Sundance Kabuki

1881 Post Street,
San Francisco, CA 94115

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 6, 2013 at 11:30 am

Photos of the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas can be seen on this page at the web site of ELS Architecture and Urban Design, the Berkeley firm that designed the renovation. D.Jamie Rusin was the principal architect for the project.

Previously, ELS has been involved in several restoration and adaptive reuse projects at historic theaters. The include the conversion of the Portland Theatre, Portland, Oregon, into the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall; the expansion and restoration of the California Theatre in San Jose; the restoration of the Fox Theatre in Oakland; and the expansion and restoration of the Grand Theatre at Tracy, California, for the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts.

hdtv267
hdtv267 on September 1, 2012 at 7:10 am

I might be because of the alcohol- but one of the fun things about Top ten lists is that it’s up for debate. I’ve not been to the Sundance Kabuki, so I can’t speak of my own experience.

But, the SF Weekly named it number 1 in this recent poll..

http://blogs.sfweekly.com/exhibitionist/2012/08/top_10_bay_area_movie_theaters.php?page=2

darquil
darquil on April 24, 2010 at 11:35 pm

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

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on April 4, 2010 at 10:38 pm

When AMC acquired the former Japantown theater and made it a part of an eight-screen multiplex, it also acquired as part of the deal another operation called the Kabuki Hot Springs which was also a part of the original Japantown complex. It was a recreation of a traditional Japanese communal bath with the traditional amenities including the baths, massages, etc. (The exterior appears in the James Bond film “A View to a Kill” though the interior scene was probably filmed at Pinewood).

AMC actually gave it go although the idea of a Kansas City theater chain operating a business of this type was really laughable. The business was popular, and when it began to decline under AMC’s management, it was later sold off. It still exists today as the Kabuki Springs and Spa. There’s discussion of this odd little episode here: View link

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on April 4, 2010 at 10:13 pm

A picture of the Sundance Kabuki lobby from the theater’s website: http://sundancecinemas.com/kabuki.html and another of the entrance: View link

The atrium entrance and lobby were originally modifications made by AMC; after becoming a Sundance operation the lobby area was given an upgrade.

Scott Neff
Scott Neff on April 4, 2010 at 7:59 pm

The photo Chuck posted on 5/22/09 is NOT the Sundance Kabuki. The Kabuki was originally built by AMC and looks very much like a multiplex.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on April 4, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Nice photo Chuck.

darquil
darquil on April 4, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Seating capacities for the eight auditoriums are as follows (unless otherwise noted, the source of each number is the posted maximum occupancy sign outside each auditorium; counts include spaces for wheelchairs):
1 – 327 (downstairs), 182 (balcony) = 509 (summarized by online seating chart; downstairs count differs from posted occupancy of 305)
2 – 99
3 – 178
4 – 162
5 – 171
6 – 151
7 – 57 (manual count from online seating chart)
8 – 57 (manual count from online seating chart)
Total seats: 1384

stevenj
stevenj on December 12, 2007 at 11:16 am

The Sundance Kabuki officially opens Friday Dec 14th. Check out this link for the whole story on the transformation of SF’s first mutiplex to SF’s “greenist” theater.

View link

domino1003
domino1003 on April 12, 2007 at 4:06 pm

I was one of the first group of employees hired when the Kabuki opened in 1986, and I was there until 1991. In all that time I saw so many films, both good and bad. I saw my first Pedro Almodovar film, and worked at the first SF International Film Festival that the theater had. I met lots of people, including Danny Glover, Robin Williams and Bonnie Raitt (I remember she needed help because she lost some magazines). When I found out that the theater was aquirred by Sundance Cinemas, a part of me was sad. It’s nice that they will still show films there (I am also a fan of indies and foreign films), but I’ll miss the memories of the first few years that I was there.

sjh5764
sjh5764 on December 3, 2006 at 6:15 am

The Kabuki was also an excellent concert venue. I saw many acts there during the 80s, including The Cure and Stevie Ray Vaughn. It was great because the stage was set so low.

In the early 70s my 1st grade teacher brought our class there to see Kabuki Noh dancers.

timmytoy
timmytoy on July 25, 2006 at 8:06 pm

State OKs Kabuki sale to Sundance

The state attorney general’s office has approved the purchase of San Francisco’s AMC Kabuki multiplex by Sundance Cinemas.

