Ken Cinema no longer a Landmark theater

by Ryo Miyauchi

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San Diego’s beloved Ken Cinema movie theater may show its last screening very soon. Longtime operator Landmark Theatres decided to terminate its lease at the end of this month. Unless a new operator comes forth, the theater could be closed for good.

A popular fixture in the Kensington community, Ken Cinema is a single-screen theater known for its independent film selections and midnight screenings. Built in 1912, the theater became a part of Landmark Theatres in 1975, along with other Landmark locations in Hillcrest and La Jolla.

The involved parties cite a failure to negotiate as the reason behind the termination. Landmark Theatres President Ted Mundroff said the company wanted to update Ken Cinema with new installations, but not without a multiple-year lease for the theater. Torrey Pines Property Management, the owner of the property and Landmark Theatres failed to agree on a new lease term. Therefore, Landmark opted to terminate its lease.

The property owner Chip Crandall told U-T San Diego he wanted a new management that would improve and embrace the Ken Cinema. According to the UT, several independent movie operators are already scheduled to meet with Crandall to potentially become the new operator of the Ken.

The official final date of the lease is April 27. Ken Cinema will screen the 1952 classic “Singin’ in the Rain” for its final operation as a Landmark theater. New management is yet to be announced, but with local support, the Ken Cinema should remain as a popular staple in San Diego.

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