In the early 1980s, UC Berkeley alumnus Dan Landis enjoyed access to a bustling city with a wide array of bookstores and movie theaters.
Now, he notes, many of those exciting elements are disappearing — including Downtown Berkeley’s last movie theater.
Located at 2274 Shattuck Ave., Regal UA Berkeley is set to shut down along with 38 other theaters nationwide.
“Movies were a part of my life going to Cal and I just felt like something’s missing now,” Landis said. “If you don’t have movie theaters, where are people going to go to get these common experiences?”
The plan to close down came after Regal Cinemas’ parent company, Cineworld, filed for bankruptcy in September 2022. As first reported by Business Insider, Cineworld plans to reject leases for the theaters starting Feb. 15.
The future of Regal UA Berkeley Theater was previously uncertain during the summer of 2022, when developer Panoramic Interests submitted preliminary development plans to build an apartment complex in its place.
The news of Regal UA Berkeley’s closure is disappointing to many Berkeley community members and moviegoers. Campus junior Haley Brower was surprised at the news of the closure and reflected on positive experiences spent at the theater with her fellow students.
“It’s really bizarre knowing that we don’t have a theater anymore in downtown. Just several years ago, there were multiple,” Brower said in a text message. “I don’t know if it’s signifying the age of streaming movies from home or if it’s a result of the pandemic or both, but I do know it’s sad that Berkeley students who live around campus don’t have a walkable theater.”
Campus junior Stephan Baum-Harvey expressed similar sentiments about the closure, noting his positive experience going to see the latest Spider-Man movie with friends.
However, Baum-Harvey noted that he was not surprised by this news, as the theater had not been modernized or refreshed in years.
“It’s really going to limit the entertainment options for students and overall Berkeley residents,” Baum-Harvey said in an email. “We have had multiple theaters close, and there are no other locations within walking distance, and I would personally be surprised to see any new ones open without large community support.”
For campus freshman Adam Omar, too, news of the Regal UA closure wasn’t surprising. He added that although going out to the movie theater brings nostalgia, people will be inclined to watch movies online and at home.
The Shattuck Avenue location is the last movie theater located in Downtown Berkeley, leaving students with limited access to watch movies in person. According to Baum-Harvey, the closest alternative is the AMC theater in Emeryville, which is still far from campus.
“My hope is that an independent movie theater will move in and fix up the location so that we have a walkable movie theater in Berkeley again,” Brower said in a text message.