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Regal Bridgeport Village Stadium 18 & IMAX

The Theater: Regal Bridgeport Village Stadium 18 & IMAX

7329 SW Bridgeport Road, Tigard, OR

Now Playing:

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (in 2D, 3D and 3D IMAX)
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon (in 2D and 3D)
  • Horrible Bosses
  • Zookeeper
  • Larry Crowne
  • Bad Teacher
  • Cars 2
  • Super 8
  • X-Men: First Class
  • The Hangover Part II
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Bridesmaids

The Regal Bridgeport 18 & IMAX isn’t just a multiplex. It’s a multiplex on steroids.

Looking at the above list, you’ve probably guessed that this theater is nothing but 18 screens of pure mainstream Hollywood entertainment. Yet their method of film selection is quite interesting. Because this theater has so many screens to go around, they can afford to keep films around for longer than most other theaters can. Bridesmaids debuted two months ago, for God’s sake. On the other hand, this theater was playing Green Lantern and Mr. Popper’s Penguins when I last came by, both of which are notably absent from today’s roster. Good to know that there’s a measure of quality control here.

Also, notice that the theater is playing the last Harry Potter movie in 3D IMAX. The Bridgeport 18 is the only place in all of Portland where you’ll find that option.

Except for the OMNIMAX — which only plays educational documentaries at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry — the Bridgeport 18 claims the only IMAX screen in the Portland area. Unfortunately, it’s only one of those IMAX-licensed screens that isn’t actually 70 feet tall, ostensibly due to IMAX’s recent format conversion to digital. Still, the screen is more than large enough and the sound system is as good as it gets, so it’s still the best we’ve got for Hollywood’s purposes.

More About the Place: Regrettably, the management requested that I delete my photos of the interior. Losing those pictures was a real heartbreaker because this theater is gorgeous. Its design is credited to BBA Architects LP, a company based in Texas, of all places. They have some experience in the renovation and preservation of historic buildings, which certainly goes a way toward explaining some of the theater’s more fanciful touches.

The main lobby is huge and open, surrounded by pillars below a panoramic mural. Every screen entrance is bordered by pillars and arches. At the time of my most recent visit, the pillars next to the IMAX theater door were decorated by surprisingly detailed paintings of Super 8, the IMAX film du jour. Even without the IMAX screen, this amazing architectural beauty — combined with the building’s monumental size — would be more than enough to set it apart from other theaters in Portland. Yet Regal won’t let me share it with you. Not that I’m bitter about it or anything.

Anyway, the theater’s enormous lobby comes in very handy during huge theatrical events. For such occasions, the management rigs up a labyrinth of barriers so that ticket holders can wait in line inside the theater. Yes, the lobby really is big enough to house a hundred people standing in line. Plus an arcade. Can’t forget the arcade that’s inside.

The Bridgeport 18 opened in June of 2005 and it claims to be the largest in the state. I believe that. The IMAX screen is pretty darn big and the non-IMAX screens here are only slightly smaller. This theater has 18 ginormous screens, each with the capacity to seat hundreds. Everything about this theater is big and beautiful.

Also in the Area: Okay, I know this isn’t technically in the Portland city limits. In fact, it’s built right on the spot where Tigard, Lake Oswego, Tualatin and Durham all meet. Those towns are all part of the Portland metro area, so I’m counting it. However, the theater is located in a particularly commercial part of the Portland metro area, with very little in the way of notable landmarks. There’s only one such place near the theater, but it’s a doozy.

Welcome to the Bridgeport Village.

This place has it all: Copious parking spaces, valet service, a playground, a water fountain and a fire fountain, amid roughly 100 different stores, kiosks and fancy restaurants. This open-air mall was designed by the Berger Partnership, a Seattle firm responsible for several buildings in Washington state and for tons of Nordstrom buildings across the country. Shortly after Bridgeport Village opened, Berger won an International Council of Shopping Centers Design and Development Award for their work. Just as well, because this really is a beautiful place.

Personal Memories: Admittedly, I don’t go to the Bridgeport 18 very often. The Lloyd Center 10 is more than good enough for my mainstream Hollywood needs, and it’s much easier to get to from where I live. Moreover, if I’m going to pay an IMAX premium, I expect a true IMAX experience with a truly all-encompassing screen. Nevertheless, I still have two outstanding memories of this theater.

First is that I came here for the Tron: Legacy sneak preview. Even if the full movie turned out to be a colossal disappointment, I wouldn’t have guessed it back then. It was a great time, and everyone at Regal and Disney did a fine job of keeping us hyped and the event running smoothly. A pity more people didn’t show up in costume, though.

Second is the big one: This is where I first saw Watchmen. It was a midnight premiere and I was in attendance with some friends and a couple hundred other geeks. Best of all, it was playing on the IMAX screen. Even if the screen wasn’t up to full IMAX size, I can still remember watching the apocalyptic dream sequence with that great, booming sound system. It would’ve been an amazing movie experience in its own right, but my tremendous emotional connection with the film made it an event I won’t soon forget.

It’s true that there are other multiplexes closer to downtown Portland and the IMAX screen may not be worth the extra cash. Still, the theater and its mall are worth checking out on their own, if only because of how beautiful they are. Moreover, I’ll always have two memories of this theater that are so special and important to me that I just couldn’t do the tour without a stop here.

P.S. Once again, credit is due to Robbie Arrington, marketing manager for Regal Entertainment, who agreed to an interview for this article.

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