The aspiring independent movie theater chain affiliated with Robert Redford plans to renovate the eight-screen theater to include stadium-style seating. It will be renamed Sundance Kabuki.

Sundance has agreed to operate the Kabuki as a first-run movie theater until 2011. The attorney general’s office required AMC to divest the Kabuki as well as its 14-screen theater at 1000 Van Ness Ave. in order to complete its merger with Loews.

The Sundance schedule will include independent and foreign language films as well as documentaries and classics. Renovation is scheduled to begin this month. An early fall reopening is planned.

— Pia Sarkar

jackeboy
jackeboy on July 23, 2006 at 4:31 pm

It is still open, however in the SF Chronicle listings it is no longer listed as an AMC theater, but just as the Kabuki

John Fink
John Fink on March 24, 2006 at 2:47 am

View link

It will reopen in late summer or fall.

John Fink
John Fink on March 23, 2006 at 4:40 pm

Not only will this remain open but will become a Sundance Cinema. Whats odd about this move is Sundance Cinemas was one of many things to lead to the bankruptsy of General Cinema as Redford refused to remodel existing GC locations in upscale locations. It also didn’t help that Redford wanted to spend 2 million dollars per-screen on such weird ideas as natural fiber seats and retractable roofs (this was planned for Portland, OR). GC was later bought by AMC. Redford has aquired what I susspect is a well run and popular house and plans to retrofit at least 5 screens with stadium seating and add two bars in the complex. It will undoubtably be trendy and I can’t wait to see it. It will soon be known as the Sundance Kabuki 8.

fliknpins
fliknpins on March 18, 2006 at 10:13 pm

The main auditorium seats over 700 people on two levels. The theatre has a stage, japanese art deco with hanging red lanterns, and a great balcony. The bottom seats over 400 and the balcony seats over 300. I recently went here while on a trip and was pleased with the AMC Kabuki 8. I cant say anything about theatres 2-8 because i was lucky enough to see a movie in theatre 1. I loved the atrium like lobby that has great views of the city from the top level. I hope this building remains a theatre. This theatre has the cheapest parking at $2.75 w/validation. I mention this because I also went to the AMC Van Ness 14 ($6.00) and the AMC Metreon 15 ($7.00). Going to a movie is expensive enough and its like your buying a movie ticket for your car too.

StevesNostalgia
StevesNostalgia on March 8, 2006 at 9:47 am

The Kabuki is close to where I live and I like that convenience. If a film plays the main auditorium with it’s amazing balcony, by all means GO! That place is amazing. I also love the smaller, more intimate theaters downstairs by the box office. I try to see movies there as often as I can because it’s like being in a private screening room. The other theaters in between…I never liked them. Heads get in the way, they’re small and when people walk up and down the aisle looking for a seat after the movie started, they block the screen.
They should knock those out and make the place just two huge auditoriums and the screening rooms downstairs and the place would be cool. This city doesn’t need a multiplex of 10 screens that play the same 4 films in rotation!

stevenj
stevenj on June 1, 2004 at 6:42 pm

The Kabuki 8 was San Francisco’s first multiplex. The Kabuki Theatre was orginally built for roadshow type Kabuki presentations. There just wasn’t enough Kabuki companies to keep the theatre going full tilt and since the whole idea was to enhance Japantown businesses the theatre was rented out for plays, music concerts and revues. Local producer Sebastian presented Divine in a big flop here called “The Heartbreak of Psoriasis” in the mid 70’s, by then the rows of seats had been replaced with tables and chairs so food and drinks could be sold with the shows. AMC put back the traditional seating and built the other 7 theatres on the Fillmore St side of the theatre. The main theatre (AMC called it “the Big House”) has a gigantic screen and was the first SF theatre to install a THX sound system.

Eric
Eric on May 14, 2004 at 2:45 pm

The first movie to show here was John Waters' HAIRSPRAY

stevemcgarrett
stevemcgarrett on May 9, 2004 at 12:53 am

The Kabuki is nestled right in the heart of “Japantown” in San Francisco. I have been here a couple of times. The upstair cinemas is sorta like mini versions of the AMC 1000 decor on Van Ness. The real deal of the Kabuki is the MAIN auditorium downstairs. The decor is very neat because I saw Crouching TIger Hidden Dragon there. :D BUT the downside is don’t be caught behind the pillars in ANY of the cinemas on the first floor.