River Oaks Theatre

130 River Oaks Center Drive,
Calumet City, IL 60409

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JamesPiscitelli
JamesPiscitelli on July 16, 2018 at 12:49 pm

Update to River Oaks timeline:

October, 2012 – Theatre 1 – 6 (in the mall) is demolished. November, 2012 – Theatres 7 & 8 are demolished. June, 2018 – Original theatre 1 & 4 (later 9 and 10) are demolished.

filmteknik
filmteknik on June 23, 2018 at 2:22 pm

It has been taking a while to bring it down as it’s only a small crew working but as of Friday evening 6/22/18 it’s all gone except for the extreme east and west of the lobby. The famous curved back wall that matched the screen within is gone as is the screen and the whole theatre except as noted. I helped myself to a brick from that area.

Doubly sad because it’s not coming down to make way for something else. Simon malls sold RO to a new owner and Cal City managed to push them into demolishing it citing its deterioration. Yup, I’m sure the roof was leaking but I doubt it was in any danger of collapsing.

Not that I ever expected it to reopen but just imagine if a larger player like AMC or Marcus had come in and built an attached multiplex and refurbished this property. IF they can figure out how to show digital on the deeply curved screen.

If anyone knows what happened to the Super Curvulon lenses please write me at lssr AT filmteknik.com I once worked out a deal to buy them from Simon but they were gone and I was unable to find out who LCE sent in to remove everything except basic projection & sound. It was after they closed but just before LCE went into AMC.

CinemarkFan
CinemarkFan on June 12, 2018 at 8:14 pm

Demolition is underway. Another piece of childhood gone.

jonrev
jonrev on May 13, 2018 at 12:25 am

As of this past week, there seems to be asbestos abatement going on inside.

rivest266
rivest266 on November 10, 2016 at 4:32 pm

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

RobertEndres
RobertEndres on June 10, 2016 at 8:07 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
DavidZornig on December 30, 2015 at 2:46 pm

1977 photo added, photo credit Planet Hammond Facebook page.

mo4040
mo4040 on July 16, 2014 at 7:40 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
Sirdrummer007 on August 22, 2013 at 11:24 am

What?? Musiclab is gone!! Amazing.

Tommyofthntn
Tommyofthntn on February 25, 2013 at 11:32 am

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
bbfarmer on February 3, 2013 at 9:32 pm

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
Sirdrummer007 on June 20, 2012 at 10:34 am

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

rivest266
rivest266 on June 18, 2012 at 5:28 pm

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

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on June 7, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Is this building still standing?

Sirrom0206
Sirrom0206 on February 17, 2012 at 12:05 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 5:45 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
Sirdrummer007 on January 31, 2012 at 8:19 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 28, 2011 at 11:48 pm

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
Sirdrummer007 on December 28, 2011 at 4:51 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
filmteknik on August 19, 2011 at 10:47 pm

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
jimpiscitelli on July 19, 2010 at 10:33 pm

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
JRS40 on July 8, 2010 at 10:21 am

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
Beadee on July 8, 2010 at 9:36 am

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
KingBiscuits on June 5, 2010 at 8:12 pm

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

The Shining
A View To A Kill
Pale Rider
Scarface
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
Fletch

KingBiscuits
KingBiscuits on June 5, 2010 at 8:08 pm

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