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Grand Lake Theatre

3200 Grand Avenue,
Oakland, CA 94610

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Grand Lake Theater

Built in 1926 by West Coast Theatres with 1,700 seats in its single auditorium, The Grand Lake Theatre was opened March 6, 1926.

Built as a vaudeville and silent movie house before switching to an all-movies format, the Grand Lake Theatre was bought and sold five times from 1926 to 1980. The most recent owner, Renaissance Rialto Inc., purchased the Grand Lake Theatre in 1980 and spent $3.5 million renovating the worn movie palace. Part of the renovation also added a second screen in the former balcony on June 19, 1981, and on July 12, 1985 storefronts were converted into two more screens, bringing the total seating capacity to 1,600. It suffered damage in the 1989 earthquake, and repairs were carried out.

Despite the changes, the Grand Lake Theatre has retained the charm of its original appearance and its original illuminated roof top sign. It still screens first run movies.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 84 comments)

Ian on March 14, 2013 at 2:42 am

Two photos from 2000 of the interior of the larger screen with the ornate curtains in place.



Logan5 on September 24, 2014 at 10:10 am

“The Rocketeer” was presented at the Grand Lake (#3) in 70mm 6-Track Dolby Stereo beginning on the film’s nationwide opening day Friday June 21, 1991.

tntim on February 20, 2015 at 4:41 pm

Here is a news story that was on ABC 7 news. Link

gabrielbarr on April 19, 2015 at 7:40 am

A snapshot of a man changing the sign in 2014. (He is taking down Interstellar and putting up Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.)

walterk on December 10, 2016 at 10:40 am

The Grand Lake lost their Assistant Manager, Denalda Renae (aka Denalda Nicole Siegrist) in the tragic warehouse fire in Oakland last week, I’ve just uploaded a picture of the marquee paying tribute to her and the other victims.

A memorial gathering for Denalda and all of the victims will be held in the main auditorium this Tuesday, December 13, all are welcome. More details are available on the Grand Lake’s website

Trolleyguy on July 23, 2017 at 7:19 am

1947 picture added to Photos section.

Coate on August 24, 2017 at 11:48 am

When was the Grand Lake converted to a 4-plex? (I believe it occurred some time between 1982 and 1986. Can anyone confirm?)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 24, 2017 at 12:24 pm

Renaissance Rialto’s web page says the balcony was converted for a second screen in 1981 and that storefronts in the building were converted into screens three and four in 1985.

rivest266 on August 16, 2018 at 3:28 pm

2 screens on June 19th, 1981 and four on July 12th, 1985. Grand opening ads in the photo section.

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