Roxie Retrofit

The Roxie is looking at making some changes, and they’re interested in some feedback from the community. The historic theater is under new management, and they want to make the place great again, so here’s what they want to know:

Is it the programming?  Less documentaries?  Repertory programming?  Midnight movies?

What about a membership program that included talks with local directors or classes or VIP access to local events?  Discounts to local merchants? Would you be willing to pay $5/month for a membership program like that?

Is it the seats? Do you honestly really care about the damn seats?  Would you rather have us invest money into a coherent visible marquee for showtimes or new seats with cupholders?

Is it the concessions? Do you want to see organic local gourmet treats? Maybe – but are you willing to pay more for them?  Or are you perfectly happy to have Skittles be your dinner during the 6:00pm show?

What about music events?  Would you pay extra to see your favorite local band before the 8:00pm show?

What about film contests? Are you one of those people that gets off on the 48 Hour Film Festival and your shot at a potential 15 min of fame? If you’re into it, would you be willing to coordinate it as part of a neighborhood organization?

More bike parking?

More free movie posters?

More events like the “Up the Oscars” annual party?

More weird toppings for the popcorn?

How do you feel about our recent $5 Mondays? Yeah, if you like it so much, how come you’re not in line? (Besides the fact that you figured out we haven’t shown pornos here since 1974…)

I hope the bathrooms stay the same; they’re very photogenic. But how about serving beer and pizza, like that badass (and very community-oriented) Parkway Speakeasy Theater in Oakland?

Get in touch via the Roxie Theatre Facebook Page, or shoot an email to sfschism(att)yahoo(dott)com.

Photo by Melissa Gira.

9 Responses to “Roxie Retrofit”

  1. bennyinsf says:

    As someone who is over 6 feet tall, I think the seats are incredibly uncomfortable. This is a common problem with older theaters, and the Roxie is about as bad as it gets. Even when the movie that is currently billed sounds interesting, I always consider whether I can stand to sit uncomfortably for 90 minutes to two full hours when I can just rent the video or dvd. Also, a second bathroom would help. So definitely, for me, it’s about comfort.

  2. holly says:

    I have only been to the Roxie once, which is unfortunate because I live two blocks away. BUT the biggest reason I have never gone back wasn’t anything even on your list….it was your STAFF that was an absolute nightmare. They were rude, completely unhelpful, arrogant jerks…all three of them (we came in contact with three). It was disgusting how rude they were. So, Roxie, just an FYI…no amount of architectural change, food change or “discount days” will hide staff members who treat people like crap.

  3. HA Kidd says:

    True the seats are uncomfortable – The Darkroom has better seats- but I think go classic rep – Breathless and other French new wave, SF Centric films – less contemporary doc’s and do Midnight shows ala the Place theater of old – First a live act loose and amateur – old short subject on VD – then the main feature a great B movie or really obscure foreign film, but a beer and wine license would be the best ! And the thing is you need the 18 to 30 crowd to be viable so show some stuff they crew up with and were warped by Best of Luck!

  4. Eric in SF says:

    First off, I had to google to find out the Roxie is no longer associated with New College. I honestly was like “What? They’re supposed to be closing any day now because New College went under!”

    Secondly, I saw a blurb outside the theatre last week poo-pooing “elitist reserved seating.” – a jab at The Kabuki from what I could tell. Well guess what? This theatre-goer is now over 35 and really REALLY wants the reassurance of a decent seat when I go to the movies. Why insult a target audience like that? Figure out a way to offer reserved seating, alcohol, and improve the seats and you’re halfway there.

    Thanks for asking everyone’s opinion!

  5. mymissionrules says:

    I used to love the Roxy but it has really gone down. The mini Roxy 2 doors down is an absolute disaster. The lights dont seem to work (someone had to screw the bulb on the wall to turn it on and off last time i was there). Plus they seem to have festivals there and you think ‘oh cool it is at the Roxy’ but you show up and it is at the Roxy 2. I would never willingly buy tix for the Roxy 2, but i seem to fall for the bait and switch.

