In addition to the landmark Castro Theatre (opened in 1922), Another Planet has renovated and currently manages historic venues such as the Fox Theater (Oakland, 1928); the Greek Theatre at UC Berkeley (Berkeley, 1903); and the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (San Francisco, 1915).
As such, we are committed to restoring and preserving the irreplaceable architectural landmark Castro Theatre as designed by Timothy Pflueger to ensure its sustainability into the future.
Of course. As stated in our Mission Statement: The Castro Theatre and Another Planet Entertainment are committed to an eclectic program of film, music, comedy, private and community events and LGBTQ+ content that is affirming, diverse and always cognizant of the historic neighborhood in which it lives. Another Planet is committed to supporting the artistic freedom of expression of all of our diverse performers, but we are also committed to upholding the integrity of the Castro Theatre’s Code of Conduct that promotes equality and respect above all. Always reflected onstage, backstage, in the house and in our offices and interactions, the Castro Theatre and Another Planet Entertainment are fully committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of our work.
Yes, developed in collaboration with the Castro LGBTQ Cultural District the code of conduct is as follows:
The Castro Theatre is in an internationally renowned LGBTQ+ neighborhood. By attending an event at the Castro Theatre, you agree to behave with respect for the LGBTQ+ residents, visitors and culture you will encounter when you visit the area. Ticket holders who violate this agreement may be excluded from acquiring tickets to future events at the Castro Theatre.
The code of conduct will be posted at the Theatre and on our website.
Another Planet Entertainment has joined the local Castro Merchants Association, the SF Chamber of Commerce, the Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association and the Golden Gate Business Association (the world’s first LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce) specifically to make sure that we engage with, promote, understand and provide vital economic stimulation to our neighborhood businesses, restaurants and bars. There is a neighborhood section of the website that features local businesses which will be regularly included in our newsletters to fans.
The Castro Theatre wouldn’t be the Castro Theatre without an organ rising out of the pit. The organ will stay and continue to welcome fans to the Theatre before events. The current digital organ, which is owned by Castro Theatre Lead Organist, David Hegarty, will be replaced. A new customized organ has been designed and built by the Castro Organ Devotees Association (CODA) at a cost of approximately $1 million. It will be installed at the Castro Theatre during renovations. It will be the largest hybrid (pipe/digital) organ in the world, with seven keyboards and over 800 stops. It will retain the familiar Wurlitzer sound using wind-blown pipes, and the pipes will be supplemented with digitally sampled organ and orchestral sounds to create an instrument of unparalleled capability.
After renovations, patrons can look forward to this impressive custom-designed organ that will faithfully preserve the musical tradition of the Castro Wurlitzer and significantly expand it with 21st-century technology. David Hegarty has been playing at the Castro Theatre since 1983.
Yes, many of the longstanding film festivals will be included in our programming, such as the Frameline Film Festival.
Our film programming has never stopped and will continue to be a regular part of the Theatre. Events such as Sing Alongs and other such interactive, community events are a priority for Another Planet’s programming.
Our plans include a modular and flexible concession stand/bar. For films & spoken word events the concession stand will remain in the lobby. Additionally, we will have a second concession stand located in the mezzanine lobby. For standing room shows, we will have the ability to move the concession frontage into the theater thus improving the bar experience for concerts.
In the years leading up to the family’s leasing of the Castro Theatre to Another Planet Entertainment, this balancing act proved more and more difficult, and the family found that, even with a program of near-daily screenings, the Theater experienced unsustainable losses, while the costs of needed capital maintenance and improvements grew significantly. Despite widespread admiration for the Theater’s programming, any person who regularly attended screenings was confronted by the fact that the Theater consistently experienced low attendance.
For example, in the final three years that the family directly operated the Castro Theatre, the Theatre operated at a loss on at least 75% of the days when only films were shown. Specifically, in 2016, there were 149 days where the Theatre showed only films (that is, without doing so as part of an advertised festival or event or along with a concert or other live performance). Out of those 149 days, the Castro Theatre generated revenue covering daily operational costs on only 16 days. In 2017, the Castro Theatre showed only films on 143 days, while generating revenue covering daily operational costs on only 17 of those days. In 2018, the Castro Theatre showed only films on 177 days, while generating revenue covering daily operational costs on only 43 of those days. In light of these circumstances, the family has concluded that operation of the Castro Theatre primarily as a cinema is not sustainable and will only undermine the theater’s viability.
