Iconic East Bay theater bids movie-goers a bittersweet goodbye

MORAGA, Calif. (KGO) -- It was a bittersweet night for moviegoers in the East Bay Sunday night as the 61-year-old Rheem Theater in Moraga played its last film.

"Attendance and also the rent has gone up. Utilities are high," said Theater Operator Derek Zemrak.

Derek Zemrak renovated the building eight years ago. He says mounting maintenance costs and new technology made it tough to stay in business.

"Over time, technology has changed and kids like to stream things on their phone and watch them on their iPads," said Zemrak

Loyal Customers are sad to see the landmark go.

"I just love these old fashioned movie theaters. I grew up with these kind of theaters," said Dan Carleton.

Old Hollywood props and photos decorate the building, and A-list films played for the final time. The Rheem is definitely old school. It's filled a niche by giving a feeling of theaters from back in the day with even original phone booths in the lobby from the 1950s.

"You know this theater goes way back, like I say it gives you a nostalgic feeling, I'm getting emotional, said Marlene Garcia.

The final show is over but the screen and chairs will stay behind. A nonprofit may take over the building. It's a glimmer of hope for a new future for the Rheem.
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