The Balboa Theatre
3630 Balboa Street near 38th Avenue, San Francisco
Opened February 7, 1926
On opening day, Mr. [Samuel H.] Levin stated: “In building theaters nearest the home it is my aim to provide entertainment for them of a standard worthy of family patronage. In the New Balboa, as in all my theaters, I seek to supply the comforts and intimate surroundings associated with the higher ideals of home life.”
Architects : The Reid Brothers
Like the Alexandria and the 4-Star, the Balboa split from a single-screen to a mini-multiplex (two screens in 1978) to raise revenue. It’s stayed open offering quality second-run films booked in double features.
The New Balboa (called that because of another Levin Theatre named the Balboa on Ocean Avenue) was designed by renowned architects James and Merritt Reid who designed the Cliff House, Fairmount Hotel, Spreckels Temple of Music in Golden Gate Park and numerous other theaters including the Alexandria and Fox Redwood City. The Levin family had continuously operated the Balboa until February, 2001 when they asked Gary Meyer to take over operation of the cinema rather than close down due to the difficult competition from new megaplexes and changing film distribution patterns. Meyer, an original co-founder of Landmark Theatres and film consultant for the past 6 years, had many fond memories of seeing movies at the Balboa and decided to give it a try. Continuing the 76-year-old policy of playing second run engagements of quality movies in intriguing double feature combinations Meyer explained, “I just can’t let another old theater close. This is an incredible neighborhood of family restaurants and businesses and our audiences appreciate the personalized attention we provide.”