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 44 comments)

terrywade on April 30, 2013 at 12:33 am

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 10:46 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 9:32 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 5:58 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 10:48 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 11:03 am

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

Ghostowngay on November 9, 2014 at 10:43 pm

I am pleased to see so much active dialogue about the fate of this theatre. I live in the neighborhood and have spoken with a local archivist advocate and friend who tells me:

The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as an intrusion. It has historical value, but the integrity of the original architecture has been lost due to alterations; hence intrusion and not landmark status. There is nothing left of its former grandeur."

In other words, it’s already been ruined and there is nothing left to save. I had always thought that that horrible red, white and blue effrontery was covering the original Grauman grandeur facade and would one day be eradicated and restored. I don’t know whether to be relieved or more depressed.

stevenj on November 10, 2014 at 10:20 am

Market St Theaters

In this morning’s SF Chronicle John King details the Mid Market push for more high-rise housing/office and the lack of esthetics of some of them. A few of the addresses sounded familiar. The project for 1066 Market (across the street from the Market St Cinema) will replace a small building and parking lot that was once the long ago demolished Paramount. The empty lot mentioned at 1125 Market is the site of the quake damaged, then demolished Embassy Theater.

Ghostowngay on November 13, 2014 at 1:38 pm

I am writing an article on the end of the Market Street Cinema Theater at 1077 Market Street. I am looking for people that have been there for punk bands or any other venues. Please get back to me. Michael

Coate on March 18, 2015 at 10:34 am

Fifty years ago today “The Sound of Music” premiered at the United Artists Theater. With a reserved-seat run of 93 weeks, do you think it is the long-run record holder for this venue?

Also, on a related note, I would like to mention my new 50th anniversary retrospective for “The Sound of Music” can be read here.

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