Market Street Cinema

1077 Market Street,
San Francisco, CA 94103

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Showing 1 - 25 of 68 comments

MSC77 on December 21, 2021 at 3:50 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.

bigjoe59 on October 10, 2021 at 12:54 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.

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 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 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 on September 3, 2021 at 2:21 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?

m00se1111 on August 29, 2021 at 12:10 pm

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

The older Chronicle listings have the movie ads !

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?

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.

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.

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?

DavidZornig on February 28, 2021 at 8:05 am

Enlargeable 1957 photo in Shorpy link. Click “view full size”.

Trolleyguy on August 31, 2020 at 7:47 am

1959 photo downloaded to photos.

dallasmovietheaters on May 9, 2019 at 8:03 pm

Relaunched April 23, 1959 after a two-month, $250,000 revamp to the plans of Carl G. Moeller. The “all new” United Artists launched with “Some Like It Hot.” Ad in photos.

rivest266 on August 11, 2018 at 9:12 am

Reopened as Loew’s on October 15th, 1969. Another ad posted.

rivest266 on July 31, 2018 at 10:28 am

This became United Artists on March 28th, 1931. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

GaryParks on October 13, 2017 at 4:23 pm

During demolition, during preparations to salvage the “Grauman’s Imperial Theater” stained glass window in the lobby, we went down into the under-stage basement several times, and saw the body outline on the floor, and there were dozens of bullet holes in the fire door at the opposite end of the basement room. we took photos of the room, but nothing extraordinary showed up in our images. With the noise of the Bobcats and backhoe above us, there was no real sense of creepiness, let alone terror. It would have been interesting to have been in the same space when the theatre was abandoned—before demolition began.

GeorgeSenda on October 4, 2017 at 2:35 am

The theater as a strip club had several people die in it and was haunted. Paranormal investigators were terrified to go into the basement where the deaths occurred.

cjwin on April 17, 2017 at 6:19 am

bigjoe59 Both the comments earlier in this thread and in other sources lead me to believe that The MSC locale began exclusively showing “adult” films in 1980 and then brought back mainstream “roadshow” films for just a few months before returning to adult films until 1986. At that time it seems that they moved over to a combined nude strip club in front section/ projected video of adult film in back section setup, its final advertised format when the locale went dark in Jan. 2013.

stevenj on April 12, 2017 at 4:22 pm

Hi bigjoe59- Getting the answers to your 2 questions may not be as simple. There are a lot of links to this theater online but no definitive timeline after 1972 that would provide answers for you. My recollection (and going back 45 years may be hazy) but I seem to remember 1st or 2nd run martial arts films playing in the 70’s, for a period the theater hosted live bands (late 70’s-early 80’s?), then XXX in the 80’s and “live” XXX shows added (90’s?) before closing in 2013.

bigjoe59 on April 12, 2017 at 1:56 pm

Hello From NYC-

i have a simple 2 part question-a)when this theater close down as a regular movie theater was it still a 1st run venue or had it become a 2nd/3rd run grind house? b)what time passed between it closing down as a regular movie theater and reopening as an adult cinema?

DavidZornig on November 1, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Former owner of this and the Campus has passed away.

stevenj on July 9, 2016 at 3:21 pm

Here is the link to the article (with some pictures) about the beginning of the demo and what will be built on the Market St Cinema site:


cjwin on July 9, 2016 at 7:44 am

Demolition of the structure commenced on Thursday, July 7, 2016. The current developer’s goal is to have a new structure finished there by March 2018.

terrywade on December 9, 2015 at 9:06 pm

Go by the old United Artists Theatre and say goodbye. Many 70mm roadshow movies played here like Sound Of Music, Patton, The Bilble and L of Arabia. A sad loss to SF another movie theatre about to be torn down.