Ken Cinema

4061 Adams Avenue,
San Diego, CA 92116

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Landmark Theatres (USA)

Architects: Simeon Charles Lee

Styles: Streamline Moderne

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News About This Theater

Ken Cinema - San Diego, CA

The Ken Cinema was opened in 1947, designed by noted architect S. Charles Lee in Art Moderne style. It was restored in 1975 after being taken over by the Landmark chain as a showcase for foreign features.

It has since expanded to include independent films and restored classics. It was the last theatre remaining in San Diego which used reel-to-reel carbon arc projectors. The Ken Cinema was also host to FALL OUT, San Diego’s gay and lesbian film festival.

In February 2020 Landmark Theatres announced that the Ken Cinema would close on March 22, 2020. The building was sold in early January 2023, and will no longer be a movie theatre.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 43 comments)

neeb on April 28, 2014 at 4:45 am

And… it will live!

It’ll be closed from Monday to Thursday and be back on Friday, 02 May 2014.

markinthedark on April 28, 2014 at 1:53 pm

I wish Landmark had had the some reaction to community support when they shut the NuWilshire in Santa Monica, Rialto in Pasadena, Egyptian in Seattle, etc. It seems that rather than having a chain of cozy art house theaters as they want to be another Arclight with venues like The Landmark in West LA.

monika on March 23, 2016 at 7:56 pm

Just a quick note to point out that the Ken no longer runs carbon arc as is noted in the description above.

Ftopel on July 19, 2017 at 9:33 pm

Just walked by this theater and took some pics. The movie was on so I couldn’t get the auditorium, but box office, lobby, marquee and an old projector were on display.

neeb on February 23, 2020 at 10:48 pm

“After long consideration and much effort, we regret that we are unable to continue operating the Ken Cinema.”

neeb on February 23, 2020 at 10:49 pm

Closing March 22, 2020.

GaryMeyer on March 17, 2020 at 6:37 pm

Shortly after the Landmark publicist sent out next week’s bookings to the media they sent out a notice they were closing the theaters because of Coronavirus.

While they will re-open someday at least one won’t survive.  The Ken in San Diego was one of the earliest theaters in the chain, for many years a great rep house. Beloved by the locals it had a Crying Room and  Cigar Room (used for private parties and then storage by the time LTC —-actually called Parallax Theatres then—– got it). A dedicated staff made sure it was a welcoming and fun place to see great movies.

But alas…it is closed now forever unless an angel comes to save it.

A loving editorial that also points out the negatives that the writer didn’t mind.

Pasternak on April 29, 2022 at 11:32 pm

Saw countless films here in the late 60s, early 70s. It was repertory theater - two new films every week (maybe more often than that). My girlfriend knew the projectionist. I don’t recall ever paying for a ticket. Saw my first Fellini, Godard, Bergman, Antonioni films here. I learned to love cinema at the Ken theater. Thank you, Shiela.

movieguyphx65 on May 22, 2022 at 6:51 pm

When I lived in San Diego during the 90’s, I lived right around the corner from the Ken Theatre. Next door was the best video store in town, Kensington Video. I was fortunate to many modern classic films on the big screen in glorious 35mm. I saw several great films including Barry Lyndon, Cabaret, A Clockwork Orange, The Exorcist, Taxi Driver and Midnight Cowboy, just to name a few. Great foreign films Das Boot, Pelle the Conqueror, Burnt by the Sun, and Dersu Uzala. It was nice to have the Ken in town, a place I could escape to. Too bad the rising costs of greed, keep theatres like the Ken from existence. For cinephiles, the next best place is Quentin Tarantino’s New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles. One of the few great places left in the country where you can still catch a good old classic movie in 35mm. Thank you Quentin!

m00se1111 on January 5, 2023 at 5:27 am

The Ken Theatre building sold and will no longer be a theatre.

Info here from KPBS

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