Alamo Drafthouse New Mission Cinema

2550 Mission Street,
San Francisco, CA 94110

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Showing 26 - 50 of 70 comments

stevenj on January 11, 2013 at 11:24 am

Looks like the planning commission has given its OK for the Alamo Drafthouse 5 plex + condos next door.

Another SF theater saved. The Strand on Market St also was saved in 2012 by ACT. After reading some of the above comments about how hard it is to restore/save movie theaters in SF (and it is) I think it is worth mentioning that film theaters are hard to save/restore everywhere, not just SF. The “closed” “demolished” list on Cinema Treasures is a testament to that. BTW the “Divisadero” mentioned above is the Harding Theater.

CSWalczak on September 13, 2012 at 8:43 am

Snarky, hdtv267? Hardly. Ask anyone who has been associated with the San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Association just how difficult it is to preserve theaters in San Francisco. It is never easy in any large city, but it is especially so in SF. One the main purposes of this site is to contribute to and publicize preservation efforts and the related challenges. The recent histories of the efforts to preserve the Divisadero, the Metro, and the Coronet are all testaments to the difficulty of advancing theater preservation in this great city.

CSWalczak on September 12, 2012 at 11:23 am

Probably? Nay, certainly. Rehabilitation, restoration, and construction projects can take years in SF. The process is extensively politicized, and any project is reviewed by an incredible array of governmental and civic groups.

Scott Neff
Scott Neff on September 12, 2012 at 11:04 am

Not surprising at all. San Francisco is probably extremely difficult to build in, let alone an historic building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Colonial Revival in the style field should be Spanish Colonial Revival, which was the original style before Timothy Pflueger’s Deco remodeling job.

Also, I’ve noticed that the auditorium photo captioned “Interior of the New Mission Theater” in the Moving Picture World article I linked to in my previous comment depicts a different auditorium than the photo captioned “Interior of Theatre” in this article in The Music Trade Review published the same year. I don’t know for sure which magazine got the wrong photo, but I suspect it was The Moving Picture World. Its item on the New Mission was part of a section that featured two other new houses, which would be more likely to lead to error than the stand-alone item in Music Trade. The MPW photo might actually have depicted the Lorin Theatre in Berkeley.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 6, 2012 at 10:56 pm

There’s a fairly long article about the New Mission Theatre on pages 1990-1991 of the September 23, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World. Scan at Google Books.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on August 6, 2012 at 8:21 am

Well, you know for sure they’re not taking it down!

Mikeyisirish on August 6, 2012 at 7:32 am

Are they going to restore the unique verticle sign and the neon along with it?

John Fink
John Fink on August 5, 2012 at 6:58 pm

I have no doubt Alamo will do an excellent job on the preservation end – I personally think The Ritz in Austin is first rate (although it was probably an empty shell when they got to it) – but it’s a classy looking joint. It’s refreshing to have a company run by movie fans with excellent tastes and instincts – verses MBAs who manage every complex with a once size-fits all attitude.

Mikeyisirish on August 5, 2012 at 5:50 pm

A few July 2012 photos can be seen here, here and here.

HowardBHaas on July 26, 2012 at 10:26 am

Ah, main auditorium screen to be preserved- Alamo’s founder, Tim League, describes the plan envisioned in the Alamo blog on Thurssday, February 16:

“Even though our plan is to subdivide the balconies into small boutique theaters, we will be doing it in such a way as to pres rve nearly all of the amazing architectural details of the space. We would still preserve the massive downstairs screen and transform that space into a potential premiere venue with state of the art sound and picture. We have been working hand-in-hand with the both historic and neighborhood groups to make sure that our restoration plans meet with their approval. The great news is that the theater interior is largely in good shape. A large percentage of the interior details have been preserved and even most of the light fixtures are intact.”

HowardBHaas on July 26, 2012 at 10:23 am

What happens to the ornate auditorium seen in article 2? does all that get covered up or gutted so 5 screens emerge?

