Westgate 5 Theatre

3950 SW Cedar Hill Boulevard,
Beaverton, OR 97077

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Gundark
Gundark on April 8, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Back in the late 70s and early 80s, my brother and I used to take Tri-Met in to Beaverton to see movies at the Westgate because it was the nicest one in the area. At that time it was only three auditoriums — one large one to the right, and two smaller ones to the left. Later they renovated it and divided the large auditorium into three, for a total of five screens.

javert
javert on February 16, 2014 at 8:40 pm

I’d love to see photos of the inside of the theater back then, especially when Star Wars was there.

Coate
Coate on February 2, 2014 at 8:55 am

javert…

It was actually Richard Attenborough’s “Magic” that replaced “Star Wars.” “Superman” followed “Magic” a month later.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 12, 2013 at 2:50 am

Good history on the theatre,,,.

javert
javert on March 11, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Coate is correct. I remember seeing CEOTTK at the Eastgate, and Star Wars was at the Westgate for a long time. BTW I do remember that Superman was the movie that followed at the Westgate when Star Wars finally ended its run

rivest266
rivest266 on August 2, 2012 at 2:37 pm

August 16th, 1967 grand opening ad uploaded here.

Coate
Coate on March 28, 2010 at 1:03 pm

DavyDuck’s post of 8/21/07 was interesting. Something didn’t quite seem right, though, so this prompted me to go dig out some notes and newspaper ad photocopies. What I conclude is that the passage of time plays so many tricks on one’s memory!

<<< *We were to open “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” exclusive in Portland in the [Westgate’s] big auditorium – huge double-page ads were placed, and a line of about 1000 people were outside waiting for the first show – but the print had not arrived! * >>>

While it’s true that Columbia had booked “Close Encounters” at the Westgate (and even sued 20th Century-Fox and Luxury Theatres to try to get them to end their “Star Wars” run), ultimately, “CE3K” played crosstown at the Eastgate and a simultaneous booking at Moyer’s Town Center (no Cinema Treasures page created).

<<< *The problem: to hold onto Star Wars, it was contracted to play in the big auditorium, and moving it to a smaller theatre (even though it was only drawing small crowds) would violate the contract and end the run – and 20th Century Fox badly wanted our print back and to pull “Star Wars” from exhibition. * >>>

“Star Wars” couldn’t have been playing to that small a crowd because just a month earlier had upgraded to a 70mm print which increased their grosses. The film during its run consistently week after week exceeded the contract’s holdover amount, a clause that resulted in Columbia losing their lawsuit and allowing “Star Wars” to stay put at Westgate.

<<< Moments before opening the doors, the staff had to tell the crowd that the film would actually open across town at the Eastgate – and the crowd trashed the lobby. >>>

How would so many people have known to line up at Westgate when the newspaper ads from the day before and morning of the first day did not list Westgate as the theater scheduled to play the film??? Perhaps some of the confusion stems from the opening day ad claiming “CE3K” was playing at Rose Moyer?

It’s unclear to me from the ads I have if the film played at Rose Moyer for any part of its run. By the film’s second week the ad confusion appears to have been cleared up and the film was promoted as playing simultaneously at both Eastgate and Town Center.

<<< Strangely, a few days later, we were indeed playing “Close Encounters” in the big house, and “Star Wars” ended it’s run. >>>

Not true! “Star Wars” stayed put at Westgate and, in fact, played there all the way through autumn of 1978, a U.S. record of 76 weeks. And the reason it played there for so long, including nine weeks after all other prints in the country were pulled, is due in large part to the “CE3K” lawsuit.

jmillar
jmillar on January 4, 2010 at 9:29 pm

That picture is definitely the site of the old Westgate Theater. I cut across it daily as a short cut to the Beaverton Central Max stop.

