Per the E'ville Eye, the United Artists Emery Bay Stadium 10 has now closed, marking the 10th Bay Area theater to close since I began this blog in 2010. In that same time, only two theaters have opened (that I know of), the New Parkway in Oakland, and the Century at Pacific Commons in Fremont (both opened in 2012).
It's impressive that the Emery Bay survived twelve years with neighboring AMC Bay Street 16 sniping all the good titles. With this closure, Regal further diminishes its Bay Area presence, dropping to a distant third with 6 theaters and 61 screens (behind Cinemark's 28 theaters and 325 screens, and AMC's 8 theaters and 127 screens).
From The Mummy (1999) to Beautiful Creatures (2013) I visited the Emery Bay a total of 66 times, nearly as many visits as I've made to another fourteen Regal theaters combined. The Emery Bay ranks as my third most visited theater, behind only the Grand Lake Theater (181 visits) and Alameda Theatre (68 visits).
In honor of Emery Bay's passing, I present my...
Top 10 Emery Bay Experiences (in chronological order)
1. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2001)
My first of what would be a record-setting five theater visits to see this movie (three of them at the Emery Bay). A movie so amazing, beautiful, and tragic, I had to keep coming back.
2. 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001)
A terrible, terrible, terrible movie. This violent, boring piece of garbage provides another in a long list of reasons people dislike Kevin Costner (I like him, but not here). Nothing but the fact that I had never walked out on a movie before kept me in my seat (a streak I gladly broke the next year for Nijinsky: The Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky).
3. Monsters, Inc. (2001)
The first movie I saw with my girlfriend, Mica, just a week after we started dating. Fast forward twelve years (with a five year break in the middle), and we've now been to the theater together 169 times (20 visits to the Emery Bay).
4. Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
Mica and I would eventually see all eight Harry Potter movies at the Grand Lake, but we started at Emery Bay.
5. Sweet Home Alabama (2002)
For any given movie, I might disagree with someone on some nuance of what the desired outcome ought to have been, but in this Reese Witherspoon romance, Mica and I wanted her to end up with different beaus. Mica favored suave Patrick Dempsey, while I leaned toward salt-of-the-earth Josh Lucas.
6. The Butterfly Effect (2004)
I've already discussed this movie as one of my Top 10 Time Loops. What strikes me about it in hindsight is how much more I liked it than I thought I would, and how often I still think about it, trying to puzzle through its tangled premise.
7. The Forgotten (2004)
[Spoiler warning.] There are several gotcha moments in this movie, but none greater than recoiling from my driver's seat perspective of Julianne Moore as another car suddenly rams into her passenger door. I think I jumped backward about three rows.
8. Valiant (2005)
Up until this point, digitally-animated films had either been great, or at least okay. Valiant brought the medium to full maturation by being completely boring and unworthy of a theatrical release. (Audiences agreed. Of 100 digitally-animated films that have sold at least one million tickets in the US, Valiant ranks 90th.)
9. Babies (2010)
I like going to the movies by myself; I like going with a friend. Either way, I'm happy. At the Emery Bay, I went to 40 movies by myself, 22 with a single friend, and just 2 with two friends. Four friends accompanied me to Babies, making it a jolly good time.
10. Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)
My second viewing of my second favorite movie of 2012 (after Moonrise Kingdom), and, like Babies, with four friends in tow. A reminder of what a magical experience a theater can create for its audience.
Thank you, Emery Bay. I'll miss you.