Lumiere closes after 45 years in Nob Hill

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerChoices: The Landmark Theatres chain says films that would have played at the Lumiere can be seen at its other sites in The City.

Moviegoers in Nob Hill will have one less option to see a flick after the Lumiere Theatre closes its doors Sunday.

The three-screen movie house is going dark because it could not reach a lease agreement with its landlord, according Lauren Kleiman, a spokeswoman for the Landmark Theatres, which operates the Lumiere.

“We lost the lease and we were not able to come to terms with a new lease,” she said. “It’s pretty straightforward.”
The Lumiere opened at its California Street location in 1967 with three screens showing independent, foreign and documentary films. Landmark took over operations in 1991.

Kleiman said the titles scheduled to show at the Lumiere could likely be played at any of the four remaining Landmark theaters in San Francisco, which include the Embarcadero Center Cinema, Opera Plaza Cinema, Clay Theatre and Bridge Theatre. Landmark also operates four theaters in Berkeley and two in Palo Alto.

It’s not likely the Lumiere will find another home, Kleiman said.

Fran Hildebrand, director of communications for the Nob Hill Association, said the community is sad to see the theater close.

“We are surprised to hear this news and hate to see them go,” Hildebrand said. “They have been an important part of our neighborhood since 1967.”

The Lumiere is the latest in a string of neighborhood theater closures. The Red Vic Movie House closed in July 2011 after 31 years in the Upper Haight because its operators could no longer afford to run the space.

As many as six theaters have closed in San Francisco in the past decade, while a handful of others have been repurposed into gyms, retail locations and housing. At one time, as many as 74 theaters were operating in San Francisco.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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