Lumiere Theatre

1572 California Street,
San Francisco, CA 94109

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Blumenfeld Theater Circuit, Landmark Theatres (USA), Pacific Theatres

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The Lumiere Theatre

Another of San Francisco’s select art-house cinemas, built in 1974 by Mel Novikoff of Castro Theatre and Surf Theatre fame. It opened January 24, 1975 with “Lenny Bruce Performance Film” & Kenneth Anger’s “Scorpio Rising” & Jack Kerouac’s “Pull My Daisy”. It was taken over by Landmark Theatres in 1991. Seating was provided in the two screens for 100 & 250. It underwent extensive renovations and reopened as a triple screen theatre on December 16, 1983. It was renovated in 2003. The Lumiere Theatre was closed on September 23, 2012 with Francois Cluzet in “The Intouchables”.

Contributed by Garrett Murphy

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

Ian on March 18, 2007 at 12:33 pm

Exterior photo here:–

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terrywade on September 16, 2007 at 1:03 am

I can’t believe Landmark Theatres in San Francisco runs the Lumiere the way they do. It opens 15 min before the show starts if it’s crowded you may miss the previews. Today Sat Sept 15 2007 I went with friends to see the movie ‘Delirous'at the 2pm first mat showing. The 35mm print was so dark after 10 min I walked out to the lobby to find the manager. He told me they had problems with the lamp in Theatre 1 so he turned it up a little. The sound was so low I told him also to turn that up. Strange the previews had good sound but the main feature was way low. No stereo till I complained then he turned on the stereo. Surrounds not split and very low. He told me they don’t have Dolby Digital. How sad a first run tiny shoebox has such a small screen and they don’t even have Digital sound. Most people have a better sound system at home. I called Landmark in LA last year. Someone told me they did have Dolby Digital in the Lumiere Theatre 1. This is not true. Anyone that goes to Theatre 2 & 3 you will see the smallest screens in SF next to the Opera Plaza down the street also run by Landmark. The screen in Theatre 1 is set so high up your neck will hurt. Even if a tall person sat in front of you they still can make the screen a little larger as the masking space is about 2 feet that needs to be filled with film. Watch out if you go; they will turn the lamp down again till you complain. Tell them to put in Dolby Digital 5.1 and upgrade the sound! The movie Delirious is great fun; I enjoyed it but next time I’ll go down to the Cam 12 in San Jose and see it on a larger screen in true stereo! I always love the folks at the candy counters at Landmark as they try to sell you a larger drink and offer you free candy. I guess they get in trouble if they don’t go thru this switch size thing with you. I got a med drink that was the size of a large drink about 2 years ago. You need to sit in the first 5 rows if you want a big screen experience at the SF’s Lumiere. PS also at the start of the film the masking was way off on the sides;someone else complained about that. The manager comes down and pulls a string on the right side to pull in the masking, just like home shades. This was the second day of the new film. The crowd that saw the new print on Friday on the opening day must have been asleep or felt like they were at home watching a small tv screen in mono sound on a low end picture tube ready to go out. Please Landmark Theatres in San Francisco get you act together! You wonder why people even go to this place to watch a film. You will see a better image and sound if you wait to see it at home on a DVD.

darquil on April 25, 2010 at 2:30 am

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

robboehm on May 3, 2011 at 9:23 pm

I saw Bagdad Cafe there in the mid 70’s when it was only a single screen. The information above said it opened around that period but it didn’t strike me as a new space. I wonder if that was intentional.

Edward Havens
Edward Havens on August 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Bagdad Cafe opened in 1987, for the record.

The one and only time I’ve ever been to the Lumiere was to see Sling Blade in late 1996 or early 1997. Don’t remember much about the theatre, other than it felt quaint and antiquated at the time.

CSWalczak on September 20, 2012 at 3:40 am

Here is an article confirming the closing from the San Francisco Chronicle.

ColinG on August 16, 2015 at 12:36 am

The Lumiere was always a bit of a poor stepchild in the world of San Francisco cinemas. Run by the penny-pinching Blumenfeld chain for years and it showed. I don’t think Landmark did much better. They had quite a cockroach problem in auditorium #1 due to the restaurant (still in business) next door.

rivest266 on August 13, 2018 at 9:44 am

This opened on January 24th, 1975. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

rivest266 on August 14, 2018 at 6:31 pm

and three screens opening on December 16th, 1983. Grand opening ad posted.

Pasternak on April 29, 2022 at 11:08 pm

Loved to catch a film here and then get the five spice chicken over rice downstairs on a Saturday afternoon. Saw so many great films here. Miss it.

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