SF theater sells $1 movie tickets for 100th anniversary

Photo of Dan Gentile

The Castro Theatre is a historic movie palace in San Francisco that became San Francisco Historic Landmark No. 100 in September 1976.

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On June 22, 1922, one of San Francisco’s most iconic institutions opened its doors. The Castro Theatre officially celebrates its centennial anniversary today, and as a gift to loyal fans, the theater will screen five of the most iconic movies in the city’s history for only a buck per ticket (plus, of course, a $.50 fee).

The programming is an interesting mix of movies, nodding to several beloved blockbusters as well as a few classic films that might be less familiar for modern audiences. Of course Robin Williams’ comedic opus “Mrs. Doubtfire” is included (1:00 p.m.), as well as the gritty Clint Eastwood action flick “Dirty Harry” (3:30 p.m.). The most epic car chase in film history will also screen, with Steve McQueen’s “Bullitt” playing at 8:15 p.m.

All those films could certainly be called vintage at this point, but there’s also a few movies that speak to earlier days of San Francisco cinema. Released in 1936, “San Francisco” (10:30 a.m.) starring Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald and Spencer Tracy takes place during the 1906 earthquake. “Sudden Fear” (6:00 p.m.) starring Joan Crawford and Jack Palance is a classic film noir from 1956 that earned four Oscar nominations.

Although the Castro Theatre’s rich cinematic history has been spotlighted this month — including the 46th annual Frameline Festival, which runs through June 26 — the venue’s future as a movie house is uncertain. Concert promoter Another Planet Entertainment took over management duties in January and is leading a renovation effort, causing some community members to question whether the theater will remain committed to showing movies.

Today, the San Francisco Chronicle broke news of the Save the Castro Theatre campaign (SFGATE and the San Francisco Chronicle are both owned by Hearst but operate independently of one another). The campaign features a petition protesting plans to remove the seats on the auditorium floor in favor of tiered platforms that cater more to concerts than movies. The campaign is spearheaded by the Castro Theatre Conservancy, which has a long list of famous supporters including Martin Scorsese, Tilda Swinton, David Byrne and dozens of other notable entertainment figures.

For information and tickets for the centennial screenings, visit Another Planet’s website.

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