If you were planning to go see The Lost City at the Kabuki Theater this week, you may want to seek out showtimes elsewhere. The theater is closed "until further notice."
The AMC Kabuki 8, the cinema that has gone through a couple changes of ownership and brand names in the last couple decades, suddenly closed in the middle of operating hours Tuesday. The reason, as the Chronicle reports, was the failure of a generator that powers the theater's emergency lights, which come on in case of a power outage.
A sign posted outside the theater now says it is "closed until further notice."
The AMC Kabuki 8 movie theater, a cornerstone of San Francisco’s Japantown since 1960, is closed indefinitely because of an issue with emergency lighting, according to the theater chain.https://t.co/LefmWQqhvK— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) April 13, 2022
A company rep, who for some reason had to speak anonymously to the Chronicle, says, "It’s just one of those things where you know the odds that the actual lights would go out are slim to none, but when you don’t have the emergency lighting available, you don’t want to take that chance."
So, out of an abundance of caution, the theater is closed while the generator is either fixed, replaced, or another solution is found.
Two years ago, the AMC Kabuki had a spate of trouble with fire alarms going off during screenings, and people getting evacuated and handed movie vouchers to come back another time. The reason, the company said at the time, was likely people vaping in the theater and setting off a very sensitive smoke detection system.
It's not clear whether Tuesday's issue with the emergency lights interrupted anyone's movie-watching. The Chronicle only reported that the theater closed "abruptly" in the middle of the day or evening.
Sidebar: There's some notable history with this theater, which before being converted to a movie house in the 1980s was an actual, traditional kabuki theater showing Japanese dramatic productions, and then was used as a music venue. When they were on their Murmur Tour in 1983, REM performed there, and there's a sweaty photo below from backstage.
R.E.M. poses backstage at the Kabuki Theater during the band's "Murmur" tour on November 11, 1983 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Randy Bachman pic.twitter.com/4ym3avRE12— KEZ O))) (@kezwilliams13) April 9, 2022
Update: An SFist commenter who was at the theater Tuesday says, "It absolutely happened mid-movie to ALL screens with hundreds in the audience. We were an hour and ten minutes into 'Everything Everywhere All at Once' when the screen went dark. I don't trust their explanation. When I stepped out thinking 'well, I might as well pee now,' a staff member told me there was a mechanical failure that shut down ALL the screens in every theater. All the other electrics were woking. I don't imagine a failure of a backup generator would stop all the projectors."
So yes, odd!
Photo via Yelp