UA Galaxy

1285 Sutter Street,
San Francisco, CA 94109

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Galaxy Theater  San Francisco, CA  Oct 1997

Viewing: Photo | Street View

A San Francisco fourplex along the Van Ness Avenue corridor. Built for United Artists at a cost of $7 Millions, the Galaxy opened on February 17, 1984 with THX certified sound.

It was closed on December 15 2005, and was demolished in August/September 2011.

Contributed by Garrett Murphy

Recent comments (view all 24 comments)

HelenH on October 21, 2010 at 3:31 pm

The Galaxy is not to be missed, but I mean that in a negative way. “A movie palace for the 1980s”? Well, the ‘80s sucked in many ways.

The Galaxy was architecturally weird, with glass for glass’s sake and an interesting look from the outside, but inside it was basically a mall multiplex with an unfriendlier layout. Points for a big screen, a fine sound system, and a staff that kept the projection in focus. But the seats were oddly uncomfortable and the restrooms were upstairs from the auditoriums, an ordeal for anyone who’s not athletic. If it’s a palace it’s a palace designed by someone who didn’t like movies or didn’t like movie palaces (or didn’t like either).

CaptBill on September 4, 2011 at 10:09 am

The Galaxy is now being demolished. (September 2011) Don’t know if anything will go up in its place, but condos were at once planned for the site.

SkotFromTheRio on February 20, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Admittedly, the ol' “stack of phone booths” was far from an architectural gem, but it had auditoriums designed for widescreen and surround, so in it’s time it was state-of-the-art in terms of presentation.

When they showed TERMINATOR 2, they performed an interesting experiment: one screen showed T2 in 35mm and digital surround (Early DTS) and another screen had T2 in 70mm and Dolby 6-track.

Even though I was managing another theatre (the Metro), I had an opportunity to program a few midnights there. We found a print of OKLAHOMA! in Todd-AO (30 fps!) and it did pretty well— though we thought the projector was going to fly apart. WE did really well with a October midnight screening of THE EXORCIST in 70mm. It was an original roadshow print from the 70s, and the reds had faded a bit, but the sound was amazing.

SnoozeKing on June 20, 2012 at 4:58 pm

I worked as an assistant manager there in the early 1990s. The district manager, Larry Levin, set my salary at $592 per month, thereby making me the lowest-paid full-time manager in the Bay Area. The manager in charge of training me was Marc Johnson. He said, “You are in the impossible position of having to try to learn something from me.” Marc was an accountant moonlighting at the Galaxy. He got mad at me once and threw my lunch into the garbage while I was eating it; he lived with an anchorwoman and said he was leaving town to study medicine at USC (did he graduate?)

The Galaxy ran many bad movies and its receipts each night were often minuscule, so I wondered how long would survive. Instead of hiring a professional projectionist, they used one of the managers (often me; I nearly wrecked a brand-new print of Terminator 2). I had also worked as a manager at a Blumenfeld theatre and often asked myself, “Can these companies be any stingier?”

HowardBHaas on June 20, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Is that the Regency I on the left in the demolition photos linked by NothingDiesButBlueSkies?

CSWalczak on June 20, 2012 at 9:03 pm

It is the Regency II; the Regency I was around the corner in the same block but facing Van Ness.

od_sf on October 29, 2012 at 2:38 pm

The galaxy was one of nine theaters across the US to feature an exclusive one-time showing of the entire Star Wars trilogy on March 28, 1985.

Zubi on October 29, 2012 at 6:40 pm

od_sf – You’re thinking of the Coronet Theatre, which played that 1985 single triple bill performance for the Bay Area. Coronet-San Francisco was a huge and venerable single-screen. The Galaxy, while very nice and having THX, was a multiplex with smaller auditoriums. In Los Angeles, however, the triple bill did show at two locations: UA Egyptian Theatres-Hollywood (in the original Grauman’s portion, which was an enormous palace back then [before Cinematheque butchered it in 1999]) and GCC Avco Center Cinemas-Westwood (a multiplex but one with a decent size main auditorium then [befoe it too was carved up in 1993] and THX).

robertcampbell on February 25, 2016 at 12:47 am

Saw “The Color Purple” there. The auditorium we were in had a nice size screen and great sound system with the screen having curtains that opened and closed. Lobby had a interesting layout with the pay phones and restrooms upstairs. Only went there a few times. It seemed that no one seemed to miss it after it was demolished.

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