Castro Theatre

429 Castro Street,
San Francisco, CA 94114

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Showing 126 - 142 of 142 comments

stevenj on December 21, 2004 at 2:31 pm

Seems like it would be economic suicide to change the programming to the point that people would stop going. The Nassers have owned the theatre for decades, and I doubt they want to see it close due to a lack of patronage. I wonder if they are considering twinning or triplexing which was kicked around in the late 70’s or early 80’s. The theatre is a national historical landmark but don’t know it that protects the interior as well as the facade. There was a noisy demonstration in front of the theatre Saturday (18th)over the firing of Anita Monga and the hiring on an LA programmer who obviously doesn’t know the local film scene (according to an interview with him in a recent SF Chronicle column by Ruthe Stein – “The Movie Insider”). Time will tell whether his programming will bring movigoers into the Castro or whether it was the wrong employment decision. The “Film Noir” series that has been so popular at the Castro has pulled out and will be at the Balboa.

RobertR on December 16, 2004 at 2:24 pm

Count this and Cinema 1-2-3 as goners.

tropicalidotcom on December 16, 2004 at 1:58 pm

The NEW official website of The Castro Theatre is located here:

And the new calendar is online! Check it out!

gorkipk on December 4, 2004 at 8:43 pm

I have been going to the Castro off and on for 30 years…mainly off due to distance.

Its hard to believe the Nasser family getting uptight at this late date about Gay content.

20 years ago the theatre was showing all this German crap by Fassbinder and some wierdo who kept was taking his taxi to the toilet in the middle of Berlin. Remember?

The Castro should do Gay Lite and downplay the politics. A re-release of “La Cage…” or retrospect of Gay actors and director films would have more mass appeal than that hardcore stuff. Speaking of that what happened to Beau Geste, a little porno theatre around the corner? I saw Gordon Grant there making a personal appearance.

Eric on November 24, 2004 at 7:54 pm

Nassers: Tsk Tsk Tsk….

Look for the Castro to be a Walgreens, Gap, or Crunch Gym within a year!

RobertR on November 4, 2004 at 10:20 am

They should move all of this to the Roxie or that little porno theatre which I cant remember the name of. That would be a good way to restore it.

br91975 on November 4, 2004 at 9:45 am

The official web site of the Castro:

Shade on November 4, 2004 at 9:42 am

The original article can be found on here:
View link


Wednesday, November 3, 2004 (SF Chronicle)
Castro Theatre in turmoil over sudden sacking
Ruthe Stein, Chronicle Senior Movie Writer

The manager of the Castro Theatre quit Tuesday — the latest of several
staffing shake-ups to cause concern about the future of the venerable
movie palace, mecca to film lovers in the Bay Area.
Stacey Wisnia, who has managed the Castro for more than four years and
worked there for eight, said she resigned in part to protest the abrupt
firing last week of the theater’s long-time programmer, Anita Monga.
“I really am upset about how they fired Anita, who is definitely one of
the most highly regarded programmers in the country,” Wisnia said. “It
makes me worry about the direction the theater is heading in."
During her 16 years as the Castro’s director of programming, Monga
developed a national reputation for her eclectic scheduling, mixing
first-run features with classics and the offbeat. Her final schedule for
the theater includes the original "The Manchurian Candidate,” a tribute to
cinematographer James Wong Howe, a week’s worth of “Godzilla” movies and
“Tarnation,” a new documentary about a young man’s relationship with his
mentally ill mother.
Monga said Castro owner Ted Nasser summoned her to the theater last
Tuesday to tell her “I would immediately have no contact with the theater.
I can’t even begin to think what is in their minds,” she said, referring
to the Nasser family. The Nassers built the Castro and have owned it since
1922, but took over active management only in 2001. They have installed
new seats and made other improvements.
Stacks of letters have been sent protesting Monga’s dismissal and
expressing concern for the quality of the films the theater will now show.
Although Monga said she was “shocked” by her dismissal, this outpouring of
support “has been so moving to me” and confirmed her belief in the
Castro’s significance. “It is a San Francisco treasure and I worry about
it now.” Assistant manager Christian Bruno, who recently e-mailed almost
everyone in the film community to complain about turmoil at the theater,
also has been fired. Office manager Kelly Rausch resigned Friday in
Nasser isn’t saying much about what’s transpired. “As an employer, it is
not my habit to speak about staffing changes,” he said Monday.
But his wife, Karen Nasser, went out of her way to assure local theater
patrons that there would be no major changes at the Castro.
“No thought has been given to exhibiting films like the multiplexes show,
” she said. “The Castro has shown unique films, hosted film festivals and
special events for many, many years. We expect and look forward to
continue to work with each and every one of the film festivals and special
"Karen is hankering for the job (of film programmer) because she thinks
is glamorous and easy,” said Elliot Lavine, an independent distributor who
used to program films at the Roxie. “She has no idea of what goes into it,
and Ted wouldn’t know a good movie from an ashtray."
It is believed that the Nassers would like to screen more family fare.
Karen Nasser recently initiated Sunday morning children’s films such as
"National Velvet” and “Cheaper by the Dozen."
"I think they would like to see less of things like ‘Tarnation,’ ” said
Marcus Hu, owner of Strand, an independent distributor whose films often
play the Castro. Wisnia said the Nassers have “complained about the gay
content of some of the films.” When a double bill of “Proteus” and
“Superstar in a Housedress,” both gay-themed, did not do well at the box
office “it seemed to set them (the Nassers) off in a way.” According to
Wisnia, they also were unhappy with a Bruce Weber photo on a recent
program cover showing men with their shirts off and their arms around each
Insiders say the Nassers have been furiously calling festival heads to
assure them the welcome mat is still out at the Castro. But at least one
festival curator, Eddie Muller, who puts on the popular San Francisco Film
Noir Festival at the Castro in January, may go elsewhere.
“I have no intention of doing it without Anita, and I am seriously
considering an alternative venue because of this development,” Muller
Gary Meyer, founder of Landmark Theatres who now operates the Balboa,
predicts that there may be more defections. “The Castro is very expensive
to rent, and you don’t want to go to a place where the staff and the
environment are not right for what you are doing,” Meyer said. Other
options for film festivals include the Palace of Fine Arts and the Herbst
However, Meyer doubts that the San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay
Film Festival would consider a move because the Castro is in the heart of
the gay community. “They want to be at the corner of Main and Main."
E-mail Ruthe Stein at

