The old Cinema in Corte Madera is probably going away, perhaps to be replaced by housing. The economics of movie theatres just don't favor large, single-screen houses anymore. The Coronet movie palace in San Francisco, known affectionately in the local film business as "The Barn", was razed years ago. That's where I saw Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Aliens, Batman, and a host of event films. That's where we had the company screening of Return of the Jedi with George Lucas, Richard Marquand, plus Carrie Fisher smoking like a chimney in one of the front rows.
The Cinema, though, is where we went one Saturday morning to watch E.T. with Lucas and Spielberg, and is the theatre I mentioned in my Young Sherlock Holmes post. I saw Alien, Bladerunner, and Top Gun there (both in 35mm and 70mm, which was an interesting day).
I was one of the Pixar gang that waited in line for hours to see Episode I, with famously disastrous results, the day this photo was taken:
We so wanted to like that movie. I remember Andrew Stanton pacing up and down in the Cinema's parking lot afterwards, talking to us, or the pavement, or the sky, I can't recall which, and muttering that he didn't want credit, or money, or anything like that, "but please, George, just let me take a look at the next script before you shoot it!"
Anyway, it's true that I sometimes traded LFL shirts for an advance entrance for our group through the side doors when the lines were long. Like for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. When the Mill Valley Film Festival ran the inspired double feature of Tin Toy and The Lair of the White Worm we found those favorite seats cordoned off "for the filmmakers", so we sat one row back. It wasn't until half way through the feature that we realized that we were "the filmmakers" because Ken Russel wasn't coming.
Sigh. I guess it's just as well that I didn't waste any shirts on Episode I.
I'll miss the place. I used to call it "the only decent theatre in Marin". Maybe Marin just won't have a decent cinema anymore. But if you can't give me a truly big screen, I'm better off at home anyway.