River Oaks Theatre

130 River Oaks Center Sr.,
Calumet City, IL 60409

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Showing 1 - 25 of 236 comments

rivest266 on November 10, 2016 at 7:32 pm

November 3rd, 1978 grand opening ad for No. 4, which was attached to the 1969 building.

RobertEndres on June 10, 2016 at 11:07 am

Just a quick note: This theatre was a 70mm equipped theatre from the start designed around U.A.’s proprietary D-150 process. I visited the booth prior to opening to see a friend of mine who was the RCA engineer assigned to the theatre and the Norelco DP-75’s were just being installed.

DavidZornig on December 30, 2015 at 5:46 pm

1977 photo added, photo credit Planet Hammond Facebook page.

mo4040 on July 16, 2014 at 10:40 pm

Wow…just wow. I saw more movies here than I can remember. I went to a lot of movies in the mid 80’s thru 1991 with my then girlfriend (we broke-up in late 1991 and I did not frequent movies as much). The River Oaks Theaters were where I did a lot of “$3 Tuesday” movie-going. Between this set of theaters and the River Run (now called the ‘Lansing 8), I have done the bulk of my lifetime movie-going between these theaters. Most memorable movie that I can remember seeing here was 'Aliens’ back in 1986.

Sirdrummer007 on August 22, 2013 at 2:24 pm

What?? Musiclab is gone!! Amazing.

Tommyofthntn on February 25, 2013 at 2:32 pm

With the closings of Carson Pirie Scott in January, Musiclab on Burnham Ave. in Lansing this month (Feb. 9), and Sears closing this summer, I doubt the theater will reopen. I was at River Oaks 4 months ago (Oct.) on a rain soaked day and the theaters 1-6 were bulldozed down. The original Theater #1 was still there.

bbfarmer on February 4, 2013 at 12:32 am

Remember seeing “Close Encounters” and “King Kong” at this big theater, and “Network” and “Day of the Locust” at the 2&3 across the street.

Sirdrummer007 on June 20, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Paul, yes this building is still there. I hope someone opens it back up soon

rivest266 on June 18, 2012 at 8:28 pm

May 30th, 1969 grand opening ad is in the photo section for this theatre.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on June 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Is this building still standing?

Sirrom0206 on February 17, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Yesterday I found this site, and was sad to hear about the death of this theater. I saw the first run on the first night, of Star Wars (1977) in this theater. The line circled the building twice. This was an outstanding and majestic place to experience cinema. I loved hearing the silent roar of the projectors and looking back to occasionally see the projectionist. This was a landmark theater, a generation of good times lost.

Fred Schiller
Fred Schiller on February 1, 2012 at 8:45 pm

In the beginning there was the River Oaks theater. Then the much smaller River Oaks 2&3 theaters were built across the street. After that, a small theater was built attached to the original River Oaks. That made River Oaks 4 and that’s when I moved on. What was build after that and where in the mall is unknown to me. Hope this helped. —Fred

Sirdrummer007 on January 31, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Notice this theater is listed as Having One screen. It did start out as 1 screen and later had another screen added. Riveroaks 1-4 closed as a two screen theater.

Fred Schiller
Fred Schiller on December 29, 2011 at 2:48 am

During December in the late 1970s a local charity rented out what used to be called #1 (back when there were only three theaters) and they played the 1970 musical Scrooge which starred Albert Finney. I had never seen it before so I watched and danced along as much as I could. Watching that film has become a holiday event in my house. The DVD gets a workout. I’m glad I got to see it in the big theater in all its glory. That’s a very fond River Oaks memory.

Sirdrummer007 on December 28, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Cinemark=. The Lobby 4 photo is not A View to a Kill. A View to a Kill Played at 2-3 across the street near Denny’s. I went to see that movie soooo much. Oh and the first Photo is of 5-6 with the long hallway. I saw Dreamscape and Return of the Living Dead there Then had some Mcdonalds right around the corner. Them were the days.

filmteknik on August 20, 2011 at 1:47 am

Why are they saying 1600 seats? Unless they are including the addition next door that is way off. The Motion Picture Herald article shown says 1200. I think that is probably rounded up a bit but no way to 1600.

If anyone has any knowledge of whatever crew Loews Cineplex sent in to clear stuff out when this theatre closed (just before AMC took over) I would like you to contact me. I’m trying to find out where some items went. Please drop me an email at screen(AT)filmteknik(DOT)com Thanks!

jimpiscitelli on July 20, 2010 at 1:33 am

River Oaks Theatres Timeline:

1969: Theatre 1 opened with 1600 rocking chair seats by the ABC Great States chain. It’s premiere was “100 Rifles” with Jim Brown and Raquel Welch.

1972: Theatre 2 is opened across the street from theatre 1 by the ABC Great States chain. It had 500 seats (but not rocking chair). It’s premiere was “What’s Up Doc” with Barbara Streisand and Ryan O'Neal.

1974: ABC Great States becomes Plitt Theatres.

1975: Theatre 3 opens adjacent to Theatre 2 by Plitt Theatres. It also sat 500 seats. It’s premiere attraction was “Once Is Not Enough”.

1977: “Star Wars” opens.

1978: Theatre 4 opens adjacent to Theatre 1 by Plitt Theatres. It had 900 rocking chair seats like Theatre 1. It’s premiere attraction was “Magic” starring Anthony Hopkins.

1980: “The Empire Strikes Back” is released.

1980: Theatres 5 and 6 opened by Plitt Theatres. It had 500 seats each. It was located a few blocks away from the other theatres.

