Market Street Cinema

1077 Market Street,
San Francisco, CA 94103

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Market Street Cinema view from balcony

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened as Grauman’s Imperial Theatre on December 22, 1912, this theatre remained under the operation of Grauman’s until it was sold in 1919.

The theatre was first renamed in August of 1929, as the Premiere Theatre, and then, in 1931, it was renamed again, this time as the United Artists Theatre after undergoing a remodel to the plans of architectural firm Walker & Eisen, with architect Clifford A. Balch. In 1967, the theatre was purchased by Loews, which operated it until 1972, when it became the Market Street Cinema.

Regular movies gave way to XXX adult films and in recent years, these were dropped in favor of adult ‘live’ entertainment performances. The Market Street Cinema was closed around April 2013.

The Market Street Cinema was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 40 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 31, 2010 at 5:07 am

A 1931 remodeling of the Imperial for the United Artists chain was the work of the Los Angeles architectural firm of Walker & Eisen, with Clifford Balch, associated. The project was reported in the April 17 issue of Southwest Builder & Contractor that year.

Hibi on April 12, 2012 at 10:25 am

Sad to see what this theater has become. Didnt My Fair Lady play here? You’d never know it now!

stevenj on December 11, 2012 at 7:57 am

My Fair Lady played a long reserved seat engagement at the Coronet out on Geary Blvd. Long reserved seat engagements at the United Artists included West Side Story, Lawrence of Arabia and The Sound of Music, among others.

hdtv267 on March 2, 2013 at 11:52 am

Is the Market Street Cinema haunted? The folks from “Ghost Adventures” check this out on the episode that aired first on 3/1/13 and I’m sure will be running off quite a bit on the Travel Channel. Check the local listings in your region.

I’m not a believer (personally) but there’s alot of great tidbits about the history of this great venue, how the strip club now just in housed in part of the old Imperial theatre. Check this show out ( or place out in the City of Saint Francis, should your proclivities go that route)

terrywade on April 29, 2013 at 11:33 pm

The old United Artists aka Market Street Cinema is now CLOSED. Was by the old locked up gated old palace today (4/29/2013) that at one time ran 70mm roadshows like Sound Of Music, Lawrence, Patton, The Bible and so many more. They had a big flat screen not curved but advertised they had Todd AO. The booth was a very long distance to the screen. When the porn girl gang took over the lease they put in a false ceiling. Now today I talked to the two remaining stores in the theatre building on the right and left side and they have not been given any close or vacate notice. I don’t think this old movie theatre is going to be torn down. It’s almost across and down the street from the Cinerama Orpheum Theatre that is to play the musical Mary Popins soon. Heard a rumor that another Chinese restaurant will move in the UA space? To bad the ACT people didn’t wait as the UA is a larger theatre then the Strand Theatre they may take over down the street If they get the funds. It’s time for the SHUBERTS to look into this old large Market Street theatre and give the Neederlanders some compition in San Francisco. Who ever takes over the theatre we hope they re paint the front as the bold RED and DARK BLUE outside paint is bad news.

hdtv267 on April 30, 2013 at 9:46 am

Yup, it is closed. The website now goes to a splash page for something called “G-string Horror”, a ‘horror’ movie with ties to that theatre and also the “ghosts” alleged to be there in.

I too hope it’s able to find some new life- as a theatre.

Might it be time for the Alamo Drafthouse people to start looking at a 2nd location for San Francisco? This location being right in the thick of downtown would be perfect than the Mission location of the proposed venue and light a fire under the Metreon and Van Ness.

Only if someone out there knew someone with that company. Maybe next time some photos?

Michael on July 19, 2013 at 8:32 pm

This link leads to a very cool picture of The auditorim of The Market Street Cinema, taken from the balcony. It shows how the strip club was built on the main floor leaving the balcony and rest of the theatre intact. This gives me hope that someone will be able to save this theatre from demolition, if they can deal with the ghosts….–_RFLvjKtYNQ/Ua4An1JIC6I/AAAAAAAAAek/GtMC03BBrzI/s1600/DSCN0318.JPG

Michael on July 20, 2013 at 4:58 pm

If you go to the photo page for the theatre I posted the photo there. Sorry for the mistake.

hdtv267 on January 15, 2014 at 9:48 am

looks as though this is going to meet the wrecking ball.

Plans are to raze the theater for an 8 story building including condos, 7,500 square feet of retail and 24 parking spots.



robboehm on January 15, 2014 at 10:03 am

If it’s on the National Registry how can they raze it?

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