Chicago’s Esquire Theater May Soon Fall

posted by Broan on July 19, 2006 at 8:21 am

According to a report in today’s Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago’s famed Esquire theater may be threatened for replacement by retail stores. The theater has faced similar threats several times before under earlier ownership, but this time it may be for real- especially with Alderman Burton Natarus' support and the increased competition from the nearby River East 21, now both operated by AMC. The theaters are increasingly dated and poorly maintained, and the 1989 alterations that removed the spectacular 1,400 seat art deco auditorium and added the six small screens also altered the lobby, although it retains much of its original charm. Chicagoist offers an editorial.

Comments (8)

Mikeoaklandpark on July 19, 2006 at 10:39 am

Looks like AMC is starting there crap. What a bunch of buttholes.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on July 20, 2006 at 6:00 am

In reading the posts on this theatre, and other places, you’ll discover that rumors had been circulating for a long time. Mike Oakland Park, these rumors had been going on since before AMC took over. Under Loew’s, it had been somewhat of an “art house” in recent years, showing such fare as MARCH OF THE PENGUINS, MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS, GOOD NIGHT & GOOD LUCK, etc. AMC however, has begun a program called AMC SELECT, which shows films such as these in its regular theatres (not necessarily a bad idea). With the implementation of AMC SELECT, though, the Esquire has lost whatever edge it did have.

It would be nice if the landmark marquee and facade could be kept. I’m not holding my breath though! I’d better get up there, take a few photos, and see some films there. I still beleive that with some fixing up, the Esquire could remain viable.

CinemarkFan on July 20, 2006 at 9:21 am

Paul, I’ll be seeing A Scanner Darkly here next week. So I’ll try to sneak and take some photos. Funny enough, the last movie my brother saw here was Good Night, & Good Luck. How fitting.

CHICTH74 on July 20, 2006 at 10:24 pm

Does any one know since that AMC owens River East 21 and Esquire do thay (AMC) have some plans to convert the Esquire back to the single screen like it was when it opened in order to show the AMC SELECT movies? Thank You for your time :)

Mikeoaklandpark on July 21, 2006 at 4:46 am

NOw that I think of it, wasn’t River Eats one the the theaters AMC had to sell in the purchase of Lowes? Whatever happened to all the theaters they had to liquidate? They still run the E-walk in NYC.

Broan on July 21, 2006 at 6:52 am

No, the only two they had to sell in Chicago were Webster Place and City North, which they did, to Kerasotes. And in this case, the auditorium was destroyed to build retail and the six screens. I have a history of the theater’s downfall since 1986 i’ll shortly post on the main esquire page.

CinemarkFan on July 21, 2006 at 3:57 pm

Does anyone have photos of the Esquire’s screen before it was gutted in 1989?

PAM407 on August 2, 2006 at 1:10 pm

I’m doing a school project of teh esquire. my instructor told the class to choose a business that we think isn’t being managed properly. my objective is to create a plan of action for effective business. but first i need the whole history behind the theatre. i need to know: who built it and when, the renovations, the size/scale of it, the employees and their organizational culture, their ethics and mission statement, their main purpose, profits, the type of environment. etc etc etc. i tried going to othe cites to see if i can get soem of thsi info, but i couldn’t find anything only a bunch of reviews about how crappy the place is. can anyone help me. i just need like THE WHOLE STORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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