When the Lumiere Theatre closed in 2012 after failing to renew its lease — a screening of The Untouchables was its coup de grace — Polk Gulch lost an icon that had been there for 45 years. It capped a streak of closures, including the Red Vic, the Alexandria, the Bridge, and the Coronet. Since then, much has changed with San Francisco’s remaining single-screen theaters and twins, with neighborhood treasures like the 4-Star Theatre rumored to be at risk. Not all landmarks are landmarked, either, with the brutalist Landmark Opera Plaza Cinema scheduled to wind down at some point, too, because it pays very little rent under an unusual arrangement.
Hoodline reports that even big chains are not immune. As of tonight, the AMC Van Ness 14 will abruptly stop screening films, something management did not confirm to the hyperlocal outlet, but you apparently can’t buy tickets for any showings tomorrow. Housed in the 1921 Don Lee building — a former Cadillac dealership that’s is on the National Register of Historic Places — it’s probably no one’s favorite cinema, without the alcohol sales of the Kabuki or the comfy chairs of the Embarca-lounger. It has some wood-and-tile fixtures that look almost like 19th-century baptismal fonts, but you often had to take several escalators even to get to the actual theaters. Lots of Yelpers have groused about the dingy interior, the chilly air, and the lack of concessions, too. Still, if there’s one thing S.F. doesn’t need, it’s more dead commercial spaces, so hopefully Hoodline‘s sources are correct and this will eventually become something else.
You can’t even rent movies through
Lost Weekend Le Video anymore, since the video-store-within-a-theater at the Alamo Drafthouse sold the archives to another Alamo in North Carolina, although Lost Weekend is still available through Video Vortex.
AMC 14 Van Ness, 1000 Van Ness Ave.
This post has been updated to note that it was Le Video and not Lost Weekend that transferred its archives out-of-state.