Landmark Fine Arts Theatre

1800 Garnet Avenue,
San Diego, CA 92109

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Landmark Theatres (USA)

Previous Names: Fine Arts Theatre

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Fine Arts, Garnet Ave. in Pacific Beach, CA

The Fine Arts Theatre opened in 1964 showing art films. In the mid-1970s, it began showing pornographic films. In 1979, Landmark took over management of the theatre and screened foreign and art films. It was closed in March 1986.

The building and the the shopping center it was located in was demolished as part of a redevelopment project for the center.

Contributed by Arian

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

LomaUsher on March 1, 2014 at 9:52 pm

The Fine Arts outlasted the Roxy (on Cass St.) by several years, and to this day, Pacific Beach has no cinema at all. It was a simple hall of a theater, but who would have thought at the time that it would have constituted such a loss for our community.

neeb on September 2, 2014 at 12:51 am

“Pacific Beach Movie House To Close
February 21, 1986|HILLIARD HARPER | San Diego County Arts Writer

SAN DIEGO — The Fine Arts Theatre in Pacific Beach, one of San Diego’s few big movie houses, will close March 9.

Landmark Theaters of Los Angeles operates the 500-seat Fine Arts, which specializes in foreign films. In the Pacific Plaza shopping center, the 22-year-old theater has fallen victim to the center’s redevelopment plans, which call for more small retail stores. The wing housing the theater building will be demolished and is not likely to be replaced, said Bill Tribolet, vice president of Collins Development Corp.

“There’s a greater need for smaller retail stores in the beach area … and theaters typically aren’t open during the day,” Tribolet said. The parking spaces required by movie theaters for lengthy periods also conflict with the short-term parking needs of most retail establishments, Tribolet said.

Bill Richardson, Landmark’s San Diego area manager, called the closing “a shame,” adding that the theater will shut down when the current run of Akira Kurosawa’s Oscar-nominated movie “Ran” ends March 9.

Landmark, which also operates the Ken Cinema in Kensington, the Guild Theatre in Hillcrest and the Cove Theatre in La Jolla, took over the Fine Arts in 1979. The company is looking at other vacant theaters in San Diego, including the downtown Broadway Playhouse.

The immediate effect of the Fine Arts' closing will be a change in programming at the Ken, Richardson said. The Ken normally shows double features that change daily. “You will probably see more one- or two-week runs of foreign films or fine art films. There’s a lot of good product available.”

Richardson said the chain will try to absorb the Fine Arts' staff at its other theaters. “I feel particularly sorry for our janitor, who’s been there 15 or 20 years,” he said.

Richardson called the Fine Arts' sound system with its Dolby “surround” configuration one of the best in the city. The sound system and the Fine Arts' projection equipment will be used at the chain’s other San Diego theaters.

The Fine Arts opened in 1964, showing art films. In the mid-1970s, the fare shifted to pornography, until the Landmark takeover.

The Fine Arts is the only movie house in Pacific Beach. Based on current retail trends, Tribolet indicated that it may be the beach community’s last.

rleather on December 6, 2018 at 3:26 pm

I used to go to this theatre a lot — more eclectic selection in the mid-late 70s than the Ken and other rep houses (and not affiliated with Landmark, a 3 (?) screen operation at the time (LA, San Diego, and Berkeley I believe).

Showed their share of Bergman, Fellini, Russell, etc and also avant-garde, think my first Jodorowsky was here. Inserts I remember, Kucher, and the animation festivals that were popular at the time. They had a full-page calendar printed every quarter like the Ken, 2-color, and some time in the late 70s they had an announcement across the bottom they were reluctantly going to program porn 6 months out of the year (I seem to remember it was winter, from Oct to March?) which would pay for the other 6 months of rep, which the owner wanted to keep doing but couldn’t afford otherwise. I learned then porn knows no season (not that winter is that harsh in Pacific Beach). Lots of “art” theatres at the time in San Diego were going the porn route: Academy, Capri, etc.

Classic narrow long lobby as I remember and it was a little shabby around the edges. No balcony. What I wouldn’t give to have one of those old calendars to frame on my wall.

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