On October 11, the Hollywood Theatre launched a $250,000 Kickstarter campaign to purchase Movie Madness, the Sunnyside neighborhood’s world-class video store. On October 20, just nine days into the campaign, the nonprofit theater announced that their goal had been reached and added a “stretch goal” of an additional $100,000 to fund the construction of a screening room at the Southeast Portland shop.
Mike Clark, owner of the store, is ready to retire at age 71 and offered the theater a unique opportunity to purchase the business and his collection of more than 80,000 movies. Clark’s inventory is one of the largest physical collections in the world and includes more than twice as many titles as streaming services Amazon, Netflix and Hulu offered in 2016 – combined. Netflix currently streams only 43 movies made before 1970.
“In acquiring Movie Madness, we’re not trying to save a dying business model,” said Doug Whyte, the Hollywood Theatre’s executive director. “We’re trying to help it evolve by rethinking the role it plays in the community. We see this as a natural extension of our mission to preserve and promote the art of film in Portland. There are compelling reasons why our communities should preserve physical media archives. We’ll keep it in the current location for the foreseeable future and operate it as a nonprofit, adding a screening room, member benefits, and amenities like beer and wine.”
The purchase price of $250,000 is less than half the appraised value of Clark’s collection and does not include the store’s legendary memorabilia museum. Clark will continue to loan his prop collection to the store for display as part of the purchase agreement and will retain ownership of the building, which he will lease back to the theater.
The theater will work with community partners to explore new ways for the business to evolve and better serve the community. The nonprofit Free Geek is already on board to provide VHS and Blu-Ray players for sale, and a $90,000 grant has been secured from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation to cover the first two years of operating expenses.
“If we succeed, we will incorporate Movie Madness into our nonprofit and transform this beloved institution into a sustainable nonprofit,” said Whyte. “If we fail, Movie Madness will close and the collection will be sold.”
The 30-day Kickstarter campaign will end on Nov. 10.
For more information or to contribute to the Kickstarter, visit www.hollywoodtheatre.org/moviemadness.