Century Centre Cinema

2828 N. Clark Street,
Chicago, IL 60657

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Showing 1 - 25 of 43 comments

DavidZornig on June 21, 2019 at 1:29 pm

Saul Smaizys circa 1970 photo of the Balaban & Katz marquee on Flickr.


JRH500 on May 11, 2017 at 9:48 pm

Comfortable Cool- I know this is an old post so if you by chance stumble upon this comment as I did this site looking for a pic of one of my great grandmothers theatres, she was a Lubiner. Are you related to the family or just know a lot about the history of old cinemas/theatres given the site? Very cool to stumble upon your comment scrolling the page and also accurate. :)

rivest266 on November 10, 2016 at 10:29 pm

March 31st, 2000 grand opening ad as Landmark Century Centre Cinema can be found in the photo section.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on January 24, 2016 at 6:41 pm

Lubliner & Trinz built the Diversey Theatre, which first opened on July 30th, 1925, with stage and screen presentations of “Loop” quality. In December, 1929, Balaban & Katz took a six-year lease, at an annual rental of $56,000. After spending $50,000 on renovations, B&K re-opened the theatre with movies only, under the new name of Century, on February 7th, 1930.

moviefanaticfan on September 4, 2014 at 3:47 pm

I remember going to the Century Center back in the late 1980’s. The Theater sits on what use to be a Bally Total Fitness center. It had a 75' long swimming pool and the biggest Whirlpool. It could fit 25 people. I always thought it was cool to see a place like that on the 6th floor of a mall. Now the fitness center is all on the first floor. I’m gonna have to pay this theater a visit.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on May 17, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Look at the photos! How many more windows does it need?Seems to me it already has plenty of windows?

RickB on May 16, 2013 at 11:42 pm

The historic facade of the Century is in jeopardy, as the owners want to remove it and replace it with windows. It isn’t landmarked. DNAInfo story here.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on September 15, 2012 at 6:19 am

I saw THE MASTER on August 16 at the Music Box in 70mm. It was presented in 1.85; Datasat Sound. It filled up a good portion of the proscenium.

CSWalczak on September 15, 2012 at 5:35 am

I basically agree Cinemark fan; however, I think certain theaters – such as the Dome, the Seattle Cinerama, the Music Box, the Castro, the AFI Silver, and some others basically serve their cities in some respects as a film historical center, something akin to the Pictureville Cinema in Bradford, England and need to have these multiple projection capabilities on an ongoing basis because of the nature of their programming.

I admit that the Austin situation might appear to show that new 70mm installations would work, but I would speculate that the new installation there is largely due to the fact that this growing chain is run by an film enthusiast with a special love for Austin, has a fairly distinctive business model, a film production arm, and other characteristics far away from from a chain like AMC or even Landmark; that particular situation situation may not be all that typical or comparable. (I think it unlikely that the other franchises that are a part of the Drafthouse group will follow suit in installing 70mm). In addition, Austin has benefited from 70mm showings at their still 70mm-equipped Paramount over the years, so most likely there is an appreciation for the format there perhaps somewhat out of proportion to the city’s size.

That I said, I certainly agree that Chicago ought to have, shall I say, a mainstream commercial venue with a large (hopefully curved) screen where, when something like this situation involving “The Master” arises, can quickly be convert to a premiere 70mm venue. In some ways, the Music Box does or could serve the role, but at least in this instance, it appears it could not be arranged, and, as you noted, this theater, built well before the wide-screen era, cannot provide the full 70mm experience. It is a crying shame, when one thinks of all the venues both in the Loop or in the Chicago suburbs that once were 70mm capable, that only Music Box appears to remain. It clearly a very special niche in Chicago, but obviously only runs 70mm film occasionally.

Another sad reality that militates against new 70mm installations, even for revival showings, is that good quality 70mm prints, even of classic titles, are increasingly hard to acquire, and studios, if they are interested at all in maintaining access to classic films shot in 70mm, would rather make digital restorations than strike new 70mm prints.

Even the Dome cannot run some existing 70mm prints of some titles because the print sources, in some cases, will not allow the prints to run off a platter system, and the Dome at present cannot run 70mm without using a platter. In addition, there are fewer and fewer skilled projectionists who really know how to run 70mm film properly, especially if it has to be shown on a changeover basis.

