The Holiday Star Theater, originally Holiday Theatre, opened in 1950. Classic Cinemas took over the theater in 1980 and renamed it the Park Forest Theatre. In 1990, Classic Cinemas restored the theater to much of its original 1950s appearance, and divided the auditorium into two screens, with capacities of 374 and 276 seats
A nonprofit theater helmed by passionate cinephiles, Facets Cinematheque instills a love of film in its youngest moviegoers through its groundbreaking children's programs. Since establishing their first children's film exhibition series in 1975, the theater's stewards have branched out into education and outreach, introducing students to positive films and the inspiring stories behind them through channels including family film events, in-school screenings, and the Facets Kids Film Camp. They also oversee the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, which presents hundreds of films from around the globe during its annual autumn run. Though the festival caters to its smallest attendees, its scope is impressively large; welcoming over 20,000 attendees each year, the festival often offers the first screenings of award-winning fare, such as recent Academy Award winner The Fantastic Flying Books Of Mr. Morris Lessmore.
In addition to their children's programming, the theater also lights up its silver screen with indie films, award winners, foreign flicks, and documentaries. Celluloid-caretakers curate a collection of reels that seldom see screenings elsewhere in Chicago, frequently enjoying their city debut within the intimate 125-seat theater. Occasionally, production-team members or film experts join audiences immediately following the show for Q&A sessions—known as film dialogues—taking questions, exploring themes, and providing tips for removing stubborn popcorn kernels from teeth. Upcoming films can be found on Facets’ website.
Eyeballs absorb moving pictures thanks to the dual capabilities of Facets’ projection system, which handles digital and 35 mm films with equal aplomb. While the ephemeral stories fill brains with new ideas, soda and popcorn—acquirable at the old-fashioned concession stand—fill mouths with flavors that have defined every classic moviegoing experience since Orson Welles first invented the snack.
The Gene Siskel Film Center is as famous to Chicago film-lovers as its namesake TV film critic has been to national audiences. As the Loop's only movie house, it draws crowds with an eclectic mix of programming rather than with blockbusters and violent popcorn battles. The Film Center has been around under the umbrella of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago since 1972, and its curators are devoted to the art of cinema at least as much as the business. A typical weekend night might offer a documentary, a concert film, a foreign classic, and an innovative modern drama?maybe even a world premiere or a guest artist appearance.
The theaters themselves make it easy to be sucked into the screen, with ultra-plush stadium-style seats, a cafe that serves wine and espresso in addition to traditional concessions, and capacity for 16mm, 35mm, and digital projections. According to Chicagoist, it's not simply a pleasant moviegoing experience?"point-for-point, the Siskel is the finest place to catch a movie in Chicago."
Most theaters in the 1920s were built to showcase vaudeville acts. The Portage Theater, however, was ahead of its time by focusing on film. The silver screen remained its specialty through 2001, when it closed due to dwindling audiences and countless actors leaving Hollywood to pursue animal husbandry. After extensive renovations, it reopened in 2006, this time to showcase a variety of performances?from movies to concerts to special events?and even star in one of its own: it was prominently featured in the mob-era film,?Public Enemies.
?Watch a movie?or be part of one.? This tagline from IMAX?s introduction video perfectly sums up their mission. An IMAX film rises above the typical cinematic experience by making each viewer feel like they?re inside the world unfolding in front of them. Crisp images captured by large-format cameras burst out of the screen like a hulked-out movie usher, and surround sound reverberates off the stadium seating.
Regal Cinemas Webster Place 11, part of Regal Entertainment Group's 6,653-screen family, enchants movie-goers of all ages with its wide selection of cinematic offerings. Films range from summer blockbusters and family films to special broadcasts from The Met, The Globe Theatre, and the White House’s crawlspace.