAX again." So that's fun to hear.
Me: SHUT UP. TELL ME ABOUT THE FOOD.
Wood: Well, probably the first thing everyone notices is the price. We have $2 bags of popcorn and $2 sodas. People probably think that means a Dixie cup of Coke and like two kernels of popcorn, but it's not like that! We have traditional popcorn, plus we figured out how to make fresh-popped chocolate popcorn, which is kind of exciting. People come in and they're like, "Whoa, it smells like brownies!" And we're like, "No, it's popcorn!"
Me: Sounds like kind of a dick move to me. Why are you so anti-brownie, Greg? Just what do you have to hide?
Wood: We also have cupcakes from Cupcake Royale, Theo chocolate bars, Caffe Vita coffee, Pez dispensers, and, of course, traditional candy...
Me: Zzzzzzzzzzzzz. Any vomiting yet? Who vomited?
Wood: The only two snags we had in the opening weekend were during the midnight show—there were two people who did not handle their alcoholic beverages and required some EMT assistance. They were a little too excited about Harry Potter.
Me: I know the feeling. I'm barfing right now just thinking about those sexy little wizards.
Me: So what's next?
Wood: Well, we want to do some 70 mm festivals, maybe something grittier like a Godzilla festival, and on December 17 we're definitely going to open Tron. That will be our first 3-D movie. We actually have the original Tron costume on display in the lobby, along with some stuff from Austin Powers and The Matrix.
Me: What about the charming teenagers? Are they hot?
Wood: They're young adults. They're a great staff. I have to go now.