One of the world’s largest movie theater chains is turning out the lights at an Oregon outlet following Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing last week.
Regal Sherwood posted a simple yet straightforward announcement on its website that the venue was going dark after tonight’s showings. On top of that, the online calendar that would normally allow you to preview and purchase tickets for future dates is inactive.
“Regal Sherwood will be closed as of Thursday, September 15,” the alert, framed by a bright-red box, read. “We hope you check out our Regal Bridgeport Village location.”
The recommended theater, which is several years newer than the one in Sherwood and nestled in the bustling Bridgeport Village shopping complex, is about 6 miles northeast in Tigard.
Regal Sherwood’s closure may not come as a surprise to anyone who’d been paying attention to recent announcements from Cineworld Group, Regal Cinemas’ owner. Movie theater operators have faced a sluggish recovery following a pandemic closure that kept their businesses locked tight for months. Some areas barred access to theaters multiple times throughout 2020 when COVID cased began to climb again, further hindering a bounce-back.
Cineworld, which is the world’s second-largest movie theater chain behind AMC Entertainment Holdings, appeared in bankruptcy court on Sept. 7 just one month after The Wall Street Journal reported that the company was preparing to file for Chapter 11 protection. Executives then issued an Aug. 17 statement that indicated they were looking at unspecified strategic options, since revenue at its box offices remained down this summer, despite the exclusive theatrical release of big-name, big-budget titles like Top Gun: Maverick and Jurassic World: Dominion.
Owners of movie houses both big and small had hoped audiences would come streaming back for blockbuster season in 2022 now that vaccines are widely available and most people seemed to be sick of sticking to activities within their own four walls. But ticket sales continued to lag behind 2019 totals by about 20 percent this summer.
The Wall Street Journal also reported that Cineworld is planning to end leases for 20 of its 505 U.S. venues, and more closures could follow. What that means for other Oregon Regals remains unclear.
Regal Sherwood opened about 20 years ago at the corner of Southwest Tualatin-Sherwood Road and Highway 99W. The plaza is home to a handful of retailers and restaurants—though it is nowhere near the size of nearby Bridgeport. But it was and still is Sherwood’s only movie theater.
In fact, until it began screening films, area moviegoers who were looking for a multiplex experience typically fought 99W traffic and its punishing series of red-light roadblocks to get to Regal Tigard, or the long-shuttered theater that used to occupy the plot where a shiny new Land Rover dealership now stands near Washington Square.
If you’re reading this before 8 pm on Sept. 14, you still have time to catch one final movie at Regal Sherwood, should it happen to be a sentimental site that was integral to your youth. Clerks III, Top Gun and Bullet Train are among the last films to be shown at that venue this evening.
Go ahead and get the extra-large tub of popcorn. It’s the only fitting way to mark the finale of what had been a pretty solid cinematic run.