The final nail in the coffin for Westgate was the opening of the Century 16 cinema only 2-3 blocks away in the fall of 2005. Westgate’s final night was November 20, 2005 and is was demolished later in April 2006.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on May 1, 2009 at 9:36 am

I think this aerial photo shows the location of the now razed Westgate Theater:
http://www.westgatesale.com/

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 19, 2007 at 4:55 pm

Plans were for a road to go through the site as of 2/06, according to this page. As the first poster pointed out, the theater is now gone:
http://tinyurl.com/2pco99

DavyDuck
DavyDuck on August 23, 2007 at 2:26 pm

Corrections to above: I worked at the Westgate 1977-1978, and “Animal House” wasn’t yet playing in the small theatre when I arrived, it came later. Being 30 years hence, my memory is only a little foggy! I have some photos, when that feature is back up, I will post. The tales I could tell of this place, what a way to run a theatre business. If anyone’s interested I could write a book.

DavyDuck
DavyDuck on August 21, 2007 at 9:59 am

I worked at the Westgate 1976-1977. It was originally built by Tom Moyer as a super-luxury twin, as was the sister Eastgate Theatre across town. When I got there, Star Wars was in the 950 seat auditorium and was selling out nearly every night. The smaller (original) auditorium had about 400 seats, and the added third auditorium, which did not match the other two comfort-wise, had about 350 seats. The big auditorium had a huge curved screen, gold-colored curtains all around, and plush rocking seats. The sound system was 6 track Dolby surround (Crown amps, Altec “voice of the theatre” speakers), the projectors were 35/70 mm (I think Century). The smaller two auditoriums had flat screens, mono sound, 35 mm Ballantyne projector with platter. The newest auditorium had very cheap seats, no curtains, and was unpleasant. It was showing “Animal House” on my arrival there. The original decor was nice – heavy wood/leather auditorium doors, gold-flecked wallpaper in the lobby, huge chandeliers, and woodsy-looking wall sconces. The exterior was plain painted concrete block, not exactly eye-appealing considering the effort made inside. There was an apartment upstairs for the janitorial family, and they were expected to work 7 days a week or arrange their own relief, as I remember.

Unfortunately, nearly no money was spent maintaining this beautiful place, so it declined in elegance quickly – especially considering the crowds that were coming through the doors. The rumor was that nearly all monies were spent by the owner to prevent the best films from being played by his rival – his own brother who owned a separate theatre company in Portland.

It’s true that the longest run of Star Wars in the USA happened here, and I remember an occasional tour bus of viewers coming in from Seattle. An oddity during the same period that I’ll try to describe: We were to open “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” exclusive in Portland in the big auditorium – huge double-page ads were placed, and a line of about 1000 people were outside waiting for the first show – but the print had not arrived! The problem: to hold onto Star Wars, it was contracted to play in the big auditorium, and moving it to a smaller theatre (even though it was only drawing small crowds) would violate the contract and end the run – and 20th Century Fox badly wanted our print back and to pull “Star Wars” from exhibition. Besides, we had only the 70mm print, which couldn’t run in the smaller auditoriums, and there was no chance of Fox giving us a 35 mm print. But “Close Encounters” of course was contracted to play in the big house in 70mm with 6 track Dolby sound as well! Moments before opening the doors, the staff had to tell the crowd that the film would actually open across town at the Eastgate – and the crowd trashed the lobby. Strangely, a few days later, we were indeed playing “Close Encounters” in the big house, and “Star Wars” ended it’s run.

droben
droben on July 2, 2007 at 11:20 am

The Westgate and the Westgate 5 are the same theaters. The original triplex was completely gutted sometime in the early 90s when it was operated by ACT III and reconfigured into a five-plex. The only similarities between the Westgate and the Westgate 5 were the outside walls.

Coate
Coate on July 2, 2007 at 10:45 am

The WESTGATE is famous for hosting the country’s longest-running engagement of “Star Wars,” which ran from May 25, 1977-Nov. 7, 1978, a total of 76 continuous weeks.

I’m glad someone finally added a page here for the WESTGATE as I mentioned the theatre a few weeks ago in this Star Wars 30th anniversary post but was unable to provide a courtesy link to it as I did with many of the other venues mentioned.

decoteau
decoteau on July 1, 2007 at 5:08 pm

The theatre was demolished