tjmayerinsf on November 3, 2004 at 8:44 pm

Today’s SF Chronicle reports that long-time Castro programmer Anita Monga has been dismissed after programming the Castro since 1988.

Edward Havens
Edward Havens on October 1, 2004 at 3:26 pm

Despite growing up in Santa Cruz and spending much time in the city over the years, the one and only time I ever made it to the Castro was for the 1996 70mm restoration of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo.” It was one of the five best theatre experiences of my life.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 27, 2004 at 9:00 am

I do not live in San Francisco but whenever I am in town I make it a point to visit the Castro at least once. It’s more than a movie theater. It’s a nostalgic dream, a vision that transports us back to what used to be but which sadly in most places is no more. There are not too many other places where you can find a movie palace doing what it was meant to do…show movies! And what programming and showmanship! Clearly San Franciscans, especially from the Castro district, worship this place. May it survive as long as the cable cars do. Forever.

stefoscope on March 1, 2004 at 5:51 pm

What’s not to love about the Castro? Aside from being a very charming, elegant theatre, it has one of the most intelligent and eclectic ongoing film programs in the bay area. Not to mention state of the art image and sound presentations. It was one of the few theatres in the country to be able to show the 1996 70mm restoration of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo”. In November 2002, Hitchcock’s daughter was present for a screening of the film, where the city designated that day as “Alfred Hitchcock Day in San Francisco”. What a memorable evening that was!

FrankieBoyCA on January 21, 2004 at 4:32 pm

I am so happy that they renovated it- it really needed it! Today it looks STUNNING. I recently took a friend to see “Gone with the Wind”, and his jaw dropped when he walked in. That surprised me since he doens’t appreciate movie palaces, but he was amazed at this place. The film presentations are spectacular, and the enthusiastic crowd always adds to the delight of the Castro theatre experience.

idgit4 on January 13, 2004 at 10:26 am

My favorite place to see a film in the WHOLE world! The best audiences anywhere, and possibly the best programming on the planet. A terrific mix of classic, art and festival films … something for everyone. And I feel like a kid again every time I look at the quarterly broadsheet calendar … reminds me of sitting under the Christmas tree looking through the JC Penney toy catalog!

Jake on October 10, 2003 at 9:32 pm

A favorite among locals and tourists of course. The Castro went thru a awesome makeover and I was really impressed when I was there for a movie showing. It’s not everday that I go there but a treat when I do, it’s usually a movie that The Castro is theater in town thats screening the movie.

Michael on October 9, 2001 at 2:03 pm

The Queen of SF theater…pardon the pun. Good news for all Castro theater fans. The theater is closing mid september 2001 for extensive renovations….New seats new carpet new paint. Finally she is gonna get polished. If you have never been to the theater you are missing one of the greatest movie experiences….The Whirlitzer and yes it gets played before almost every movie….San Francisco open you golden gates!

bskluger on December 19, 2000 at 8:42 am

One of the grandest theaters I have ever entered, the Castro is part bedouin tent, part subterranean confectionary, and all fantasy. Seeing films here during the San Francisco Film Festival is a memory I will always cherish.