CSWalczak on July 25, 2012 at 11:30 am

Alamo Drafthouse confirms that it plans to convert the New Mission into one of their locations:

View article 1

View Article 2

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Direct link to Towleroad website and the Bonnie Raitt video.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 4, 2012 at 2:14 am

An article about the Fotoplayer pipe organ installed in the New Mission Theatre can be seen in this PDF file of a page from the August 12, 1916, issue of The Music Trade Review. There are two small photos of the theater, showing the front and the auditorium. The auditorium photo shows the house before the balcony was added in 1918. American Photo Player Co., makers of the Fotoplayer organ, were based in Berkeley, California.

tjmayerinsf on February 19, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Looks like the Alamo Drafthouse chain is taking over the New Mission — here is Alamo owner Tim League

kencmcintyre on November 24, 2010 at 9:58 am

I drove down Mission Street last month when I went to the 49ers-Eagles game. I didn’t realize that all the theaters on this street were so close together. Must have been spectacular in its time.

darquil on July 30, 2010 at 11:37 pm

I’ve posted some recent photos here.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 20, 2010 at 3:49 am

An earlier Mission Theatre was operating in San Francisco in 1907. Did the New Mission replace it? The earlier Mission was listed in an ad for the architectural firm O'Brien & Werner in the 1907-1908 edition of Henry’s Official Western Theatrical Guide. The Mission was one of five O'Brien & Werner designed houses listed in the ad. The others were the Orpheum, Princess, Valencia Street, and 16th Street theaters.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 12, 2010 at 2:12 pm

The a nice (but quick) shot of the vertical blade and dilapidated marquee near the beginning of the new movie “La Mission,” now in limited release in theaters.

CSWalczak on March 19, 2010 at 11:14 pm

There has been very little news about the New Mission for nearly four years; there has not been an update in the SF Neighborhood Theaters Foundation site ( for quite some time and there isn’t much more on the site either, both of which were actively watching for news and reporting developments up until, oh, about 2005 or so. Apparently City College dropped plans to recycle the site for its uses. There was a proposal to convert the theater into a restaurant/nightclub/performance space that would preserve some of the theater’s architectural features, and there was a report that the condos that were to be built adjacent to the theater were going to be taller than originally proposed. I did find this item from March 10 of this year: View link

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on March 19, 2010 at 10:14 pm

Back in the late 1990’s, I attended a meeting about trying to save and (hopefully) restore the New Mission along with a lot of hype about City College possibly taking over the premises for their theatrical programs.

Can someone of authority please fill in the blanks about the future of this venerable theater?

As to the above article from GERMAINE ROGERS on Mar 20, 2007 about his impressive collection of Box Office Reports, etc., saved from the New Mission, Castro, Royal, Alhambra, these theaters (and others) were under the direction of Blumenfeld Enterprises.

As a former Castro doorman I suggest he contact Don Nasser who heads the Castro’s Board of Directors and ask him if he would like part of them for their historical records or to display them in the lobby with “The Castro Past”.

Jermaine on March 20, 2007 at 7:43 pm


Im a collector of various movie paper…old one sheets, lobby cards and other incidental items. I am in my mid-30’s but feel like i was born QUITE out of time. I am fascinated with the old movie palaces and have quite a collection of items from these…thought you all would be interested in the following: i have several of the original, bound volumes of daily box reports from the New Mission, Castro, Alhambra, and Royal Theaters…all San Francisco movie palaces. The years I have are all 1929-1939…I have MANY volumes. EVERY single day is represented, with deposit slips and every single report…including film titles, opening marks, ticket sales and deposits, refund slips (if any…including reasons for refunds), and also a listing of the features that competitors were playing for each day. Its very interesting, for instance, to see the bad day that one theater had…then you notice that the competitor was playing ‘FRANKENSTEIN’ or ‘THE VAGABOND’. All marked by hand, signed by the managers…including deposit slips pasted onto the back of each days receipts. I got these from a collector in trade for some other paper…and it’s fascinating. A personal treat was seeing ‘Charlie Chans Chance’ listed in one of the daily reports: it played for 3 days and did pretty well. It’s now a lost film. It gives me chills.


William on October 23, 2006 at 7:40 am

If you go to ken mc’s post from Dec. 26, 2005 click the last photo #8977 to see what it looked like in 1943.