• Movie Theaters set the stage for Oscar-worthy events

    FROM THE Winter 2016 ISSUE
  • Movie Theaters set the stage for Oscar-worthy events

    FROM THE Winter 2016 ISSUE
  • Movie Theaters set the stage for Oscar-worthy events

    FROM THE Winter 2016 ISSUE
  • Movie Theaters set the stage for Oscar-worthy events

    FROM THE Winter 2016 ISSUE

Looking for a two-thumbs-up for your next meeting or event? You might want to consider a movie theater as your venue. The large screen and comfy seats provide a unique setting suited to professional and celebratory gatherings. Here are a few movie theater venue options from around the Northwest.

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
CAPACITY: 14 auditoriums with 65 to 300 seats each; 1,855 seats total

The Riverstone has been open since 2005, but the Regal Entertainment Group has planned meetings and events for 13 years through its dedicated meetings and events division, which works with event planners and meetings professionals to coordinate events. Clients have access to high-end customized catering, full audio-video services, furniture, event staffing, signage, marketing tools and even a red carpet. Recently, a national insurance company used the space for a series of PowerPoint presentations on new product offerings for clients, followed by a screening of Jurassic World. “With the changing landscape of technology, content and media, businesses need a compelling place to showcase their content to employees, clients, prospects and the like,” says Barry Brown, director of national sales and strategic sales channels for Regal Entertainment Group. “There is no other place like a movie theater that is more suited to showcase content in the best format with the greatest picture and sound quality.” 

Seattle, Washington
CAPACITY: 550-seat theater, plus a lobby with room for 160 people

“Cinerama is one of the most recognized theaters in the country,” says Director of Operations Greg Wood. In addition to showing movies, Cinerama (owned by Seattle philanthropist Paul Allen) has hosted a wide range of events, including a town hall discussion with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and corporate events featuring PowerPoint presentations. The restored screen showcases impressive technology, including laser projections and Dolby Atmos surround-sound audio. Bigger chairs and more legroom are available, and concessions from Tom Douglas are on offer along with beer and wine. Beyond the technology and other amenities, the theater offers planners thoughtful and attentive customer service: Wood says events are planned well in advance, leaving little room for error. After having a fantastic event experience, he says, attendees will no doubt want to return to Cinerama to see movies.

Anchorage, Alaska
CAPACITY: 70-seat dining area and a 400-seat theater

“For many events, we are a one-stop shop,” says Special Events Coordinator Mike Jipping. “We are located centrally in midtown Anchorage, and we have a clean, well-lit and comfortable community environment where you can invite guests, set up your info/events table in the foyer, hook up your laptop for presentations and offer fresh gourmet food and craft beverages.” The theater has hosted business presentations, nonprofit seminars, concerts and debates, and its newly remodeled lobby, theater (with balcony and main-floor seating) and casual dining area provide diverse event space options. The Bear Tooth Grill is also available for rent. In the theater, the seats in every other row have been replaced with tables, which corporate event attendees can use for taking notes or laying out meeting materials. Freshly prepared food, wine and draft beer are available for consumption inside the theater. For attendees under the age of 21, all-ages seating is available and everything except alcohol can be ordered.

Vancouver, British Columbia
CAPACITY: 250 in the atrium and 170 in the theater

With a client list that includes Vancouver Enterprise Forum, Knowledge Network and The Vancouver Board of Trade, and experience hosting events for nonprofits, media launches and corporate presentations, the Vancity Theatre has plenty to offer the events scene. “We have a beautiful, well-appointed theater with impeccable tech, the most comfortable seats in town and a large, open atrium space ideal for receptions,” notes Tom Charity, Film Centre’s programmer and rentals manager. Conveniently located downtown, the theater can serve alcohol and allows outside catering (it does not generally provide inhouse catering). A few planning essentials to know: There is a single screen, and evenings book up to three months in advance, so plan ahead. Because of the theater’s programming, the venue is best for daytime and midweek events. Friday and Saturday nights are not typically available.

Portland, Oregon
CAPACITY: Three auditoriums ranging in size from 65 to 130 seats; one party room that can accommodate 26 guests seated, plus standing room

The original Academy Theater hails back to 1947, but its current incarnation has been open for almost 10 years. In addition to film festivals and premieres, the theater offers space for birthday parties for children and adults (with on-site child care and a children’s play room). Regular menu items include pizza, salads, sushi and kombucha, plus beer and wine. For events with a movie in their program, the Academy Theater offers a combination of mainstream, independent, classic and family-friendly films. Events can be booked any time, including weekends, and the theater offers special rates for off-hours, such as earlymorning meetings. There is no stage, PA system or lighting, but event coordinators are able to bring in their own tech. “Sound travels well in the theater, and a PA is typically not necessary for short Q&A sessions,” says General Manager Dannon Dripps.

Mark your calendars: The Emerging Sales Professionals Association will host its sixth professional development symposium for sales professionals of publicly owned or operated convention and meeting venues on May 3, 2017, at the Meydenbauer Convention Center in Bellevue, Wash. The symposium, called ESP6, will co-locate with the International Association of Venue Managers Region IV Conference.


We spend so much time planning and organizing conferences, conventions and workshops that help others network, strengthen their leadership skills and learn about industry best practices, that sometimes we neglect to treat ourselves to the same opportunities. Well, the World Trade Center Seattle has announced its 2017 professional panel series that—although not specifically targeted toward meeting and event planners and hospitality experts—will certainly provide you with valuable insight and inspiration from some of our region’s most notable business leaders.


The Metro Toronto Convention Centre announced that its South Building is undergoing a $23 million renovation and modification, which will include 10 new meeting rooms, offering an additional 13,000 square feet of event space. Tvsdesigns and IA Interior Architects will guide the renovation, projected to complete in early 2018.