Music Box Theatre

3733 N. Southport Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60613

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Music Box Theatre, Chicago, IL

Viewing: Photo | Street View

When it was opened in 1929, the Music Box Theatre was considered tiny compared to its much larger, more palatial neighbors. Many of these larger theaters, like the Uptown Theatre, were often too large to stay in business throughout the rest of the 20th century.

The Music Box Theatre later played mainly second and third-run movies as well as closing and reopening several times. By the 1970’s, the theater was showing Spanish and Arabic-language movies, as well as porn. The theater had become more than a bit rough around the edges when it was closed in 1977.

Renovated in 1982, the Music Box Theatre reopened in 1983 and has been showing an eclectic mix of classic, foreign, and art house films ever since. In 1991, the Music Box Theatre added a small 100 person auditorium. The theater is located in the bustling Southport area of Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.

Contributed by Alan Van Landschoot, Cinema Treasures

Recent comments (view all 66 comments)

matthew1964 on July 31, 2012 at 7:34 pm

excellent i will visit the theater,,it sounds very interesting,,and nostalgic

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on August 1, 2012 at 6:32 am

Saw Vertigo here in 2005; auditorium is lovely. And took a peek at the mini-cinema, which is wildy decorated like an outdoor garden (I think). It was great to a see a 100 seat “atmospheric.”

RickB on May 10, 2013 at 4:04 pm

The second screening room will be closed for nearly a month for renovations. Add: a much larger screen and digital capability. Subtract: 28 seats, reducing the seating capacity to 70. Story at DNAinfo.

GFeret on November 19, 2013 at 12:46 pm

MB bulletin: crystal ball foresees screen #3

humor aside there’s news the theatre is expanding by purchasing the north adjacent property, ostensibly for the purpose of building a third auditorium in the existing building there. the sale just closed i think

Giles on February 17, 2014 at 9:39 am

so the Music Box can show 35mm, 70mm and DCP on the main screen – right? what type of projector do they have?

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on February 17, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Main auditorium: 2 Century JJs (35mm/70mm). NEC digital projector. 16mm Eastman projector. Small auditorium (Theatre 2): Barco digital projector. Two 35mm projectors recently installed. I don’t know what kind; I will try to find that out and post info later.

Giles on February 17, 2014 at 2:28 pm

can the NEC do 3D projection? obviously there are five speakers (plus subwoofer) for 70mm features, but can they playback newer 7.1 discrete mixed films?

Giles on February 21, 2014 at 6:46 am

got some more info via facebook from the theater – Eastman ‘25’ projector for 16mm playback. Kinoton FP-20 for 35mm projection in the second auditorium. The NEC projector is not 3D capable. No word on if a 7.1 movie could be played back as such though.

DavidZornig on May 1, 2014 at 7:09 pm

This article outlines the expansion plans for the Music Box.

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