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Arts & Culture

Back to the Big Screen: A Map of San Francisco’s Movie Theaters

Written by Maryann Jones ThompsonPublished Mar. 25, 2022 • 12:45pm
Balboa Theatre is one of the last independent movie theaters in San Francisco in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, July 20, 2011. The two-screen Sunset District theater, which opened in 1926, does decent business, but will be needing expensive upgrades. (Photo By Liz Hafalia/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

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Watching movies at home is great in so many ways. You can press pause for bathroom breaks or a quick fridge run. And tossing the half-eaten bag of microwaveable Orville Redenbacher doesn’t feel nearly as wasteful as throwing away $10 worth of concession stand popcorn.

But with the city finally opening back up—or so we hope—more and more San Franciscans are ready to change out of their pajamas, put down the Roku remote, and head out to see a a film the way its director intended: In a room full of strangers, on a massive screen and enveloped in thundering, high-fi surround sound.

Though the industry has been on the rocks for years, SF’s movie theaters were hit especially hard by the pandemic. The Clay Theater, West Portal’s CinéArts Empire, and the Embarcadero Cinema all closed in the last few years. And locals say the verdict is still out on whether the Castro Theater’s new management will save or destroy the city’s favorite moviehouse.

The good news? CGV took over the shuttered AMC 1000 on Van Ness, Opera Plaza remodeled, Stonestown opened a new high-tech megaplex, and a renovated 4 Star is set to reopen this summer. 

Check out The Standard’s map of all the cinemas currently in operation citywide. So whether you’re catching up on Oscar noms or aiming for a foreign classic, you’ll find a theater with a film you’ll love.

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Maryann Jones Thompson can be reached at [email protected]


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