1983: “Return Of The Jedi” is released.

1983: Theatres 7 and 8 opened by Plitt Theatres. Its premiere movies were “The Dead Zone” with Christopher Walken and “Rumble Fish” starring Matt Dillon.

1986: Plitt Theatres become Cineplex Odeon Theatres.

1988: Cineplex Odeon opens a 6-screen theatre inside the mall. Theatres 1 and 4 become 9 and 10; Theatres 5 and 6 become 11 and 12; 2 and 3 (for a time) became 13 and 14; 7 and 8 retain their numbering.

1990: Theatres 13 and 14 close.

1998: Cineplex Odeon Theatres become Loews/Cineplex Theatres

1998: Theatres 11 and 12 close.

1999: “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menance” opens.

2002: “Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones” opens

2005: “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith” opens

Fall, 2005: Theatres 7 and 8 close.

January, 2006: Theatres 1-6, 9 and 10 close a day before Loews/Cineplex became AMC Theatres.

June, 2006: Jenco Theatres(the owners of the nearby Lansing Cinema 8) reopens Theatres 1-6.

November, 2007: Theatres 1-6 starts showing second-run movies.

2008: Theatres 1-6 close again.

JRS40 on July 8, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Cinemark – to answer your questions as best I can, the first photo is definitely not the 1-4 lobby. If it is River Oaks it looks like 5-6 because when you walked in and turned an immediate left, there were posters lining the wall on the right. So the pic would be from the opposite side with the entrance doors down the hall and behind the staff and off camera on the right.

As far as the Pacino poster? I would bet on SCARFACE. Remember he did very few movies in the 80’s and that would have been the biggest. The only other possibility? CRUISING.

There is no way to see what the movie on #4 is because you can’t read the sign clearly because of the angle. You can tell it isn’t A VIEW TO A KILL though that IS the poster. But back then the Now Showing Posters were outside and not in the lobby. The movie was definitely coming soon. If I had to guess as to the movie playing based on the letters of the sign it COULD be BREWSTERS MILLIONS.

Hope that helps.

Beadee on July 8, 2010 at 12:36 pm

It was such a big deal to go to RO for a movie. Normally we would go to the Nortown in Chicago heights or theDiana in Washington Mall, the Park Forest, or Brementown mall.

But if the movie was just opening, it was either River Oaks or Lincoln Mall

KingBiscuits on June 5, 2010 at 11:12 pm

And some titles that I noticed in the photos provided by Cinemark:

The Shining
A View To A Kill
Pale Rider
Star Wars
Return Of The Jedi
Hamlet (1990)
The Fly
All The Right Moves
Return Of The Living Dead
All Of Me
Back To The Beach

KingBiscuits on June 5, 2010 at 11:08 pm

I would have gone with Leon (then known as The Professional) for Thanksgiving 1994.

CinemarkFan on June 5, 2010 at 8:24 pm

More from RO’s Plitt/Cineplex era

2/17/84 – FOOTLOOSE
10/5/84 – TEACHERS
2/10/89 – THE FLY II
4/27/90 – THE GUARDIAN
4/15/94 – ABOVE THE RIM (no kidding)
5/13/94 – CROOKLYN
11/23/94 – A LOW DOWN DIRTY SHAME (I liked this movie, but no way I would’ve booked it in 9-10 over “ST: Generations”)
12/9/94 – DROP ZONE

CinemarkFan on June 5, 2010 at 7:33 pm

If I owned it now…

11/6/09 – PRECIOUS
12/11/09 – UP IN THE AIR
12/18/09 – AVATAR (3-D XL)
3/27/10 – THE GHOST WRITER (moveover from 1-6)
4/16/10 – KICK-ASS
5/7/10 – IRON MAN 2
6/4/10 – SPLICE
6/11/10 – THE A-TEAM
7/16/10 – INCEPTION

PopcornFan, I was able to see pictures (at facebook) of RO durning its years as 1-4. I must say, wow! That was a lot of red in that lobby. I have a few questions regarding some of the interior photos.

Is this 1-4 or another RO theater?

Is that a teaser poster for Scarface in the background?

In this photo taken in the lobby of #4, does anyone know what movie is playing there? Or what was playing at 1-4 around that time? I think it could be “A View to a Kill”, because I can make out the poster of that over on the far right, with the man in blue by the games.

Looking at the photos, I am even more inspired to try and restore this building. Some say it will be costly (I believe that), but its worth it.

KingBiscuits on May 23, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Second half of 2009 suggestions:

7/9 Predators
7/16 Inception
7/30 Beastly
8/6 The Other Guys
8/13 The Expendables
8/27 Piranha 3-D
9/3 Machete
9/10 Resident Evil: Afterlife
9/17 The Town
9/24 Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga'Hoole

10/22 Hereafter

11/5 Megamind
11/19 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I

12/10 The Chronicles Of Narnia: Voyage Of The Dawn Treader
12/17 Tron: Legacy
12/25 True Grit

fdm on May 23, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Saw a few films there back in their early glory days (when I lived in Lansing for a year or two, walked all the way from 186th to go see most of them): Easy Rider, Bob And Carol And Ted And Alice, They Shoot Horses Don’t They?, MAS*H, Woodstock, Catch 22, probably Carnal Knowledge too. Hadn’t quite turned 16 by then, so guess I was lucky to be let in to see them at all. Think I sat thru just about all of them at least twice in a row. Also saw Towering Inferno there in ‘75 or '76, but perhaps it wasn’t on the biggest screen (thought it was, but same building anyway).