Presidio Theatre

2340 Chestnut Street,
San Francisco, CA 94123

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Presidio Theatre

The Presidio Theatre opened on July 1, 1937 as the El Presidio Theatre, a last run movie house. In the 1990’s, it became a first run showplace.

After closing in 2003 as a single screen theatre, the Presidio reopened December 25, 2004 as a four screener. The former orchestra seating has the original screen. The auditorium’s sheetmetal sunburst chandelier was removed in the transition. The former balcony has two 100 seat, stadium seated auditoriums. The fourth screen is an additional screening room.

Contributed by Juan-Miguel Gallegos

Recent comments (view all 28 comments)

terrywade on August 6, 2007 at 2:20 am

Can Mr Lee fix the neon at the Presidio. It is out on both sides. He also uses different colors for the marquee letters. Please,I think some of the marquee people are still around to sell him all blue, green or red new or used letters? What will he do at the new Marina down the street? The top still has Cinema 21 but the bottom says Marina Theatre. I hope he saves the black light side pictures of San Francisco that graced the walls. Now lets get Mr Lee on board with the marquee problem at his Presisio then he can move on with purchase of the Metro a few blocks away. Turn it into San Francisco’s first movie and dinner theatre.

HowardBHaas on August 24, 2007 at 2:48 am

Photos including interior and including the former main chandelier of the auditorium, here:

telliott on January 20, 2008 at 9:34 pm

Yes LM, love marquee shots. Someday i would love to do a framed collage of just brightly lit marquees with all that beautiful neon!

JimC on August 1, 2008 at 4:13 pm

The Presidio Theater has just completed upgrading the sound system in Theater #1 (the big one) to digital sound. The installation inculded putting new speakers behind the screen and adding more surround speakers to the sides and back walls of the auditorium.

Digital sound upgrades to the remaining auditorums are scheduled in the near future.

The Presidio has one of the largest non-IMAX screens in San Francisco, now that the METRO and CORONET are gone. They now have big sound to match the big picture.

theauteur on February 21, 2009 at 2:06 am

I am watching D.A. Pennebaker’s Don’t Look Back with the director’s commentary on, and they mention that this film was hard to distribute when it first came out. Pennebaker mostly played the film on his one and only 16mm print of it at schools and colleges while he tried to figure out what to do with it. Then someone from the Art Theaters Guild approached him about screening it at the Presidio in San Francisco which at the time was in bad shaped playing pornography. The film then sort of premiered here before being made a 35mm print and screening in NYC.

darquil on April 25, 2010 at 7:31 am

I’ve posted information and photos from a recent visit here.

Mikeyisirish on June 26, 2012 at 8:00 pm

A 2011 photo can be seen here.

Bobbalt on July 31, 2016 at 4:17 am

Rare news footage from KPIX Channel 5 (San Francisco) covering the first San Francisco Erotic Film Festival at the Presidio, 12/2/1970. Link below courtesy of the Bay Area Television Archive.

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