Thunderbird Theater

31 Golf Center,
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169

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The Thunderbird Theater was the first theater in Hoffman Estates. As the population increased, it went from a single screen to three screens. As I recall, they cut up the one big screen to make two and then built on to add the third screen.

It went out of business due to increased competition and was converted into a furniture showroom. In 2014 it is in use as a buffet restaurant.

Contributed by Senor Sock

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

kencmcintyre on February 16, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Here is a Daily Herald article dated 11/6/86;

The four-screen Century Theater in Hoffman Estates, after slashing prices and removing first-run movies last month, has shut its doors, ending an eight-year stint in the village. Located in the Golf-Rose Shopping Center, the theater had been the subject of rumors that it would fold over the years, but as late as last month, Century officials denied that the theater would close. Essaness Theaters owned the Century.

With its closing, only one Essaness theater remains in the Chicago area. Earlier this year, Essaness sold its area business to Cineplex-Odeon, a Canadian parent company of Plitt Theatres. Officials at Essaness refused to return repeated phone calls about the Century closing, but village officials in Hoffman Estates confirmed that the theater closed Tuesday.

The news comes just a month after the theater decided to show second-run movies and reduce its admission price from $4 per ticket to $1.50. By doing so, the Century dropped out of competition with Woodfield Theaters and Statford Square for first-run moviegoers and pitted itself against the Barrington Square Six Theaters in Hoffman Estates.

Larry Hanson, an Essaness spokesman, said at the time that the move was only an experiment and he denied that the Century would close. The Century opened in 1978 with three theaters, replacing the old Thunderbird Theater, which closed in 1977. Century split the Thunderbird Theater in half and added on the third screen. Later, the third screen also was split, providing four screens.

With the closing of the Century, the Barrington Square Six is the only movie house in Hoffman Estates. Owners of that theater announced earlier this year, however, that they plan to add 10 more screens in the future.

chapcan on April 20, 2010 at 12:55 pm

You Only Live Twice/Thunderball double-feature with my brother and his friend; House of Dark Shadows( I was only 10, so with my brother again!); Cabaret (at 12, changed my life); The Exorcist, with friend and his father insisted on going with us; Jaws, jumped out of my seat and screamed a lot- packed house/nightmares; A Star is Born; Network, at 16, the sight of Faye getting it on with William made me nauseous- I was an usher there in ‘74. I also worked at the Baskin-Robbins and the Service Merchandise after is was a Grants. Earlier, my Dad took me to the liquor store on Sunday and always bought me a pretzel stick. There was a German bakery next to that and Fabrini’s Flowers was there also. Left town in '78. Returned in '79 to see The Main Event with Steve and in '81 to see Yentl with Cathy.

chapcan on April 20, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Nicholas and Alexandra, The Fiddler on the Roof, too

TLSLOEWS on May 1, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Cool Stories.

Broan on July 19, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Architect was Christopher Chamales

Broan on August 2, 2011 at 8:27 am

It went from the Thunderbird to Century when it split in 1978, and added a third, 900 seat screen (#1) which was itself split in 1983.

rivest266 on June 21, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Grand opening ad posted here

Pichu8boy on June 25, 2013 at 6:42 am

As of today, it is no longer a Furniture Showroom, it is now a Royal Buffet.

ChasSmith on January 30, 2014 at 1:58 pm

From the looks of the building on Google and Bing, it must have been a really fine suburban theater.

I wish I could remember what I saw there while living in the area in 1985/86. If anyone can recall any particular movies exhibited there during those years, I’d sure appreciate it.

GFeret on November 16, 2015 at 12:56 pm

I took my young sons Charlie & Ernie here for the first HOME ALONE movie. I still drive right by every couple weeks and that hibachi royal buffet restaurant that occupies the old theatre space looks to do a bumper business. If you walk through the gangway alongside the building that connects to the south (rear) parking lot anybody can easily notice the emergency exits still there that’re typical of theatres

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