Opera Plaza Cinema
601 Van Ness Avenue,
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Landmark Theatres(USA) (Official)
Operated by: Landmark Theatres (USA)
Previously operated by: Pacific Theatres, Renaissance Rialto
Functions: Movies (Foreign), Movies (Independent)
An unsung art-house fourplex with a total seating capacity of 450, opened November 16, 1984, developed by Allen Michaan as part of a shopping and office plaza near the Civic Center. Now operated by Landmark Theatres. It was renovated in 2021 with new recliners seats reducing the seating capacity to 185. Screen 1 has 74-seats, Screen 2 has 68-seats, Screen 3 has 25-seats & Screen 4 has 18-seats,
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Recent comments (view all 16 comments)
I love this theater. It is a definite throwback to the 80’s with the neons and the reflective ceiling. The popcorn is always fresh and the bathrooms always clean. The movies they show are mostly foreign and independent films, as they are part of the Landmark chain. They usually get movies that have been playing for a little while at the Embarcadero Center Cinema or the Clay, which means that they will undoubtedly be getting the films that are doing better. While the screens are not very large, the projection and sound is always top notch and the small auditoriums make it seem like an exclusive movie event put on just for you. A very nice movie theater experience. I hope this theater stays open for many years to come!
Caught one of the final theatrical showings of All Is Lost here on Thanksgiving evening – tiny room, but that didn’t matter once the show began. And I was thrown for a minute when I realized we were watching an actual 35mm print – scratches, dust and all – and not a digital presentation. That is old school!
If they’re still running 35mm, then I assume the Opera Plaza’s days are numbered.
Exterior and lobby photos from July 2015.
A change of use application has been filed with the SF Planning Dept to convert the Opera Plaza into retail space:
November 16th, 1984 grand opening ad in the photo section.
That grand opening add is such a lie. There is nothing magnificent about this theatre. While it has its charm, it may be one of the worst places to see a movie in northern California. That being said, I love it for what it is.
The SF Neighborhood Theatre Foundation, which owns the Vogue and leases the Balboa, has secured a ten year lease at the Opera Plaza. $1.2M in updates will be undertaken, funded by local philanthropists. The theatre is not expected to close entirely during this work, which includes unspecified interior upgrades and improved signage. Long term disruptive construction along Van Ness will conclude next year and it is hoped this theatre will take advantage of renewed interest in the neighborhood. Landmark will remain the operator. Great news from the SFNTF! I appreciate the convenient of this intimate theatre, but it has gotten really threadbare, so I look forward to the renovation.
“Landmark’s Opera Plaza Cinema, whose future was uncertain to due to the pandemic and which a property owner at one point wanted to convert into office space, is set to reopen Friday, Nov. 19, with a couple of San Francisco classics and some new art house fare on its screens.”
The SF Chronicle story here: OperaPlaza
Please update, total seats 185 Screen 1 74 Screen 2 68 Screen 3 25 Screen 4 18 Source: Landmark rsvp ticketing webpage
FROM LANDMARK THEATRES WEBSITE: Renovations include new state-of-the-art auditoriums with large screens, luxury recliners and rockers. A new greatly expanded concession stand will allow for upgraded food and beverage service, including the introduction of beer and wine in the coming months. New digital signage and a fresh interior design are among the remodel features.