These Bay Area Movie Theaters Are Offering Content to Stream at Home

Theaters streaming

With boredom setting in amidst shelter-in-place orders, we’re really starting to miss some of our favorite tried-and-true ways to stay entertained—like seeing a new release at your local movie theater. There’s nothing like seeing a great movie for the first time on the big screen, surrounded by an audience. The power of this experience was recently highlighted by a viral tweet thread that synced an opening-night audience’s reaction to “Avengers: Endgame” to clips from the film. Until we can all get back to the theaters, many local movie theaters, always a center of cultural activity and enrichment, are staying connected to their audiences by streaming content for you to watch at home. Here are some to check out now plus ways to support them.

San Rafael Theater
An empty house at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center.

California Film Institute, San Rafael

In an effort to “uplift, amuse, provoke thought, and invoke great memories,” CFI (that organization brings you Mill Valley Film Festival, the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center, CFI Education, and DocLands Documentary Film Festival) is making weekly, hand-picked selections of favorites that can be streamed online. The picks come with a write-up, and direct links to the films on sites like Hulu, Amazon Prime and YouTube. Or buy an e-ticket to a more recent hand-picked film to be streamed at a specific time. And on May 3 at 4 p.m. (PST), Variety will host filmmakers from the recently postponed DocLands Documentary Film Festival.

SUPPORT: Become a member.

Lark Theater, Larkspur

The theater is working with top distributors to provide a digital cinema featuring “award-winning movies and hidden classic gems,” with new content being added every week. For each e-ticket, good for 48 to 72 hours on multiple devices, the distributor will split a portion of the revenue with the Lark.

SUPPORT: Membership or donation.

The New Parkway, Oakland

In order to stay alive, the community theater has launched the Thrillville Movie Club every Saturday at 3 p.m. featuring former parkway programmer Will “The Thrill” Vilharo presenting cult classics on Zoom. And in a novel twist, the theater is keeping the kitchen going by offering CSA subscription food boxes.

SUPPORT: Kickstarter.

Alamo Drafthouse, San Francisco

The Mission District theater popular for serving dinner and drinks with your movie is going virtual. Buy tickets to critically-acclaimed films like Bacurau or join in for Terror Tuesday or Weird Wednesday for less-classic films like 1982’s Centipede Horror. Or just learn how to make the Drafthouse’s sought-after Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower.

SUPPORT: Helped furloughed Drafthouse workers.

For more on Better:

Helping Local Musicians Survive Venue Closures

7 Podcasts To Keep You (And the Kids) Occupied During the Shutdown

Good News (and Free Stuff!) From the Art World—Museums, Operas, Adult Coloring and More

Dan Jewett HeadshotDaniel Jewett has been a Bay Area journalist for more than two decades, getting his start as editor of his hometown newspaper, the Foster City Progress. Jewett went on to serve as Associate Editor for Oakland and Alameda magazines before crossing the bridge to serve as Marin Magazine and Spaces’ Managing Editor. Jewett still calls Oakland home, where he writes and plays music with his wife in My Little Hum and hangs out with his chickens, bees and cats, Holly and Maple.