SAN FRANCISCO — The CineArts at the Empire movie theater in West Portal has closed permanently, San Francisco News can confirm.
Cinemark Theatres, a movie theater chain that owns CineArts at the Empire, told San Francisco News that the cinema will close “as it is nearing the conclusion of its lease term.”
In addition, the chain noted in its official statement that closures like these are “normal course of business and the result of the careful and ongoing review of our theatre fleet, particularly in light of the impact of COVID-19.”
A spokesperson did not respond when asked for the exact date of the theater’s permanent closure and said “we will not be sharing any information beyond” the company’s official statement.
Maryo Morgannam, West Portal business owner and President of the SF Council District Merchants Association, told KQED that the cinema’s permanent closure is “impactful” and said the cinema added “to the symbolic quality of the neighborhood.”
The cinema first opened more than 95 years ago in 1925 with its original name, Portal Theatre. Eleven years later, it was renamed Empire.
About 67 years later, that name was changed again for the final time, this time to CineArts at the Empire.
Cinemark Theatres, headquartered in Plano, Texas, has “533 theatres and 5,974 screens in the U.S. and Latin America as of September 30, 2020,” according to its LinkedIn profile.