"Theatres of San Francisco" Now Available - Presents History of S.F. Cinemas

New Mission Theatre Update


2013 Update

Current plans for the New Mission call for the Theatre to be re-opened after an extensive renovation late in 2013. The plan for the New Mission is a huge Victory the Theater Foundation which worked with Save the New Mission to defeat plans to demolish the New Mission Theatre in 2003. The current Alamo Drafthouse plan for the New Mission will return the overwhelming majority of the Theatre to its former glory while also providing all the requisite ammenities of a modern theatre.

2010 Update

The New Mission continues to sit vacant as the theatre owner/developer's plans to build housing on an adhacent site have been stalled. Gus Murad purcahsed the New Mission from City College of San Francisco in 2004/2005 and he plans to redevelop the New Mission while also building housing on an adjacent site. Gus has committed to preserving the New Mission and returning it to active use as an entertainment venue.

6/1/04 Update

On May 18th, 2004 the San Francisco Board of Supervisors acted to officially designate the New Mission Theatre as City Landmark #245!

3/5/04 Update

The New Mission Theatre looks to be on it's way to becoming San Francisco Landmark No. 245. On March 5, 2004 the San Francisco Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend landmark status for the New Mission to the Board of Supervisors who must vote on the recommendation within 90 days. Landmark designation is expected in May! The Theater Foundation is working with Save the New Mission and the prospective new owner of the New Mission to develop a vision for theatre's future.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the New Mission Theatre (1916) is one of San Francisco's most underappreciated and least-known landmarks. The ornate, 2,800-seat theatre was originally designed by the Reid Brothers and was later remodelled by Timothy Pflueger (architect of Oakland's Paramount Theatre). The theatre was closed in 1993, but the New Mission's prominent red marquee still looms large over Mission Street.

The New Mission was owned by City College of San Francisco (CCSF) and was sold to Gus Murad who plans to redevelop the New Mission while also building housing on an adjacent site. Gus has committed to preserving the New Mission and returning it to active use as an entertainment venue. In addition to the risk associated with the back-up offer ultimately being accepted, there is also risk associated with the fact that the existing tenant of the property may be able to exercise a right of first refusal clause in his lease to purchase the property. This clause could lead to the acquisition of the New Mission Theatre by individuals who are not interested in preservation. It should be noted, however, that legislation has been introduced at the Board of Supervisors to obtain local landmark status for the New Mission Theatre to provide further protection for the property (which is already listed on the National Register of Historic Places). We'll obviously be staying on top of this situation as things move forward!

Click on image for larger view.


View Historic Photos of the New Mission Theatre



Bridge Theatre Update

The Bridge Theatre (1939) closed at the end of 2013 and is being offered for sale by the longtime property owners. The Theater Foundation is currently exploring the feasibility of purchasing the Bridge or partnering with other organizations to keep reopen the Bridge and preserve it as a theatre.

Balboa Theatre Update

The S.F. Neighborhood Theater Foundation finalized an agreement to lease the Balboa through 2024 starting in the fall of 2011. The Foundation partners with CinemaSF to operate the Balboa and is engaged in numerous upgrades to the theatre Read the Press Release.

Presidio Theatre Update

4-Star Theatre operator Frank Lee re-opened the Presidio in early 2005. The new theatre includes 3 auditoriums and a screening room. The large downstairs auditorium features the original theatre's large screen. The two upstairs auditoriums are generously sized with each featuring stadium seating for approximately 100. Check out this Chronicle story for early information about plans for the Presidio.

4-Star Theatre Update

2006 UPDATE

The Four Star Theatre has been saved. Operators Frank and Lida Lee have purchased the 4-Star and will continue to operate it as a theatre! For More information check out this article

2004/2005 UPDATE

The owners of the 4-Star Theatre property have informed 4-Star operator Frank Lee that they do not plan to renew Lee's lease when it expires in May of 2005. The Theater Foundation is working with the Planning Association of the Richmond (PAR) and local merchants to try to find a way to preserve the 4-Star as a theatre. A meeting with the property owners is expected to occur in September. Check out this Chronicle story about the future of the 4-Star. You can also sign Frank Lee's petition urging the preservation of the 4-Star as a theatre.

Cinema 21 Update

April 2008 Update

The historic Marina Theatre re-opened to the public on Friday, May 2, 2008. The premiere engagement at the new Marina Theatre was IRONMAN. The 342-seat Marina Theatre features 2 modern auditoriums – a 254-seat, stadium-seated main auditorium and an 88-seat stadium-seated, second auditorium. Both auditoriums exist within the shell of the historic Marina Theatre which opened in 1928. The new Marina Theatre will be operated by Lee Neighborhood Theatres, operators of San Francisco’s historic 4-Star and Presidio Theatres.

The Marina Theatre was almost lost after being closed in 2001. Local merchants, neighbors and the San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation rallied to save the theatre - then known as the Cinema 21 - and a compromise was ultimately reached to retain the theatre. The Theater Foundation developed the plan that led to the compromise and we’re thrilled that the MARINA is now being re-opened. The new Marina Theatre will be a great place to enjoy films and we think it will be a welcome addition to San Francisco’s neighborhood cinema scene.

2005 Update

The owners of the Cinema 21 property have sumbitted plans to the Planning Department to restore the Cinema 21. The plans are a product of two years of discussions with the Theater Foundation, the Marina Merchants and the community at large.