Finally, even if a few films are shot in 70mm now and in the future, there is no guarantee that they will be projected that way; look at what is happening with “Samsara”. There is not much incentive to install a 70mm projector (and all that goes with it) if there is not going to be a regular flow of product. Lack of regular product is one factor (surely not the only one) that contributed to the demise of Cinerama and the original Todd-AO.

CinemarkFan on September 14, 2012 at 11:44 pm

Also, I didn’t think about the booth problem. It very well could be small.

I hear the Music Box will screen it again in 70mm in January. And that’s okay, but the screen is so small that it really doesn’t do 70mm justice. Do they even have a proper cinemascope screen?

CinemarkFan on September 14, 2012 at 11:39 pm

You are right CSWalczak. But a city like Chicago, could benefit from running 70mm revival screening. The projector at the Music Box, more often than not, just sits there. Or a theater like the Seattle Cinerama, which screens new releases in 4k. But they’ve kept their 70mm and of course, Cinerama projectors.

The Alamo Ritz in Austin, a digital theater, installed a 70mm projector not just for “The Master”, but for revival screenings of 70mm. Several of which started a few weeks ago, and will continue with “Cleopatra” and “Playtime”, after the run of “The Master” is over.

Iain Softley, director of “K-PAX” and “Wings of the Dove”, plans to shoot his next movie called “Ivanhoe”, in 65mm. So even with theaters becoming all digital, it doesn’t end with “The Master”.

When you read stuff like this, it makes the Chicago situation even more disheartening, seeing that we’re supposed to be the third largest city in the nation. But like you said, things are made from a business standpoint, and this brings me to my declaration…

When my chain finally gets off the ground, this will never be a problem again. Digital projection? Of course. 70mm revival screenings? I’ll be ready. director shoots in 70mm and selected prints will be made for major cities? I’ll be ready.

CSWalczak on September 14, 2012 at 10:08 pm

This is hardly surprising; looking at it from Landmark’s POV; it is just not an investment they would be willing to make. There is much excitement over the “The Master” right right now, but there’s no evidence that there are any significant numbers of new 70mm films in the offing, which would mean that installing a 70mm film projector would probably mean it would just sit there until a revival of a 70mm film came along. There may also have been concerns about whether the booths at the Century could accommodate the machine.

From a practical standpoint, 70mm projectors are not that easy to come by as they are not currently being manufactured. The one that is being installed at the Village East in NYC required a search for parts. I suspect that the additional one installed in Auditorium #3 at the Hollywood Arclight is a DP 70 or 75 or a Century JJ pulled out of mothballs somewhere in LA, possibly out of the Pacific Theaters warehouse.

CinemarkFan on September 14, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Oh and Tim, I gotta share this with you.

Below is what I wrote to Landmark

[quote]Dear management of Landmark Theatres,

This is in regards to “The Master”, opening at the Century Centre on September 21st. As you may know, Chicago isn’t getting a 70mm print because the only theater here that can run 70mm (the Music Box), couldn’t book it due to scheduling issues. So now we have to settle for 35mm or digital prints here.

But I’ve read a rumor that states that a DP70 will be installed at the Landmark 12 in Los Angeles. I got that from here: http://www.in70mm.com/library/rumour/index.htm

So my question to you, if this info is true, is why that theater? Why are you not installing a DP70 projector in the Century Centre’s auditorium #7? Why install a projector in the West LA location when the Cinerama Dome 15-20 minutes away will be playing it in 70mm?

A demand for a Chicago 70mm engagement is very, very high. When the Music Box had a one-time only presentation in that format two weeks ago, tickets sold out within minutes, which is the reason why I missed out.


Now maybe the Landmark 12 rumor isn’t true, but if it is, please install a 70mm projector for the Century Centre. Chicago is supposed to be the second city, yet we can’t see the movie the way PT Anderson intended. It is unfair.

Please consider us Chicagoians.[/quote]

Their reply…

[quote]As you might know… studios are stopping producing films in 35mm – actually they are stopping production in film .. they are all going to produce in digital.. so all theatres will need to install digital projectors within the next 18 months in order to get 99% of the films that will be available. Landmark is not installing anything but digital projectors.

Customer Service.[/quote]

Landmark – Los Angeles

Thank you.

