**Editor’s note: This story will appear in the Emerald’s “Back to the Books” edition, available Monday in locations throughout Eugene.**
When you’re in a new city, the first thing you’ve got to do is locate the essentials. Where are you going to grab a morning latte? What’s the first stop for late-night eats? Most importantly, what theater will be serving up your weekend entertainment for the next few years? The Eugene area is dense with choices for cinephiles, all a short walk or bus ride away from campus. Here’s a guide to theaters in the area, along with which ones will best fit your needs.
Regal Valley River Center Stadium 15
Located in the Valley River Center shopping mall, this Regal-branded multiplex is your typical big city movie experience. The theater features expensive tickets, costly popcorn and more screens than you can shake a stick at. It also boasts the only IMAX screen in the area, an important consideration for bigger event blockbusters.
Pros: More screens equals more options. No matter your taste, it’s inevitable that something good is playing at VRC.
Cons: Regal’s recent policy shift now instructs ticket takers to check all bags, meaning it’s a poor place to consider sneaking in snacks (or a nice drink).
It’s hard to tell from the active construction happening outside, but there’s still some ongoing business inside the Gateway Mall. Cinemark 17 is a solid little multiplex in the back of Springfield’s mall, surviving on a healthy customer base of local movie fans. For students, it’s worth the 20-minute EmX ride.
Pros: A matinee ticket on weekdays is just $4.50. Even a ticket for an evening weekend show at Cinemark 17 will run you less than VRC’s cheapest matinee. Those are savings that definitely add up over a stacked movie season.
Cons: The facilities aren’t anywhere near as lavish as VRC and lack the indie charm of a local cinema.
Bijou Arts Cinemas & Bijou Metro
This local chain is a must-visit for independent movie fans. The location at 492 E. 13th Ave. presides in a repurposed church, making for a wholly unique theater experience. Meanwhile, Bijou Metro at 43 W. Broadway trades the antique aesthetic for a densely packed web of smaller screening rooms loaded with unique titles from across the world. Even fans of mainstream cinema should keep an eye on the Bijou. Paramount Studios has been known to host advance screenings out of the theater.
Pros: It has a unique selection of smaller films that you just won’t see anywhere else.
Cons: Both theaters are rather slow to rotate their selection.
The David Minor Theater
A hometown favorite, the David Minor Theater has been providing cold brews alongside hot flicks for years. Doubling as a pub, the food here features grub from restaurants across the street and will put your usual multiplex nachos to shame. Local brews — including Ninkasi, Sam Bonds and Wildcraft cider — are often on tap. Prices are also the lowest in town, with $2 tickets on Sundays and Tuesdays. All ages are welcomed before 7 p.m., with a $1 student discount.
Pros: Couches and chairs make for an intimate, welcoming experience. The relaxed atmosphere makes it feel like a living room watch party rather than a standard theater experience. You’ll find cheap tickets and great eats.
Cons: Selection is typically limited to second-run mainstream flicks several months after initial release, and some indies.