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 to Herman Wobber. A Wurlitzer 2 manual 10 ranks organ was installed that year. By November 1922 it was operated by Lawyer/exhibitor Herbert L. Rothschild.

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 71 comments)

bigjoe59 on September 3, 2021 at 5:21 pm


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 on September 3, 2021 at 10:52 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 on October 8, 2021 at 5:31 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 on October 10, 2021 at 7:39 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 on October 10, 2021 at 3:54 pm


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.

MSC77 on December 21, 2021 at 6:50 pm

It was 50 years ago today that DIRTY HARRY premiered here. Here’s the link to a TV news report of the premiere event.

MSC77 on February 20, 2022 at 7:11 pm

Here’s my 50th anniversary retrospective on DIRTY HARRY, which includes a historian interview and state by state listing of hundreds of its first run theatrical bookings (including this one).

HowardBHaas on February 20, 2022 at 7:30 pm

Michael, re Dirty Harry, Philadelphia’s Fox listing with MW. What’s MW? Also was Hollywood Loews the one at 6764 Hollywood Blvd?

MSC77 on February 20, 2022 at 9:46 pm


1) MW = “Man in the Wilderness” and it was only on opening day per the Philly policy back then of overlapping the outgoing movie’s final day with the incoming movie’s opening day. (There is a legend for the co-hit abbreviations at the beginning of the article’s theater listing on Page 2.)

2) No, it’s 6838 Hollywood Blvd. Currently known as El Capitan.

HowardBHaas on February 20, 2022 at 10:31 pm

Michael, thanks, I’ve heard of the Philly policy. I’ve been to El Capitan, but I didn’t remember its prior names.

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