Burnham Plaza Cinemas

826 S. Wabash Street,
Chicago, IL 60605

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Showing 1 - 25 of 50 comments

rivest266 on November 23, 2014 at 11:07 am

December 21st, 1988 grand opening ad in photo section.

mo4040 on July 16, 2014 at 7:22 pm

When it first opened, the Burnham Plaza was a nice place to see a show. The only problem was parking.

johncoeland on March 17, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Loews Cineplex unloaded the Burnham as quickly as they could. What little profit it generated was immediately consumed by HUGE maintenance costs due to vandalism and grafiti. Some locations are like that. The Icon works diligently to prevent that kind of distruction, and so far, seems to be winning.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on May 22, 2010 at 5:46 am

I walked past here recently. Unless you’re a huge fan of late-1980s Cineplex-Odeon, Mesbur & Smith architecture, you’d never know a cinema was here. And even then you’d have to look closely.

The entranceway looks like any other professional building entrance. Windows have been cut into the side and the semi-circle where the staircase used to be. It’s really a bland-looking building.

It’s too bad Cineplex-Odeon and Loews gave up on this place so quickly and Meridian and Village ran it into the ground. Come to think of it, the Bricktown had a similar history (except that Village never ran that one).

CinemarkFan on October 6, 2009 at 12:43 pm

According to the Kerasotes website, the theater at Roosevelt Collection is now known as the ShowPlace ICON Theatre. This sounds like Kerasotes is brining about a new brand within the corporation. They’re opening a similar location in St. Louis Park, MN next month.

telliott on September 7, 2009 at 4:03 pm

Thanks, sounds exciting!

CinemarkFan on September 7, 2009 at 2:47 pm

Roosevelt Collection is a rental apartment/retail development that’s located at 150 W Roosevelt Road (Roosevelt & Clark/Wells St). The theaters will be at the end of the center. This link has renderings on how the complex will look when finished.

The Block 37 project is still on. Muvico Theatres will be on the fifth floor I believe. Since David Barton Gym moved to Roosevelt Collection, maybe the seating capacity at 37 might be increased. It will still have seven screens. Opening is set for this fall.

CSWalczak on September 7, 2009 at 2:46 pm

The project developer’s website for the Block 37 project (now called 108 North State) still says that Muvico is going to operate a theater on the shopping center section’s eighth floor. But Muvico just underwent a financial re-organization and sold off off some its theaters to Cinemark. There’s no mention of the Chicago downtown project on the Muvico site though does mention some other projected openings. 108 North State recently lost some previously announced high profile tenants (including Apple Computer). It would not surprise me if the proposed theater is on hold, perhaps indefinitely, given the state of the economy right now.

telliott on September 7, 2009 at 1:03 pm

That sounds great! Where exactly is Roosevelt Collection and when is it opening? Any more info about the cinemas that were to be in Block 37 and when they might open?

CinemarkFan on September 7, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Has anyone walked past the Roosevelt Collection development lately? I can’t wait for the theater to open. I wrote to Dean Kerasotes himself, and he gave me a few snipets of info

The largest auditoriums will have side-masking (a reason to reduce on going to River East)

Two of those largest screens will be about 65 feet wide for ‘scope’ presentations. Both will also have 21 and older balconies with seating for about 150. By now you’ve probably heard about Jerry Kleiner opening a bar at the theater’s upper level.

It will have digital (he didn’t say if it will be all-digital) projection

You’ve heard it here first. I miss the Burnham Plaza, but the Showplace 16 is almost here.

teddy666 on September 6, 2008 at 2:28 pm

It’s already on youtube! Search for the movie title: ‘Last Exit on Dead End Highway’. We shot all over the theater including in the offices and projection booths after hours.

teddy666 on September 6, 2008 at 12:03 am

I worked as a manager at the Burnham for the Village Theater company on and off between 2002 – 2004. The theater was so enormous and creepy. After hours a bunch of us employees filmed a horror movie there, so as a result I have a bunch of dv footage of every room in that building. The theater had two projection booths on two seperate floors, and the quickest way to get to them in a hurry was to take the really creepy fire exit staircase. Incidentally, that was the same staircase the homeless would always break into to sneak and sleep in the theaters overnight. The place was gloomy, and Ron Rooding at one point had his goons begin work on a ticket booth on the floor above the escalators. It was never completed. The place was in fact, falling apart. I can see from experience what can happen to these old theaters when a company doesn’t put any money into repairing them right away. I can only imagine how those old loop theaters must have been run by Plitt in the 1980’s. It seems to me Plitt treated those majestic theaters with the same kind of “I don’t give a crap” attitude that the Village did with places like The Burnham, Water Tower, Village, and Biograph in the 2000’s.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on June 15, 2007 at 7:19 pm

