Landmark’s 10-screen Shattuck Cinema is an oasis for Berkeley and Oakland film lovers. Probably the largest multiplex in the East Bay devoted primarily to foreign and independent cinema, it usually offers several films worth seeing. As I write this, It’s showing Two Days, One Night, Birdman, Selma, The Theory of Everything, and Wild, and that’s just the films that I’ve seen and given an A or A-.
And although it appears to be profitable, the Shattuck is in danger. The building that contains it is owned by Hill Street Realty LLC, which wants to tear down the building and build an 18-story residential tower in its place. This would require demolishing the multiplex. What’s more, I suspect that "the Residences at Berkeley Plaza" won’t provide affordable homes.
The Shattuck won’t be the only victim. The Habitot Children’s Museum, also in that building, would have to find another home.
Landmark has invested considerably in the Shattuck over the years. The company remodeled the Shattuck in 2008/09, with an improved concession stand and more comfortable seats. They went fully digital a couple of years ago, but kept one 35mm projector just in case.
Which isn’t to day that everything has always been perfect there. My first digital, and first 3D experience at the Shattuck was a considerable disappointment. But generally, the Shattuck has been a great place to see new non-Hollywood films in the East Bay.
According to a San Francisco Business Times article, "The developer plans a new six-screen cinema that would replace the current theater." But six screens isn’t ten, and Hill Street hasn’t promised the theater to Landmark. Besides, "plans" isn’t the same as "signed a contract."