It appears the curtains are closing on an iconic cinema in the heart of Kensington that has been a home for movie lovers for more than a half-century.
Landmark Theatres confirmed to NBC 7 on Monday that Ken Cinema at 4061 Adams Ave. will screen its last feature on March 22, ending a 44-year-long stretch under the Landmark umbrella.
The theater chain cited a "changing theatrical landscape and challenges to independent exhibition," as reasons to stop operating the only single-screen theater in the city of San Diego.
Ken Cinema, known for its focus on independent and foreign films, opened in 1964 and was taken over by Landmark Theatres in 1975. Through the years, the cinema kept much of the charm that attracted locals to screenings.
But according to Landmark Theatres, its efforts to maintain the theater's small-town feel is a part of why the chain can no longer keep it in operation.
"After long consideration and much effort, we regret that we are unable to continue operating the Ken Cinema," their statement read in part. "The company recognizes what a cherished asset the Ken has been to the neighboring community."
The beloved cinema has withstood the threat of closure before, thanks in part to community "outrage" that led to a deal between the theater operator and the property owners, the San Diego Union-Tribute reported.
Landmark Theatres prepared to shutter Ken Cinema in 2014 but, just days before its official closing date, the theater chain announced a lease agreement, "ensuring that Ken Cinema will remain open for many years to come," according to the Union-Tribune.
Many, apparently, means six.
But if it has been saved once before, maybe there is hope for the iconic Ken Cinema after all. Until that day comes, fans have about a month left to catch a showing.
Once the theater closes, Landmark said movie-goers can still see the cinema's unique films at the only remaining Landmark Theatre in San Diego County, Hillcrest Cinema at 3965 5th Ave.
NBC 7 reached out to Landmark Theatres for clarification on what will happen to its employees but only received the below statement.
“After long consideration and much effort, we regret that we are unable to continue operating the Ken Cinema. The last day of operation for Landmark's Ken Cinema will be Sunday, March 22, 2020. The company recognizes what a cherished asset the Ken has been to the neighboring community. The changing theatrical landscape and challenges to independent exhibition are the major contributing factors.
Landmark will continue to program many of the independent, specialized and foreign films that play the Ken at the Hillcrest Cinemas in San Diego. Landmark is appreciative of the years of our customer’s support and we look forward to continuing serving our audience at the Hillcrest Cinemas.”