Balboa Theatre

3630 Balboa Street,
San Francisco, CA 94121

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Showing 26 - 44 of 44 comments

darquil on April 24, 2010 at 11:43 pm

I’ve posted information and photos from two recent visits:

darquil on March 14, 2010 at 9:21 pm

As posted above the doors, maximum occupancy for the two auditoriums are as follows:

1: 307

2: 226

Total seating capacity: 533

thomasgladysz on February 24, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Here is a link to a new article about the Balboa theater and its annual birthday bash:

View link

jcobc on October 14, 2007 at 4:46 pm

The Balboa was the first theater I ever went to and will always be a favorite. We saw everything there when I was a kid – “Sound of Music”, “Thoroughly Modern Millie”, and of course, “Help” and “Hard Days Night”. I was disappointed that it had been converted to a twin later, but at least some of the original architectural charm remained. I can still very vividly remember a trip to the Sugar Bowl Bakery with my grandmother, followed by a matinee of Disney’s Jungle Book in 1968.

terrywade on August 11, 2007 at 4:25 pm

Does anyone know if the Balboa has Dolby Digital or a reguler stereo set up with surrounds? Last time I went it was mono sound. If they are now showing first run films please put in a better sound system. Most people now have Dolby Digital at home. Some day I hope they take out the wall down the middle and turn it back to single screen. I don’t like the narrow long look it is in know.

LFOP on September 20, 2006 at 4:49 pm

Currently on display in the Balboa’s lobby is a black and white photo exhibit of small town American theaters, “Last Frame of Picture”

jackeboy on August 4, 2006 at 1:47 pm

The Balboa has reverted back to being a neighborhood second run double feature house, as the San Francisco media and filmgoing public did not support the rep schedule. They are still planning a few special series, but the Balboa’s days as a rep house are over for the time being.

kencmcintyre on October 28, 2005 at 3:43 pm

From the San Francisco Public Library website:

View link

View link

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on February 10, 2005 at 5:32 pm

The Balboa Theatre was built for the Samuel H. Levin chain of neighborhood theatres known as San Francisco Theatres Inc. It opened on 7th February 1926.

trooperboots on December 25, 2004 at 5:02 pm

I saw a great double feature there about 1995… “Shawshank Redemption” and “Ed Wood”… a quaint little theater and very nicely kept up. Also some nice deco touches as I recall!

schlizzy on September 2, 2004 at 2:52 pm

I am a big fan of neighborhood theaters and the Balboa is my favorite (and within walking distance from home!). I have seen several photographs around town of various neighborhood theaters (including the Balboa) and would like to know where I can buy copies of these. Suggestions? Thanks!

GaryMeyer on March 17, 2004 at 12:15 am

The etched glass light fixtures and the bas relief mural mentioned in the first posting have just been lovingly restored. Wow. We are really proud of them.

sdoerr on February 24, 2004 at 4:50 am

Sounds great Gary, here is a correction to the link,

GaryMeyer on February 24, 2004 at 1:01 am

As the Balboa approaches its 78th Anniversary, a big birthday bash is planned for Thursday, Feb. 26. WINGS will be screened with an original score performed by Nik Phelps of Sprocket Ensemble. It will be preceded by Melies A TRIP TO THE MOON, Felix the Cat in ASTRONOMEOWS, silent trailers, a vaudeville show with classic magician James Hamilton and San Francisco’s own “It” girl, Suzanne Ramsey as Kitten on the Keys plus prizes and birthday cake.

ADA upogrades are apace and the stunning paint job in the lobby higlights the interior deco detail. The broken etched glass lamp shades are being replicated and little by little the Balboa will become a deserving gem.

Audiences already love the theater for its good movie selection, low prices and friendly staff. It publishes a weekly email newsletter (subscribe at website:

gsmurph on February 5, 2004 at 4:03 am

Though the Balboa was originally a single-screen theater (one wonders what its auditorium and screen looked like as such), it was divided into two screens (about 1970’s?), and hence is now a duplex.

William on December 4, 2003 at 12:50 pm

As a single screen theatre the Balboa Theatre seated 763 people.

William on October 24, 2003 at 10:30 am

The Balboa Theatre is located at 3630 Balboa Street.

Tillmany on June 28, 2002 at 2:27 am

When the Balboa opened in February 1926, San Francisco already had another Balboa Theatre located on Ocean Avenue, on the other side of town, so this one was christened the “New Balboa” to avoid confusion between the two. By 1932 the “other” Balboa had been renamed the Westwood, and closed shortly thereafter, so the “New” was deemed no longer necessary. Ironically, confusion between the two continues to this day among local theatrephiles.

GaryParks on April 20, 2002 at 11:20 pm

This was yet another theatre designed by the prolific Reid Bros. It’s style really isn’t Art Deco. It was originally Spanish Colonial, however the later removal of much of the cast ornament on the facade, and the inclusion of a streamlined marquee and vertical sign in later years, along with beautiful etched glass hanging fixtures in the lobby and an allegorical bas relief of a muse holding Greek masks, make much of the overall feel of the place more Deco than anything else.