    The floors are so sticky and the chairs are gross in the main roxy. I really do have some great memories of this place from 10 years ago and would be open to going there more often if the bar was raised.

    Basically, close the Roxy 2, that is a waste of time. Put the rest of the resources into a proper facelift. Allow people to bring outside food and drink (a roxy tradition) and show some innovative movies that you cant rent on netflix.

  6. brianinsanfran says:

    The seats are a nightmare. Get new seats. Comfort is my number one concern when going to a movie. I’m 6’2″ and 260# and will not sit in a tiny wooden seat. If I’m not comfortable I can’t enjoy the movie.

    Are you doing any programming geared to the Latino community? You are in the mission.
    Not only art house/film festival fare, but maybe classics and hits in Spanish too.

    A horror movie festival the week of Halloween. A classic porn festival would be fun. Get Good Vibrations to sponsor it. HA!

    Don’t try to steal Midnight Mass’s thunder, but get a local performer to host movies and do shows.

    Hosting classes and “meet the maker” type events seem like a great idea. You should try to get them broadcast on KQED radio and podcast them too.

    As far as the concessions go you should offer the standards, but just let people bring in their own food. Most everyone does anyway.

    The marquee is great! Don’t change it. It’s classic and beautiful and a symbol of all that is good in the Mission. But a coherent monthly schedule posted in the front window would be nice.

    Have you heard of the new movie karaoke where people read the dialogue while the movie is playing behind them. FUN!

  7. EH says:

    Back to basics. Copy the Parkway and Castro programming sensibility and work in neighborhood preferences and requests as you re-establish yourselves. I do note that I go to the Castro less since they fired their longtime programmer a few years ago, but you’re starting fresh since I can’t imagine anybody loving the current calendar.

    For me, I stopped paying attention to the Roxie about three or four years ago when they suddenly stopped printing calendars. I realize it was probably a cost-cutting measure, but totally stupid in a business sense. I guess I can just ascribe that to the tards at New College: “Hey man, if people are *really into it* they’ll find a way to figure out what’s playing.”

    Midnight movies? Not unless there’s an outcry. Waste of money otherwise.

    There’s a ton of foot traffic by the Roxie every weeknight with people walking from BART. Sure, they might be yuppies, but not everyone is jazzed by the two-week run of “My Dinner With Medea Benjamin’s Colon.” $5 Mondays are implicated here, in spades: you have to have good programming.

    So those were my first impressions of the idea of a successful Roxie. Now, looking at the website the Roxie does appear to be stepping up its game, but I’d warn against focussing too much on Second Run at the expense of Repertory.

    I guess my basic advice is to start giving a shit, because it’s been in short supply of late.

  8. TL says:

    Work out some deal with the Alamo Draft House in Austin and turn it in to one awesome eating, drinking, and movie going experience.

  9. [...] Roxie Retrofit. Hot changes being made to The Roxie. [...]

  10. gwendefortun says:

    I’m one of those BART commuters and I have to say I pretty much agree with EH’s programming note. I have been less than intrigued by most of the runs at the Roxie lately and harbor nostalgia for the Castro programming of old. I’d be interested on someone’s take on establishing this generation’s canon. Are there, on the horizon, any inheritors of Altman, Tarkovsky, Herzog, Kubrick, Lubitz, Hitchcock, Fellini? I’d love to find out. I love seeing new international films. I tend to ignore the kneejerk, the bitter, and the obsessive

    I hear the suggestions about food, but actually don’t want to go that way. Unlike the Parkway’s neighborhood, there’s plenty of easily consumed food and beverage around. I personally don’t like much more than the smell of popcorn and coffee in my theater. But that’s just me.

    Yeah. Roxy 2 is an oddly dark, barren and imbalanced venue. Do with it what you will.

    As for seats… since you’re asking… I suppose I do care. I am a slim woman with shortish legs and I hate the current trend toward installing seats that are 3 inches higher off the ground. My thigh-bones don’t bend, so it puts strain on my lower back. BART seats are suddenly uncomfortable now, for example. I prefer the old fashioned seating in Roxy 1 to Roxy 2′s wobbly massive armchairs.

    Best wishes for the new year!

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