We’ve seen this movie many times before as theaters try to emerge from the pandemic slump, but this one's truly the end of an era, as the 88-year-old Albany Twin theater on Solano Avenue suddenly closed permanently on Thursday.
A brutal week on the Bay Area movie theater front is ending on an even worse note. We had already been stunned by news that the Westfield Centre mall movie theater was closing permanently, and its last day in business would be Thursday, June 15. And now KTVU brings us the news that Thursday was also the last day in business for the Albany Twin, the 88-year-old two-screen movie theater at Solano and San Pablo Avenues in Albany.
Have not seen anything in the news but according to a random Nextdoor poster the Albany Twin is closing, last day tomorrow — bad if true!! pic.twitter.com/PoeLa2Ozck— kelly p. (@k_pendergrast) June 14, 2023
Word initially leaked out via a Nextdoor post saying that “Our daughter has been working at Albany Twin for the last year and yesterday she stunned us with this news. Our beloved Albany Twin wasn’t able to negotiate a new rental agreement, so after 80 years of serving our town, they are closing their doors this week.”
Another one bites the dust. Looks like tomorrow is the last day for the @LandmarkLTC Albany Twin on Solano. No shows scheduled after tomorrow, and they removed Asteroid City from the Coming Soon section.— Ste (@stefifofum) June 14, 2023
The Albany Twin has been a Landmark Theaters movie house since 1994. Landmark spokesperson Mark Mulcahy said in a statement to KTVU that "Landmark Theatres is constantly evaluating its business strategy and has decided to close the Albany Twin. We are proud to have served its community over its many years of operation."
But Berkeleyside had a little more inside information confirming what was alleged in the Nextdoor post. “Buck Cendejas, Albany Twin’s general manager, said the movie house was closing because Landmark wasn’t able to come to a new lease agreement with the property owner,” that site reports.
Landmark also operated the Embarcadero Center Cinema that closed in February 2022, and Pac Heights’ Clay Theatre that closed shortly before the pandemic. But Landmark is a national chain that still has a about two dozen theaters still operating across the county, including the Opera Plaza Cinema here in San Francisco, and the Piedmont in Oakland.
But the pandemic has wrecked and force the closures of SF small movie houses like the CineArts Empire theater in West Portal that closed in February 2021, and big multiplexes like the CGV San Francisco 14 (formerly the AMC 1000 Van Ness) that closed in February of this year. In the East Bay, the closure of the Albany Twin comes just four months after the closure of the Regal UA on Shattuck Avenue, though Berkeley’s Rialto Cinemas Elmwood remains in operation.
Image: Anthony W. via Yelp