The Mission's Roxie Theater reopens May 21 with 'Cinema Paradiso'; Balboa reopens with Godzilla fest

Photo: Facebook
By Jay Barmann - Published on May 13, 2021.

At long last, the Mission District's beloved indie movie house, The Roxie Theater (3117 16th St.), has a reopening date. In recent weeks, the theater took an online poll of fans to see what the reopening film should be, more the 14 months after the theater was forced to close. And the verdict is in. On Friday, May 21, the reopening screening will be Cinema Paradiso, the beloved Oscar-winning Italian film from 1988 about a small movie house in Sicily not unlike the Roxie in its modesty.

Referring to Cinema Paradiso, the theater announced on Facebook, "The gloriously romantic and unabashedly sentimental love letter to the romance of the movies and the theaters that show them, plays Friday, May 21!!" 

The Roxie has had various fundraisers to keep it afloat over the last year, but like all theaters it has struggled. And the management has decided to keep capacity lower than the city mandates require, for now. The 49-seat Little Roxie (almost) next door is remaining closed, and the 232-seat main theater will open for only about 60 guests.

“We’re going to keep [capacity] to about 25%. We want to go low,”  says Director of programming Isabel Fondevila, speaking to the Chronicle. “We’re all very excited. We don’t know how it will all play out, but we are ready."

She also added that the theater has upgraded its main lobby and bathrooms, and installed a new air conditioning system. 

Cinema Paradiso will play twice on May 21, and again on May 23 — find tickets here. On May 22, the theater will show Sisters With Transistors, the 2020 documentary by Lisa Rovner all about the pioneering women of electronic music in the late 20th century.

Across town, the Balboa Theater (3630 Balboa St.) is reopening this weekend, beginning May 14, with a festival of monster movies from Japan's Toho Studios dubbed Godzilla’s Monster Bash. The 10-film series goes through Sunday, and includes the original Godzilla from 1954, as well as some of the many follow-up films in the genre including 1961's Mothra, and 1972's Godzilla vs. Gigan.

Get your tickets here and support the Balboa (and sister cinema the Vogue). As Adam Bergeron tells the Chron, at 50% capacity, the showings will basically need to sell out in for him to turn any profit.

Also, in June, when it comes out, look for the Lin-Manuel Miranda-written, Tony-winning musical In the Heights to play at the Vogue.

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