Movies make a comeback in San Jose on this theater's rooftop

Julian Glover Image
Thursday, October 8, 2020
Roof top movie experience opens in downtown San Jose
3Below Theaters launches rooftop movie series in downtown San Jose, meeting guidelines by spacing out seats and being outdoors.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- In-person entertainment is coming back to downtown San Jose.

Several stories above the city's streets, 3Below Theaters & Lounge at Second St. and San Carlos St. is offering a new rooftop moviegoing experience.

Scott Guggenheim, the president of Guggenheim Entertainment, never thought he would be showing movies on the rooftop parking lot of his theater in an attempt to stay afloat.

"We worked very hard to meet all of the COVID-19 requirements. It's very safe when you come you are in your own bubble," Guggenheim said.

The theater reopens Thursday on the same day as Regal Cinemas, the second-largest movie chain in the country, plans to close all of its U.S. theaters indefinitely. More movie studios continue to push back release dates of big box office hits during the pandemic.

RELATED: Regal and Cineworld to suspend operations at hundreds of cinemas

"The opportunity to get back to what it is that we do is very exciting," Guggenheim said.

Planning has been in the works since July after the theater closed along with all other entertainment venues in March at the outset of the pandemic.

Partnerships with the First Tech Federal Credit Union and the San Jose Downtown Association are helping cover part of the operating costs.

On the rooftop individual parties will be placed in their own social bubble of theater seats, two to four of them, spaced at least six feet apart.

RELATED: Popular San Jose dining program expands to 6-weeks during COVID-19 pandemic

Guests will be required to stay in their bubble the entire time. Face masks are required and hand sanitizer will be provided upon entry.

Tickets are $25 and include a $10 food voucher to use in the concession area downstairs.

The food offering was a key piece to the puzzle allowing the theater to skirt Santa Clara County's guidelines on live entertainment and become open for business.

Movies range from family favorites like "Coco" and "Star Trek" to a selection of documentaries and social justice-themed films to meet the moment.

"Programming has all been curated with the idea of promoting change," Guggenheim said.

Tickets can be purchased at

The series features 44 films over four weeks, hoping to welcome loyal customers back to this outdoor venue before rain returns to the Bay Area.

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