Hollywood Theatre’s odyssey to 70mm at an end

The Hollywood Theatre will debut its 70mm projection capabilities with a screening of Stanley Kubrick’s infamous 2001: A Space Odyssey on March 2.

The 70 mm format reached its peak in the ’60s and ’70s with the distribution of big films like Lawrence of Arabia and 2001.

The difference between 70mm and the more traditional 35mm film can be boiled down to greater aspect ratio and higher resolution. Many film enthusiasts consider 70mm to be the best movie viewing experience available.

Unfortunately, due to the high costs of screening 70mm, its popularity fell on a decline.

Decades before, The Hollywood Theatre did screen 70mm film, but the projectors stopped working and certain parts of those projectors vanished. However, when current head programmer Dan Halsted arrived, he made it his mission to bring 70mm back to the Hollywood Theatre.

“70mm film is the best way to experience a movie,” Halsted said. “It has the highest resolution, it’s bright and has the highest aspect ratio.”

The experience is very important to Halsted.

“Film has an effect on people,” Halsted said. “Some don’t think it matters. Being someone who programs and watches movies, it engages the human mind in a different way than digital does.”

Over the past couple years, Halsted spent much of his time trying to find the correct parts. Some of them were found from film collectors, technicians in Portland and even on eBay.
A fundraiser that Hollywood Theatre held last year allowed them to purchase all of the parts and even allowed for some extra purchases.

With this rerelease, Hollywood Theatre will be the only theater in Oregon to screen 70mm and one of the few theaters on the West Coast to do so, according to Halsted.
Kubrick’s 2001 was originally shot in 70mm.

“Of the few that were shot in it, it is probably the best movie,” Halsted said. “It is just such an experience in the theater.”

Portland residents are so excited for this moment in local history that all three show times sold out shortly after tickets became available.