Village Entertainment vs. Classic Cinemas

posted by CatherineDiMartino on February 26, 2007 at 4:53 am

Hello Fellow CT Fans:

I’m relatively new to this site. I don’t have the vast knowledge that many of you have. But I have become more and more interested in cinemas and live theatres.

One thing that I’ve always wondered about is the two local mini-chains here in Chicagoland, Village Theatres and Classic Cinemas. Specifically, I’ve always wondered why Classic Cinemas seems to be so successful and Village Theatres is not. Both chains have had a few things in common. They are locally owned. They have taken over cinemas that were cast off by other chains.

Yet if you look at what has happened to Classic Cinemas vis-a-vis Village, the contrast is very stark. Classic Cinemas has sunk a lot of money into its theatres (the Lake, the York, the Tivoli). It is a delight to go to their theatres. Now, granted a few CCs have closed (the Barrington Square, the Casino, the Foxfield). On the other hand, Village seems content to take over cinemas, promise all sorts of things that rarely happen, and run ‘em a few years 'til they close.

Please understand that I’m not out to slam Village Entertainment. I actually go to the Village Art theatre on Chicago’s North Side frequently (it’s cheap, the presentation is okay and the locals seem to go). But I’ve always wondered about the differences in the ways that CC and Village do business.

Your thoughts, fellow CT fans….

Comments (17)

JohnMessick on February 26, 2007 at 6:55 am

Catherine..From the post that I have read on CT and looking at Classic Cinemas website(I am not sure if village entertainment has a website). I would have to say Classic puts money back into the business and markets it self well. Imagine that a theater chain putting money back into thier properties.

alex35mm on February 26, 2007 at 8:18 am

I know for a fact that that Village Ent. is a crash and burn chain. The company is horribly run, disorganized, corrupt and most of all these people have no business running a theater as they simply do not have an understanding of what can make a movie theater so special and have a complete lack of showmanship. Don’t even get me started on presentation as most of the Village’s around Chicago. I’m honestly un-sure how the chain sustains its self and doesn’t just completely implode.

As for classic, well, they seem to actually care and have their head on straight.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on February 26, 2007 at 12:50 pm


I’ve often thought that this is Village’s game plan.

1) Take over a theatre that no one else wants.
2) Run it for awhile into the ground.
3) Make some profit in it by minimal investment.
4) Leave it for dead and take over another theatre.

A Projectionist—I think that Village is “Crazy-Like-A-Fox” and I
honestly believe that the above is thier game plan. Village could coast for a very long time and make profits by doing this, squeezing every last cent from a theatre, as long as other chains will supply them with cast-off multi-plexes. I have no doubt that the next theatre they’ll close will be the Bloomingdale Court and the next one they may take over will be the Chicago Ridge.

CatherineDiMartino on February 27, 2007 at 5:59 am

John Messick,

Village does have a website which was inactive for awhile, but is now back on line. My husband and I use it whenever we go to the Village Art Theatre because they don’t advertise it in the Sun-Times or the Tribune. The website is okay, giving the showtimes and addresses of their theatres, but not much more.

I’ve seen sporadic ads for the Lincoln Village and the North Riverside, but no other Village Theatres, in the newspapers. Do they advertise in the suburban newspapers like the Daily Herald or the Southtown?

rivest266 on February 27, 2007 at 11:54 am

Catherine DiM, That website at is for an circuit in Southern California. not Chicagoland.

JohnMessick on February 27, 2007 at 1:26 pm

Catherine..I live outside Harrisburg Pennsylvania. What are first run movie tickets going for these days in Chicagoland?

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on February 27, 2007 at 4:19 pm

Why even bother with the upkeep on an old multiplex? They should rent a storefront or two and turn them into nickelodeons. A few folding chairs, a projector, a screen for school film strips…

alex35mm on February 27, 2007 at 5:32 pm

Because the upkeep of an old multiplex is essentual for a smooth oporating theater and great effects the surrounding neighborhood. Everything matters.

That’s one of the number one reasons I’d buy the village art and completely jazz it up to fit with the neighborhood. If I had the cash. Under the right movies and advertising that place could and still occasially does do quite well. I never was able to find a reason why they don’t publish showtimes, however I have a feeling it’s that they don’t really care how well the theaters do.

“That’s village for ya..”

alex35mm on February 27, 2007 at 5:36 pm

Also, sorry for the double post but Village Entertainments cutting edge site can be found at:

CatherineDiMartino on February 28, 2007 at 2:51 am

A Projectionist:

Yes, you’re right about the website
and I’ve made that mistake more than once. Dousy lyslexia! Although I noticed that the “other” Village TheatERs also has a “Village North”. I know that their website isn’t quite “cutting edge”, but it does give showtimes and coming attractions and that’s really all I want when I go to a cinema chain’s website.

Per your comment “…under the right movies and advertising that place could and still occasially does do quite well”, you are right. My husband and I went to see CHILDREN OF MEN at the Village Art and there was a good crowd there (and it was a weeknight).

My friend and fellow CT'er Paul Fortini may have been right, I beleive, when he once said that Village Entertainment should just concentrate on running the Village Art and Village North.

jimpiscitelli on March 2, 2007 at 7:29 am

I wish Cinema Treasures or Kerasotes Theaters could take over the North Riverside Theaters. Kerasotes Theaters has taken over the Crown Village 18 in Skokie and the Crown Glen 10 in Glenview.

Those two chains know how to run a theater unlike Village Entertainment when they promise something and they don’t do it.

rivest266 on March 2, 2007 at 12:28 pm

Jimpiscitelli, Cinema Treasures the last i heard is this website…

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on March 2, 2007 at 5:04 pm

I think Jimpiscitelli means CLassic Cinemas.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on March 2, 2007 at 5:06 pm

Oddly enough, the Crown Village has the word “village” in its name.

jimpiscitelli on March 2, 2007 at 5:31 pm

Yes, I meant Classic Cinemas sorry for the error.

ceasar on December 5, 2007 at 1:45 pm

Village Entertainment took over the Pemberton Cinema 4 and this chain didn’t take care of the mall cinema at all. Last year at this time a feud broke out between the mall trustee CBL Associates and Village Ent over high rent. Village didn’t want to pay the rent at all. And CBL closed it down to the shock of the community. But Village made mistakes with this old cinema. They didn’t do marketing studies to see how demographics changed.In the local paper they kept harping on renovations which never took place. In fact in the summer of last of thier projectors broke during Miami Vice. It really got a lot of the fans upset.
When it came to the closing CBL and Village Ent are at fault over this.

WHALER66 on June 20, 2010 at 12:29 am

Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be and maybe Village Entertainment IS a good company but man…. their management team absolutely
sucked the life out of the former Lincoln Village 1-6. It was absolutely horrible to see how far from grace that theater
had fallen under VE’S tenure. It broke my heart because that was my movie house growing up. I understand some corporations try and fail
with certain properties but there’s no excuse for theaters without
heat or bathrooms that resemble sewers. That’s organizational apathy. That’s neglect, plain and simple.

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