I did some research a few weeks ago, and when Village first became a chain circa 2000-2002, the company DID advertise its cinemas and did appear to be a legitimate chain and not a “crash-and-burn-operation”. The December 20, 2002 edition of The Chicago Tribune shows the following cinemas that Village advertised and the movies playing there:

HINSDALE: Lord of the Ring: The Two Towers
GLENWOOD: Two Weeks Notice, Wild Thornberry’s, & Lord of the Rings 2
BURNHAM PLAZA: Gangs of NY, Lord of the Rings 2, Drumline, Empire
BLOOMINGDALE: Gangs of NY, Two Weeks Notice, Lord of The Rings 2, Drumline, Star Trek Nemesis, Die Another Day.
STRATFORD: Wild Thornberry’s , Lord Of the Rings 2, Hot Chick, Harry Potter & the Chambers Secrets, Analyzze That.
WATER TOWER: Personal Velocity, Standing in the Shadows of Motown, Emporer’s Club,Ararat.
BIOGRAPH: Analyze That, Two Weeks Notice, Gangs of New York.
VILLAGE: Gangs of NY, Rodger Dodger, Emporer’s Club, Man From Elysian Fields.
VILLAGE NORTH: Lord of the Rings 2, Drumline, Star Trek Nemesis.
GOLF GLEN: Two Weeks Notice, Gangs of NY, Wild Thornberry’s, Lord of the Rings 2, Harry Potter, and Analyze That.

Apparantly, Village Entertainment was promoting its cinemas and had decent bookings (although it still gets decent bookings). And Water Tower was showing art films! The questions are what happened and when did Village become a “crash-and-burn” operation?

vargragg on June 7, 2007 at 9:48 am

Does the Village still own any theatres? It just seems to me that they really did have a bunch of gems… but just crushed them instead of doing something with them. Perhaps next one they run to the ground I should buy for dirt cheap from them, and fix it up. The Burnham was an EXCELLENT example! I worked there a couple of times (projected) and every time I always thought of how well it could do if you just put a little bit of money into it, now that the south loop is being developed. You had the parking right there, you had the L right there, you had the colleges, the new residents, new businesses…

CatherineDiMartino on April 2, 2007 at 3:24 am

I walked past here last week. It appears that the front of the building—where the foyer/entrance was—is being used for medical offices. Where the auditoriums were is where the apartments went in.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on January 23, 2007 at 2:59 am


Your comment says that this place was converted to high-end apartments. Not to doubt you, but I don’t see how. The building being a former cinema has few windows (unless they plan on cutting in new windows). And a banner on the rear of the building, facing the L, says that medical-office space is for lease.

lightkeeper on January 16, 2007 at 5:39 pm

I attended a broadcasting school (Midwestern School Of Broadcasting) in Chicago on Wabash so I lived at the YMCA Hotel for several months.
What a place! I’ll never forget the memories of all the varied activities there and the cold wind off Lake Michigan when walking back and fourth to classes. I saw more than my share of movies on weekends at some of the movie theatres downtown.

CinemarkFan on December 30, 2006 at 6:30 am

Oh yeah. Mesbur & Smith designed all Cineplex Odeons from 1983-1990. Then they did a few after that. The brick and interior color you talk about is at Bloomingdale Court, was at Bricktown Square,(from what I’ve heard) and many, many other CO theaters.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on December 30, 2006 at 5:28 am


I believe that the original plan was to convert it into office space. This was per an article I read in a local newspaper.

I walked by here today. The new front they put on the place looks terrible—really grafted on.

Was this theatre designed by the same firm that dd the Lincoln Village. The style and even color of brick looks similar?

ewokpelts on December 18, 2006 at 12:19 am

This theatre space was converted to High Rent Appartments, not office space.

Broan on August 23, 2006 at 3:29 pm

Yes, it does. Hope it comes through.

CinemarkFan on August 23, 2006 at 7:02 am

Did anybody see the rendering of the theater that will be at Roosevelt Collection? Looks promising.

CinemarkFan on June 21, 2006 at 1:54 pm

Paul, I was able to make out some of the movies playing on the marquee in the architect photos Brian posted. The movies are, House Party, I Love You to Death, Crazy People, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Miami Blues.

Oh, Kerasotes’s south loop theater should open in 2008. That would make it the 20 year anniversary of Burnham.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on April 11, 2006 at 8:17 am

Theatres closed by the Village Entertainment chain and the years Village operated them:

Biograph: 2002-2004
Burnham Plaza: 2002-2005
Fox Valley: 2002-2003
Golf Glen: 2002-2006
Hinsdale: 2002-2003
Water Tower: 2002-2003

Notice that all came from Village’s expansion in 2002. Undercapitalized and over-expanded in such a short time

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on April 11, 2006 at 7:57 am

Yeah, just look at the Lincoln Village (even Loews didn’t take down the sign there) and the recently closed Golf Glen.

Speaking of the sign, how were the letters on the upper sign changed? Was there a catwalk, or was a long pole used?