San Francisco

‘Matrix' Movie Premiere in SF's Castro Theatre Leaves Merchants Frustrated

NBC Universal, Inc.

Hollywood glamour is coming to San Francisco as the Castro Theatre is hosting the premiere of new movie “The Matrix Resurrections” this weekend. But the rollout and timing of the event has some small businesses in the area frustrated.

The San Francisco Film Commission said the Matrix production was in the city for 42 days, pumping millions of dollars into the local economy.

Big trucks, movie props and lots of workers took over a block of Castro Street and a public parking lot for several days.

Terry Asten Bennett of Cliff's Variety told NBC Bay Area Friday that no one warned local merchants about Saturday's movie premiere. Bennett like many business owners said they are frustrated because the event is happening on what should be one of the biggest sales weekends of the year.

“Not this weekend. It’s the week before Christmas. People are no longer ordering online. They're like 'I got to get the stuff,'” Bennett said.

Masood Samereie, the president of the Castro Merchants Association said while he welcomes big Hollywood events, he said the timing is terrible.

“This is a disaster for businesses,” he said. “Big business is killing small business in a way, which is not right and it's not fair.”

In a statement, the SFMTA said in part it will take lessons learned on outreach for future collaboration on large scale events.

Officials with the San Francisco Film Commission said Warner Brothers is helping impacted businesses to coordinate pickups and deliveries. They are letting customers know they are open.

But some people in the area said they are excited for a chance to see the "Matrix" stars.

“I can't wait to see Keanu Reeves. He's my favorite in the world,” Mindia Jijavadze with the restaurant Bhoga said.

Crowds gathered to watch the film while being shot in San Francisco last year.

Staff at Bhoga across the street from the theater are hoping people attending the premiere will stop by their business.

“I think it's exciting; we are waiting for crowds to be here. We are waiting for customers and welcome them,"Jijavadze added.

The Castro District Merchants Association said there is an after party for the movie but it will take place outside the Castro.

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