CinemarkFan on September 14, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Well, an all-digital theater was inevitable, but it’s a shame that Landmark didn’t consider that Chicago wouldn’t be getting a first run 70mm print of “The Master”. Traveling to Seattle or LA to see it remains out of the question for me, unless it rains money from the sky. So, I’ll settle for the digital print for now.

There’s always January at the Music Box, and April at Ebertfest.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on September 14, 2012 at 5:46 pm

It’s official. Century Centre will go digital beginning next Friday, September 21.

CSWalczak on September 13, 2012 at 11:10 pm

I would love to be proven wrong, but I think the short closures are for a total transition to digital; I doubt very much that there will be a 70mm installation. The notes about upcoming films do include mention of “The Master” but nothing about it being presented in 70mm whereas the notes about “Samsara” point out that although it was lensed in 70mm there will not be any 70mm showings anywhere. If management saw fit to note this fact about “Samasara: I am sure that they would have pointed out that "The Master” would be a 70mm presentation if it really was going to be shown in that format.

I would suspect that at some point a 70mm print will return to the Music Box where it it had a recent preview showing.

As a side note, I am puzzled with regard to both these showings of “Samsara” and “The Master,” (even the latter’s 70mm showings), though for slightly different reasons. Aside from the higher image quality, why go to the trouble and expense of shooting a film in Panavision Super 70, (which typically renders an image of 2.20:1 in most cases) if you are going to specify that it be shown in a 35mm format (in the case of “Samasara” – which also means the height of the image will be reduced from five pfs to four), or in the case of “The Master,” projecting it, as announced, in a standard 1.85:1 ratio which means that probably some sort of matting was used to scale down the image?

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on September 13, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Ooopss….my apologies to CF Fan. I misread your comment. I think what you’re suggesting is maybe Landmark will install digital in Auditoriums, 4, 5, and 6 and, hopefully, 70mm in Theatre 7. Keep our fingers cross.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on September 13, 2012 at 10:13 pm

If I were to make a guess, I’d say it was for digital projection installation. Of course; I hope I’m wrong but to install 70mm in FOUR auditoriums???? But, we shall see….I hope it is 70mm installation!

CinemarkFan on September 13, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Starting Monday, auditoriums 5 & 6 (both hold 112), will go dark, with them reopening the next day. Wednesday, auditoriums 5 & 6 will go dark again, along with 4, and the largest, 7.

What am I not privy to? It couldn’t be just for a digital conversion, seeing that neither River East nor 600 North, or any other theater that I can think of, closed screens for digital projection. River East in particular, converted stealthy. When they went all-digital last year on 7/22, I didn’t know until the previews came on.

The optimist in me wants to believe that Landmark management knew that Chicago was out of luck showing a first-run 70mm engagement of “The Master”, so they decided to install a DP70 in auditorium 7. Seeing that this is exactly what they did for their west LA location, why not Chicago?

TLSLOEWS on March 14, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Nice link posted by Lifes Too Short Mar26,2010.

Richard3150 on March 13, 2011 at 6:02 pm

In ‘73 I was walking past the Century and heard someone call my name. I turned to see a friend I hadn’t seen in several years. He was removing the seats which had been bought by a guy who owned porno theaters. “Want a tour?,” he asked.
Went through the place from top to bottom. A circular cast-iron stair led up to the flies above the stage where ancient, huge, painted scenic backdrops for stage shows hung in rows. Dressing rooms down below with long tables and walls for mirrors still surrounded by fixtures for light bulbs. Standing on the stage and looking at the main floor and 2(3?) balconies was a pretty heady experience.

raw on June 24, 2010 at 3:27 am

When this theater was still a single screen in the early seventies, it was the site of a traffic accident. A car jumped onto the sidewalk and crashed into a couple of the doors. One of the Shaft movies was playing (I think it was one of the sequels). I remember seeing a photo of the crashed car in one of the Chicago newspapers. I don’t think anyone was seriously hurt.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on March 26, 2010 at 7:03 pm

A photo of the original Century auditorium, something I have never seen before, can be found about halfway down this page:

View link

kstuffings on September 20, 2009 at 8:46 pm


Does anyone know the names of some movies that were shown at the Century during the late 50’s to mid 60’s? Also, I would like to obtain a photo the the theater with some old movie names on the marquee. The picture above has “available space for rent” on the marquee. This is where my mother went to her very first movie and I would like to surprise her with some movie posters from that time or a picture of the theater or something along those lines. Thank you in advance for any assistance with this matter.