New Mission Theater

2550 Mission Street,
San Francisco, CA 94110

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Showing 51 - 71 of 71 comments

paneolo50
paneolo50 on September 7, 2006 at 1:48 pm

A great movie theater of my childhood, I grew up in the Mission District of San Francisco. The New Mission was a great family theater with balcony seating and a large foyer in the rear of the theater. They used to play the organ on Friday and Saturday nights when they had a talent show. Sometimes they had bingo and in those days they would pay in silver dollars and count them in a metal bucket, which clanged when they dropped the money in the bucket. The Ten Commandments, El Cid, West Side Story all where exclusive engagements. I loved the balcony seating.

guillyca
guillyca on April 19, 2006 at 7:53 pm

I remember this theatre as being really big. You would buy you’re ticket & walk throught the doors up the hallway. The refreshment counter was on the right hand side before the doord into the auditorium. I remember watching all sorts of movies here such as Scanners & Visitng Hours, Friday the 13th The final chapter & Cujo, Alpahbet City, Several La India Maria movies. The list goes on & on. :)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 26, 2005 at 5:05 pm

Here’s another puzzle. The market in this 1954 photo is at Mission and Rolph Streets. I would argue that this was a theater at some point. Any ideas?

View link

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 26, 2005 at 4:54 pm

Tom, the Crown is listed under Cine Latino, which would also be your listing for the New Latino.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 23, 2005 at 7:23 am

Thanks for the info. Both the Tower and the Grand on Mission are listed.

tjmayerinsf
tjmayerinsf on December 20, 2005 at 4:50 pm

Ken, the theater across the street was the Crown and later the New Latino, I don’t see any listings for those. Down the same side of Mission Street was the Grand and the Tower, there’s a listing for just one of those latter two. Email me at for more info. Tom Mayer

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 20, 2005 at 4:46 pm

Here is another view of the Mission and the Rialto, from 1944:

View link

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 20, 2005 at 4:41 pm

This 1936 picture shows the New Mission and the Rialto across the street. I would be curious to know if the Rialto is listed here under another name:

View link

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 28, 2005 at 3:58 pm

From the SF Public Library website:

View link

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on October 3, 2005 at 3:39 am

A Robert-Morton organ Size 3/14 was installed in the New Mission Theater in 1919.

robertgippy
robertgippy on June 25, 2005 at 3:41 pm

The New Mission was a beautiful theatre. It had a long lobby entrance with a staircase to the left that led you to the loge and balcony sections. Before entering the main floor auditorium, there was a little candy counter to the left. When you entered the auditorium, you entered it from the left side. The New Mission, was one of the few theaters (like the T&D in Oakland) that the projection booth was on the main floor. Behind the projection booth were the restrooms, and staircases that led you to the loge and balcony sections. The stage and arch are kinda similiar to the Castro, but the whole layout is entirely different. It mostly played 80’s gore flicks but it was a fun place to go see a movie. Once and awhile they would open the balcony, but otherwise you were not allowed up there.

bago1
bago1 on April 30, 2005 at 4:51 am

i remember going to see movies at this theater back in the mid 80s it was a big hang out for the latino teenagers in the mission district back then

tjmayerinsf
tjmayerinsf on November 4, 2004 at 3:11 pm

The New Mission Theater was designated SF Landmark #245 on 18 May 2004. For updates on the current situation with the theater and possible restoration, go to www.friendsof1800.org

Laloba
Laloba on October 15, 2004 at 9:42 pm

You may see pictures of the New Mission Theatre that were taken in 1943 here: View link

These pictures are part of the San Francisco Library on-line archives. My father Don Leon and his Petite Orchestra played there between the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. You may view his Showbill here: http://lotsofsites.com/gen/showbill.shtml

sdoerr
sdoerr on September 18, 2004 at 3:00 pm

Here’s a news article about saving the theater and some pictures, including the marquee:
News Article

William
William on December 4, 2003 at 1:47 pm

The New Mission Theatre is located at 2550 Mission Street and I have it listed as seating 2021 people.

Tillmany
Tillmany on December 1, 2003 at 5:16 am

The New Mission Theatre opened on May 4, 1916, with Mary Pickford
in Poor Little Peppina, a second-run attraction.
It was built by Kahn & Greenfield, at a cost of $250,000.

Previously, on the same the site, a much smaller Mission Theatre
had operated for about ten years, and it was the shell of this
theatre that was used as the foyer and lobby of the New Mission.

(For the record, the earlier “Mission” opened around 1907,
was renamed the Premium around 1911,
one of no less than four “Premium” Theatres in SF at that time,
and last operated as the Idle Hour from mid-1913
until it closed in order to be transformed into the
entranceway to the new and larger New Mission.)

So successful was the New Mission from the very beginning,
that it an additional upper balcony was soon added, and it
re-opened on November 15, 1917 with “1000 additional seats”;
although this figure may be a bit of a stretch, its total
capacity did end up as an officially given 2020 or 2050 seats,
(not 2800 as claimed above), surpassed on Mission Street only
by El Capitan (2578 seats) (1928-1957).

When you consider that all these seats may well have been filled,
or at least near filled, not only evenings, but weekend matinees
as well, you can get a vague idea of just how many people did
once go to the movies, and how often.

Add to New Mission and El Capitan, the smaller Cine Latino
(nee Wigwam/New Rialto/Crown), Tower (nee Majestic), and Grand,
and you have about 7500 seats on Mission Street alone,
all within about six blocks of each other.

Unable to cope with a continuing decrease in attendance,
ever increasing overhead due to the size of the building
(imagine the heating bill!), and a serious deterioration
of the surrounding neighborhood (see shooting noted above),
the New Mission finally closed its doors on May 4, 1993.

mcmikecroaro
mcmikecroaro on September 3, 2002 at 10:00 pm

The theatre was last operated by Cinema-cal Theatres. They closed the theatre after someone shot off a gun in the auditorium in the late 80’s or early 90’s.

Michael
Michael on October 9, 2001 at 12:23 pm

NO CITY COLLGE…If you have ever seen the inside of this theater you know it is almost a twin to the Castro theater. If you want to see this theater it is open every day as a furniture store. Just ask nicely and they will let you look into…but not enter the auditorium. It’s breathtaking even packed with furniture.