Regency 6 theaters in San Rafael.
The big-screen options in the North Bay are about to get a little smaller—the Regency 6 theater in San Rafael is closing permanently.
Staff of the 280 Smith Ranch Road cinema confirmed to NorthBay biz this week that the theater’s final screenings will take place Nov. 25. No explanation for the closure was provided by management, said the employee, who assumed it was a corporate decision.
The Regency has operated at that location since 1983. Owned by the Plano, Texas-based Cinemark Theatres chain, the Regency was known for showing more art-house, independent and documentary films than its nearby Cinemark counterparts at Northgate and Rowland Plaza, which feature more mainstream and bigger box-office titles. Regency staff have been given an option to transfer to the Northgate or Rowland locations.
Commenters on a Marin page of the social media platform NextDoor lamented the closing.
“What a shame. One of the few theatres that didn’t just have superhero and kids’ movies,” commented Novato resident Dianne Grant.
“Awful news! I could always count on this theater for art house films,” commented Marin resident Greg Larson.
Movie theater attendance has dropped precipitously since its early 2000s heyday, when overall box office ticket sales topped 1.5 billion annually, according to the-numbers.com. With the increasing popularity of digital streaming platforms for at-home entertainment, tickets sales haven’t crested a billion since 2019, the year prior to the pandemic when theaters and most other storefront businesses closed for lengthy periods of time.
Despite strong returns this year from unexpected hits like Barbie and Oppenheimer driving overall box office to outpace 2022, this year’s numbers will likely again fail to reach the billion-ticket mark.
While a rise in ticket prices has offset some of the revenue decline at theaters, when adjusted for inflation, 2023 domestic box office revenues are down about 28% from the last non-pandemic year of 2019.
On a recent Friday night visit to the Regency by NorthBay biz editors to screen Killers of the Flower Moon, the theater and concession lobby were nearly empty, save for a handful of patrons.