To keep the venue economically viable, especially in an expensive city such as San Francisco, additional programming including concerts, special events, comedy shows and other offerings will augment our film offerings.
See also: Nasser HPC Letter (PDF)
See also:Movie theaters must ‘urgently’ rethink the experience, a study says. | New York Times, 11/29/2021
The Fox Theater in Oakland was originally built in 1928 and was abandoned for 42 years before Another Planet Entertainment assumed management of the Theater in 2009. The theater was not renovated to be a film house; this is not what the City of Oakland wanted.
The Theater was in such disrepair that it required a $75 million investment to upgrade. For 42 years, there was nothing happening at the Theater and now the Theater and Uptown Oakland are active for over 150 nights per year. Since opening, the Fox Theater has hosted several HBO & Pixar film premieres.
By design, as an added community benefit, Oakland School for the Arts’ building wraps the Fox Theater and activates the Theater for monthly assemblies and 4 performances per year. Additionally, two OSA students frequently shadow Fox stagehands for hands-on event production experience.
As stated in our Mission Statement, the programming at the Castro Theatre will be affirming, diverse and always cognizant of the historic neighborhood in which it lives. Film, comedy, podcasts, drag shows, concerts, community fundraisers and meetings, and more will be featured year-round. With a more flexible floorplan, the possibilities will now be endless! And as for concerts, there’s a wide variety of genres and artists that will be a great fit for the Castro Theatre, most especially LGBTQ+ artists and comedians.
Once renovations are complete, the improved facilities at the Castro Theatre will complement the historic legacy of the venue and further enshrine it as a destination for queer artists, performers, and fans.
There would be no Castro Theatre without the LGBTQ+ community. That history and legacy is inextricably linked and we will preserve and enhance the sort of programming the queer community has come to expect. We continue to speak to our LGBTQ+ neighbors and allies on a regular basis for input and ideas.
At their core, venues are a reflection of their community. That is how the Castro Theatre has become the beacon of hope, inclusivity and queer culture throughout the world. Another Planet very much intends for the Castro Theatre to continue to be that community gathering space and a venue that the neighborhood can be proud of.
We have not chosen a ticketing partner for the Theatre.
By tiering on top of the current floor we are able to achieve several goals. Our upgrades to the raked orchestra floor are 100% reversible in compliance with the Department of the Interior historic preservation standards.
Providing accessibility throughout the theater – throughout the orchestra level, as required by code – is especially challenging because the majority of the existing sloped floor approaches twice the allowable steepness for ADA ramps. Therefore a series of accessible ramps will never “catch up” to the sloped floor and lifts are required to traverse the necessary vertical distance. Because the slope flattens out in front of the stage, that level is accessible via a ramp. Accessible seating positions also require substantial flat areas to maneuver in and out of, as well as space for Companion Seating. Alternative approaches have been studied and do not achieve an appropriate amount of accessibility.
The venue capacity of 1,407 will remain. However available seating on the orchestra level will be decreased to accommodate for an updated seat and to provide for ADA access. The amount of orchestra seating that will be available is pending the selection of our seating solution.
The parking lot behind the Theatre is owned and managed by SFMTA.
The Theatre will have state of the art production in-house which will limit the need for outside equipment and loading needs for touring artists.
We expect construction to take 6-9 months.
Another Planet has entered into a partnership with BuildOUT California for the Theatre’s renovation construction. BuildOUT California is the world’s first LGBT Industry Association dedicated to the sustainable growth of LGBT+ owned & certified businesses, and our allies, in the fields of Architecture, Engineering, Construction Services, Real Estate Development, and Related Industries.
Another Planet is working with a non-profit partner in order to off-set the costs. More details to be released once finalized.
Yes, the letter was received on March 21, 2022 and Another Planet responded April 6, 2022. You can view the letter and our response HERE. Another Planet continues to meet with the Cultural District.
On Wednesday, February 1 st , the Historic Preservation Commission (“HPC”) will be holding a hearing regarding the HPC’s review and potential updating of the landmark designation of the Castro Theatre.
The seats will be stored at the Castro Theatre. We are utilizing vertical storage space in the stage wings.