Metro Theatre

2055 Union Street,
San Francisco, CA 94123

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Metro Theatre

Opened as the Metropolitan Theater on April 23, 1924 with “The Fighting Coward”, a second-run attraction. It was built by Samuel H. Levin, and, from the beginning, was a key link in his San Francisco Theatres Inc. chain, which originally consisted of the Alexandria, Coliseum, Metro, Harding, Balboa and Vogue (in 1949, the Coronet was added to the group.)

In 1941, the Metropolitan Theater was extensively remodelled, both inside and out, and it re-opened on June 7, 1941 with Margaret Sullivan in “Back Street” & Gene Tierney in “Tobacco Road”, its name now shortened to Metro Theatre.

In the mid-1950’s the Metro Theatre was home to the just emerging San Francisco Film Festival, and eventually upgraded to a first run venue, with bookings usually carefully chosen so as to maintain its image as one of quality and prestige, and far better maintained than most of its siblings elsewhere in San Francisco.

The Metro Theatre continued to operate as a single screen theatre until its closure in October 2006. In June 2009, the developer extended a commitment to preserve some of the historic features inside, including a series of murals by interior designer Anthony Heinsbergen, Ioinic columns, grilles and urns on the stage. It was converterd into a gymnasium.

Contributed by Tillmany, Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 59 comments)

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on April 10, 2012 at 6:01 am

An article about the proposed plans for the conversion of the Metro Theater into a gym. View link

GaryParks
GaryParks on January 29, 2014 at 5:24 am

The facade of the Metro is essentially finished. It, and the marquee and vertical are repainted in two shades of taupe, and all the neon is back in place. Construction still continues inside. The 1920s ticket lobby ceiling in the entrance has either been preserved or carefully replicated. Through the new entry doors, one can see that the central one-third of the stenciled lobby ceiling has been faithfully replicated.

MSC77
MSC77 on December 22, 2017 at 10:09 pm

“The Graduate” opened here fifty years ago today. The film went on to play (a venue record?) 46 weeks. And to commemorate the classic film’s golden anniversary, here’s a new retrospective article which includes some exhibition history (and other) details.

rivest266
rivest266 on August 1, 2018 at 11:29 pm

This reopened as Metro on June 7th, 1941. Ad in the photo section.

rivest266
rivest266 on August 1, 2018 at 11:35 pm

Also uploaded the April 23rd, 1924 as Metropolitan.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on August 31, 2020 at 7:52 pm

Hello from NYC-

when I was vacationing in San Francisco the Spring of 1998 I saw Titanic for I think the 12th time. I think this might have bee this theater. I remember it was at a decent size theater om Union or Chestnut Sts.

stevenj
stevenj on September 1, 2020 at 7:15 pm

bigjoe59….If I remember correctly, Titanic opened around Christmas time in 1997 at the Presidio on Chestnut St and had a fairly long run of several months. You probably saw it there.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on September 1, 2020 at 9:12 pm

Hello-

to stevenj thanks for your reply. I did see a film at the Presidio on a subsequent visit. the theater I saw Titanic at was a large theater so it definitely wasn’t the Presidio. plus it was on the opposite side of the street that the Presidio is on. I remember the theater I saw Titanic at was the 1st theater in S.F. with a certifies THX sound system.

Eric
Eric on September 2, 2020 at 4:03 pm

The large theater across the street from the Presido theater with the large screen and THX sound was the Cinema 21. Both were operated by Century theatres. Titanic showed at both these theaters for long runs. Both theaters are still there, but have since been split into smaller auditoriums. Cinema 21 is now known as the Marina.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on September 2, 2020 at 7:45 pm

Hello-

many thanks to Eric for your reply. interestingly I even thought the name of the theater I was looking might have been the Cinema or Century 21. I had no idea of the name change. this site apparently lists theaters by their current names and not the name they were known by for the majority of their existence.

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