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In reading the posts on this theatre, and other places, you’ll discover that rumors had been circulating for a long time. 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.
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.
Howard B Haas,
I’m sure that one would need to get permission from AMC to photograph in the place. Does anybody know how “fan friendly” AMC is?
AMC is doing this in Chicago too!
Correction—that should be “Mr. Burrows”, not “Bellows.”
Jim Rankin, you state the unfortunate cold, hard truth. While I beleive that the city and county amusement taxes are skewed against the small businessman, the owner of the 3 Penny should have been aware that his taxes would be accountable for.
This is the same thing that essentially did in the short-lived Meridian Theatres chain—failure to pay taxes.
But Mr. Bellows also had a liquor license for his theatre and those aren’t cheap. Not to mention the insurance his business would have required with that license. He could have cut his costs without too great a loss in concession revenue by getting rid of his liquor license.
That the 600 North occupies the top floors of a retail business probably explains its design. They probably had to wedge the auditoriums in whichever way they could. Refer to an above comment in which the author states that it’s like going to an IMAX film, particularly if you are in the first few rows.
You are right though, since the remodeling, it is a nicer place.
The Esquire is okay. The washrooms appear to be clean. The floors are also clean. But new seating is needed! They appear to be using the same seats from the ‘80s makeover. There are no cupholders.
Some art deco touches remain, particularly the railings. There is also a neat little cafe/seating area. The staff seems improved under AMC. Unfortunately, the Esquire has terrible popcorn. If AMC was willing so put just a little money into this place, freshen it up a little, and get better popcorn, it would be a terrific movie experience.
If you are in the area and they’re showing a picture you really want to see, then the Esquire is okay, but it could be better.
My girlfriend and I walked past this place on our way to Navy Pier recently. One of the windows was not frosted over and we peeked inside. The place still looks relatively intact, “Cineplex-Odeon-Mid-1980s-Carpeting” and all!
I regret that I never saw a movie here.
That might be a little tough. Village has only recently begun advertising its theatres (and only the North Riverside & Lincoln Village). I think though that circa 2002, when they first became a “chain”, they advertised. You may also want to look at microfilm/microfiche issues of THE DAILY SOUTHTOWN & the neighborhood newspapers.
And I seem to remember that briefly this theatre may have been known as the Village South. Can anyone confirm this.
Cinemark Fan, it being a former single-screener seems likely. Consider that the Village, Village North, & LaGrange were all formerly single screeners.
Please refer to my above comment about the city’s tax structure. The 8% amusement tax from the city simply makes it hard for the little guy to stay in business. Why can’t these taxes be on a sliding scale? The full amount for larger corporations like AMC and Keresotas, less for smaller chains like Village and for the indy guys.
But according to the Crain’s article in the above post, the opening of Landmark’s Century Cinema really put a dent into this guy’s business, although I wonder whether or not the 3 Penny saw an increase in patronage after the closure of the Biograph.
I just realized something. If Rooding says he’s going to have stadium seating installed in this place, how the heck is he gonna wedge it in? The Village is way too tiny.
I believe that the Lake in Oak Park was an Essaness at one time too!
CINEMARK FAN—As an update to my above comments, Village did keep places like the Golf Glen and the Burnham clean. And if I owned the Golf Glen, I’d have closed it too after finding out that a new 18(?) screener would be going in at Golf Mill. Perhaps if Village quit boasting about renovations that they couldn’t do and won’t do, and just concentrated on getting good films, keeping thier places in good repair, and advertising, they might be better off. And making incremental repairs to their theatres too!
BTW, how is your theatre chain project for school going? Are you gonna do one on Meridian Theatres?
Well at least they clean the floors and washrooms….
Hey, that’s just what the article says. I know Village’s track record. Anybody know how they’re doing with the North Riverside and Lincoln Village?
Well at least this place and the Village North will probably be around a little longer.
Life’s too Short:
My assumption is that Keresotes won’t wreck this theatre. The company has had a lot of experience. It first entered the Chicagoland Area via the suburbs and has done okay with those properties. Although there will probably be “teething problems” during this transition period, but that is normal in cases like this.
This theatre should be updated. It should be listed as a Kerasotes theatre.
They’ve already taken off the AMC logo, which was visible from the Kennedy Expressway and the Metra UP Northwest Line.
Keresotas used to run small theatres in the midwest. Keresotas had the Towne in Chillicothe, IL. In Quincy, IL they had the Adams, the State, and the Washington. I’ve been in all of these many years ago. I believe only the Towne remains a cinema and is currently part of the Reynolds Cinema chain.
You are right about it being reasonably close to those two bus lines. The main transportation complaint I’ve heard about this place is that it is a bit of a distance from the nearest L stop. If one is coming from downtown, the north or northwest side, then the Metra is a good way to go, particularly in rush hours.
Both the Woods and the United Artists are featured in the closing sequence of the film ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING. As this film was made in 1987, it would have been during the last days of the UA (the Woods would hang on for about another two years). The camera pans by the UA too quickly. Even in slow motion, the titles on the marquee can’t be discerned. The Woods, however, was showing DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR and THE KINDRED.
In watching this film (BABYSITTING), it’s amazing to see how much of Downtown Chicago has changed for the better since then!
Per that Sun-Times article, it was to have become a furniture store.
The FILM LITERATURE LIBRARY lists the following articles in VARIETY about the Essaness Chain:
1) Ingram, B. Essaness will run 89-screen Carisch Minneapolis circuit. Variety 330 Mar 30 (1988): 7 + [2p].
2) Chicago Essaness chain to buy Theater Operators Inc. of Montana. Variety 331 May 4 (1988): 8.
3) Odeon/Plitt buys 41 Essaness screens in Metro Chicago. Variety 323 May 14 (1986): 3+ [2p].
4) Essaness Theaters acquires 15-screen chain in Wisconsin. Variety 320 Oct 2 (1985): 5 + [2p].
Apparantly, Essaness was active up to and after the C-O/Plitt takeover.