Northgate 15 Cinemas

5000 Northgate Drive,
San Rafael, CA 94901

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Northgate 15 Cinemas opened on November 17, 1994…exactly five years after former owner Pacific Theaters had built and opened the eight screen Rowland Plaza about 10 miles to the North. To date, it boasts the most amount of screens in Marin County, and was the last movie theater to open in the county since.

While busy, Northgate Cinemas is plagued by being located in a junky mall that many people in Marin dislike frequenting. Auditoriums 1 through 9 are quite small, ranging from about 120 to 200 seats. The other 6 auditoriums are across the way, and #10 and #15 are closer to just 120 seats as well. Theaters #11-!4 are larger, and in most years past 3 of those theaters featured THX…but recently they have not advertised that, which possibly means they are no longer certified.

Because of the small theater size, many shows often sell out quickly. The theater also has a reputation for showing movies that are poorly reviewed or soon to be “shelved”.

Around 2000, Century theaters bought the Multiplex from Pacific and renovated it (as they did with many of the theaters in the area). At the time there was talk of converting some of the theaters into Stadium-style seating, but that has yet to happen. Northgate 15 has been credited with “saving” Northgate Mall, a destination for various stores that have gone out of business over the years…including Hot Dog on a Stick and Totally Trolls, just to name a couple.

Cinemark recently bought the entire Century Theaters chain, so we have yet to see what changes might be made in the near future.

Contributed by Christian Hansen

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

darquil
darquil on March 6, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Per the maximum occupancy signs above each auditorium door, seating capacities for the screens are as follows:
1 – 130
2 – 137
3 – 164
4 – 109
5 – 188
6 – 129
7 – 164
8 – 164
9 – 100
10 – 86
11 – 151
12 – 172
13 – 210
14 – 138
15 – unposted.
This puts the total seating capacity at about 2200, if Christian is correct that #15 has about 120 seats.

darquil
darquil on April 24, 2010 at 11:33 pm

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

blocktek
blocktek on May 8, 2013 at 11:17 am

Back in the 70s and 80s, when this was an outdoor mall, the Northgate Theater was a rather large single screen auditorium. I believe it was even outfitted for 70mm presentations, and showed Star Wars in the day. It was located roughly where the food court is located now.

Scott Neff
Scott Neff on May 10, 2013 at 10:49 am

The original Northgate (operated by Blumenfeld) theatre wasn’t in this development. If I recall it was in one of the other outlying shopping centers.

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