The Venerable Bay Area Cinema will close permanently

Shattuck Cinemas, a 10-screen movie theater in the heart of downtown Berkeley, is closing its doors for good, marking another significant loss for the Bay Area movie community following the recent closures of the California Theater and the Embarcadero Center in San Francisco, as well as the somewhat murky future of the Castro Theatre.

Known for its glittering marquee, old-world charm and interior adorned with hieroglyphics on the walls, the cinema housed in what was once Hink’s department store opened in May 1988 and has been operated by Landmark Theaters since 1994. Margot Gerber, a spokesperson for the chain, confirmed the closure to SFGATE in an email Thursday, saying the “owner is moving forward with the redevelopment of the property” and that it would “close effective June 1. “.

Some customers caught wind of the Shattuck’s disappearance earlier this week. Belinda Perez, who lives in Oakland, said she was having a drink at Lot 68 Lounge before a screening of “On the Count of Three” on Tuesday night when she overheard the bartender discussing closing with another patron. She later confirmed the news to an employee at the concession stand, who said the theater’s last day of operation was May 24. The Landmark website currently shows no projections after this date.

“I was really surprised and also disappointed,” said Perez, who has been seeing movies at Shattuck about two or three times a month since moving to the Bay Area in 2005. happy when they reopened last year after the pandemic shut it down, and it looks like they are doing a really good business. Now I wonder what will happen… There are a lot of cinemas in the Bay Area, but not all of them screen films like the Shattuck does.

A proposed project for the building at 2065 Kittredge St. would demolish the theater to make way for an eight-story, 188-unit student housing development with 3,625 square feet of retail space, as well as two public courtyards on Kittredge Street. and Allston Way, according to a plan submitted to the city of Berkeley last month. The project is still awaiting approval.

This leaves Berkeley with only one movie theater downtown – the Regal UA on Shattuck – and although the Elmwood is nearby on College Avenue, it only has three screens. Meanwhile, Landmark will continue to operate four theaters in the Bay Area – the Opera Plaza Cinema in downtown San Francisco, the Albany Twin, Piedmont in Oakland and the Aquarius Theater in Palo Alto.

“The Shattuck’s closure is truly troubling for an already declining film community,” said Courtney Fellion, a film lecturer at San Francisco State University who teaches courses in film exploitation. Noting the changing programming at the Castro Theater and the loss of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s film program, she added, “It’s also one of the few theaters in the East Bay that shows cinema. foreign and independent contemporary. I don’t know how these holes will be filled by popular chains like Regal and AMC.”

Perez also lamented the loss of the Shattuck for its familiar atmosphere and said he’s seen many of the same employees working there for years.

“It feels like a real community is being lost,” she said.

Comments are closed.