On the heels of a brutally long stoppage since the first shelter-in-place order in March, with an incredibly brief reopening in summer 2020, the CineArts Sequoia movie theater, which opened as a single screen theater in February 1929, the same year as the stock market crash, reactivate the projectors on May 14. They did so at an opportune moment, as the state of California issued guidance at the end of April that movie theaters in counties like Marin that are in the Orange tier could reopen to “50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer.”
The theater reopened with The Father, for which legend Anthony Hopkins won Best Actor at the 2021 Academy Awards. Beginning May 28, the theater will feature both Cruella, starring Emily Blunt in the iconic role, as well as The Quiet Place Part II, director John Krasinski’s follow-up to the smash hit 2018 horror film.
“Obviously a lot of studios have responded to consumer demand for streaming films at home, but not every wants to watch films on their TV – there is still very much a strong appetite to watch films on the big screening of a movie theater,” says Beatriz Herrera, the manager at the CineArts Sequoia. There’s nothing like it.”
Herrera says the theater allows customers to easily book tickets online, and that her team has implemented an array of safety and cleanliness protocols.
The Sequoia theater was designed by the Reid Brothers of San Francisco and built by Blumenthal Theaters, Inc. for $125,000. Records at the Mill Valley Library’s Lucretia Little History Room indicate that the theater was named by Ralph Kliewe, a local student who won a naming contest and thus got to watch movies there for free for a year.
In 2006, Cinemark acquired Century Theatres, and has operated the theater as CineArts Sequoia ever since. CFI plans to eventually renovate the Sequoia, which has long been the centerpiece of MVFF and which CFI bought for $2.5 million in 2008 after an expansive community fundraising campaign.
Here’s the trailer for The Father, which closes Thursday, May 27:
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