Market Street Cinema

1077 Market Street,
San Francisco, CA 94103

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Blumenfeld Theater Circuit, Grauman, Loews, United Artists Theater Circuit Inc.

Architects: Clifford A. Balch, Harry L. Cunningham, Percy A. Eisen, James Rupert Miller, Carl G. Moeller, Matthew V. Politeo, A. R. Walker

Firms: Cunningham & Politeo, Walker & Eisen

Previous Names: Grauman's Imperial Theatre, Imperial Theatre, Premiere Theatre, United Artists Theatre, Loews Market Street Cinema

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News About This Theater

Market Street Cinema view from balcony

Opened as Grauman’s Imperial Theatre on December 22, 1912, this theatre remained under the operation of Sid Grauman until it was sold in 1919.

The theatre was first renamed in August of 1929, as the Premiere Theatre, and then, on March 28 1931, it was renamed again, this time as the United Artists Theatre after undergoing a remodel to the plans of architectural firm Walker & Eisen, with architect Clifford A. Balch. The United Artists Theatre was remodeled in 1959 to the plans of architect Carl G. Moeller, reopening on April 23, 1959 with Marilyn Monroe in “Some Like It Hot”. On October 15, 1969, the theatre was purchased by Loews and renamed Loews Market Street Cinema. They operated it until 1972, when it became the Market Street Cinema.

Regular movies gave way to XXX adult films and in recent years, these were dropped in favor of adult ‘live’ entertainment performances. The Market Street Cinema was closed January 2013. It was demolished in July 2016.

The Market Street Cinema was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 67 comments)

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on June 29, 2021 at 10:26 am

Hello from NYC-

in reference to cjwin’s post of 4/17/2017. it was stated roadshow films returned for a short period in the 80s before the theater went exclusively to adult films. the studios discontinued the roadshow policy after the Dec. 1972 opening of Man of La Mancha so what roadshow films in the 80s is cjwin referring to?

cjwin
cjwin on June 30, 2021 at 3:30 pm

Please see this thread’s earlier comments from dingoman & terrywade as one reference on 1980-era special showings of some movies shown on 35mm/70mm film.

robertcampbell
robertcampbell on July 1, 2021 at 5:52 am

In the early 80’s the Market Street Cinema had great stage concerts of popular 80’s artists at the time. We went to one that had Devo, Oingo Boingo, and Romeo Void that was a great concert. Place was packed. Concerts there didn’t last long and the theater went to X rated movies with the marquee stating “balcony now open” Went inside to see the place and there was hardly anyone in there.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on August 28, 2021 at 1:35 pm

Hello from NYC-

I came out to San Francisco every Spring from 1980-2004. in my first trip the Spring of 1980 this was already an adult theater. I was wondering before this theater went adult what was the last studio film to open?

m00se1111
m00se1111 on August 29, 2021 at 12:10 pm

I’m quite sure you can locate the answer here.

https://sfchronicle.newsbank.com/

The older Chronicle listings have the movie ads !

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on September 3, 2021 at 2:21 pm

Hello-

at one time San Francisco had a number of gay porn theaters. this was certainly true over the 25 year period mentioned in my previous post. the most prominent being the Nob Hill Theater. with the recent closing of the Nob Hill are there any gay theaters left in San Francisco?

cjwin
cjwin on September 3, 2021 at 7:52 pm

it’s doubtful, bigjoe59: I’m pretty sure that when the one you just mentioned closed up, the local media reported it was the last one remaining in S.F. I also doubt that in this current economic environment, etc, that any would open up.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on October 8, 2021 at 2:31 pm

Hello From NYC-

to cjwin- I thank you for your previous replies. another question about moviegoing in San Francisco. for many many years many of the premiere 1st rum theaters in S.F. were on Market St.. but by my
first visit the Spring of 1980 not so much. my question- would you happen to know the last time one the grand old movie theaters on Market St. hosted the 1st run engagement of a big studio film?

cjwin
cjwin on October 10, 2021 at 4:39 am

bigjoe59- I can’t be certain, but my current best estimate would be that the last Market St. address to show “first run” films would likely have been the Saint Francis + Baronet, @ 965 Market St. I’d think that it would be more-likely there, than Market St. Cinema (definitely done by 1986), Strand, or Egyptian (now “Crazy Horse”). Of course, local contributer Mr. Tillmany probably would know best about that.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on October 10, 2021 at 12:54 pm

Hello-\

to cjwin- thanks for the reply. when I first visited S.F. the Spring of 1980 the St. Francis was showing double bills of studio films after they had exhausted their 1st runs wherever said runs may have been.

being a native New Yorker I find it fascinating that even when the Times Square area was in its as I put it “very colorful” period it didn’t effect the viability of the big 1st run movie theaters. a similar period for Market St. did the exact opposite.

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