The restored theatre will include a 250-seat cinema in the stadium-seated portion of the orginal auditorium and an enlarged retail space downstairs. A smaller, second auditorium might also be added in a new mezzanine area. Under the proposed plan, the Walgreens currently located adjacent to the Cinema 21 would move into the new retail space and would share the building's frontage with the cinema. The new plan will simplify the building's facade by reducing the number of retail frontages at the Cinema 21 from three to two (there used to be two retail spaces in addition to the theatre).

Architects MK Think's have also proposed to restore the facade of the Cinema 21 and highlight the building's elegant moorish architectural detail that is currently obscured. The Theater Foundation helped fund the initial architectural study of this plan. We believe it is a worthwhile compromise that preserves the Cinema 21 as a theatre while creating important opportunities for the property owner to realize new revenue streams from the increased retail space in the building.


Metro Theatre Update



MARCH, 2013 UPDATE

Construction began on the project in the fall of 2012.

JUNE, 2009 UPDATE

Members of the San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation have had productive meetings in the last couple of weeks with the owners of the Metro Theatre. Revised plans are now being discussed with the Metro's owners and with community groups that include meaningful preservation of a significant portion of the Metro's interior. The original plans didn't include any significant preservation of the interior of the theatre. The new proposed plans will re-use of much of the Metro as a fitness center, but now preserve many of the theatre's most important interior and exterior historic elements. Importantly, the new designs also incorporate a substantial collection of original 1924 interior elements that would serve as the focal points of a multi-story interior space that can continue to be used for public assembly and as a theatre. These elements include stunning ionic columns, grilles and urns flanking the Metro's original stage that have been hidden for decades behind walls added in a 1940s remodel. Other key elements to be preserved include the exterior facade, the marquee and the auditorium's beautiful Heinsbergen murals. While the new plans will dramatically change the Metro and do constitute a significant compromise, they also represent a genuine effort by a private property owner to preserve an important historic resource while enabling new uses they desire. We think the plans offer a reasonable resolution to a very difficult issue. We hope to be able to post more information about the plans soon. 2008 Update

Sign the online petition to help save the Metro. The S.F. Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board recently continued its consideration of the landmarking of the Metro Theatre. The issue will be rescheduled soon and the new meeting time will be posted here as soon as it is announced.
- Click here for for more information about saving the Metro.

2005 Update

The lease for the Metro Theatre (Union at Webster) is currently for sale by Regal Entertainment. The Theater Foundation is keeping close tabs on the property and will work with neighbors and local merchants to be sure that a theater use is preserved at the Metro.

Alexandria Theatre Update


May 2010 Update
Supervisor Eric Mar held a neighborhood meeting meeting Wednesday at the YMCA across the street from the shuttered Alexandria Theatre to provide an update on the long-stalled project proposed for the Alexandria site. The good news is that the current plans still call for the historic Alexandria Theatre (Reid Brothers, 1923) to be largely preserved with most of the building's historic elements being saved. The developer has also committed to retaining a 200+ seat theatre in the building. The bad news is that there still isn't a definitive vision for the building in terms of tenants or design details. The Theater Foundation has long advocated for preservation of the Alexandria building and of its many significant historic interior elements. We would also like to see a continued entertainment use within the building that enables the public to continue to enjoy as much of the Alexandria as possible as a quasi-public space. We are encouraged by the developer's continued willingness to work with the community on their project and are hopeful that as plans develop a compelling project will emerge. We will stay involved and will provide updates as new information becomes available. For more details about the meeting visit http://richmondsfblog.com/2010/04/14/first-look-at-the-alexandria-theater-project-plans/.
July 2004 Update

The new owners of the Alexandria announced their preliminary development concept for the Alexandria site in June. The plan anticipates preservation of Alexandria Theatre building and the preservation of a working movie theatre within the new development. For details see this recent S.F. Examiner article.
New Plans for Alexandria Theatre, S.F. Examiner, 6/4/04

April '04 Update

The Alexandria Theatre closed on Feb. 16, 2004 after being sold to a developer who has not made their plans for the site public. The theatre was sold along with the adjacent parking lot (Geary at 18th Ave) by Regal Entertainment (the owner/operator the theatre) to Alexandria Theatre Enterprises, LLC. The Theater Foundation is working with the Planning Association of the Richmond (PAR) to try to ensure that a the theater use is preserved at the Alexandria site. The Theatre Foundation and PAR are scheduled to meet with representatives of the new owners of the Alexandria in early May ('04).


For more information about the closure of the Alexandria visit this Chronicle story .

Vogue Theatre Update

2007 Update

The S.F. Neighborhood Theater Foundation has purchased San Francisco's historic Vogue Theatre (1910)! SFNTF is dedicated to assuring the continued success of the Vogue as a first-run cinema.
- Click here for Vogue Theatre progam information.
- Click here for info about donating to the Vogue.
- Click here for the Press Release.

2005 Update

Regal Entertainment, part of the partnership that owns the Vogue Theatre, is reported to be in the process of selling the Vogue. A previous attempt plan to the sell the Vogue to a buyer whose plans for the property were unclear, aparently fell through earlier this year. The Theater Foundation remains hopeful that the theatre use will be preserved at the Vogue and we'll work with any new buyer to assure this.

Vogue Brochure Flyer
For more information about the status of the Vogue visit this Chronicle story .


Apollo Theatre Update

The Apollo Theatre (Geneva near Mission) was converted into a Walgreens after sitting vacant for many years. The Apollo was once known as the Amazon and has served as a foreign film cinema and a church, in addition to being a traditional neighborhood movie theater.

Click on image for larger view.



Coronet Theatre Update

The Coronet closed in 2005 and has been demolished. The Institute on Aging has replaced the Coronet on Geary Boulevard. .