Comments from jonrev

Showing 1 - 25 of 33 comments

jonrev commented about Forest Mall Cinema I & II on Dec 21, 2023 at 5:38 pm

Demolished with the Forest Mall in 2020. Eventually Meijer plans to build a store there.

jonrev commented about Dunes 1,2,3 Theatre on Dec 11, 2023 at 11:52 am

A Popeye’s has been built on the former Dunes Theatre.

jonrev commented about Griffith Park Cinema I-II on Dec 7, 2023 at 9:22 am

Under demolition

jonrev commented about Midway Mall 8 on Dec 1, 2023 at 1:15 pm

Closed again

jonrev commented about Belvidere Cinema Gallery on Nov 13, 2023 at 10:04 am

Video tour via Yodeling Loon Retail:

jonrev commented about Griffith Park Cinema I-II on Nov 13, 2023 at 9:25 am

Menard’s purchased the Cinema and attached Griffith Park Plaza shopping center in February 2023. They are currently preparing the area for demolition.

jonrev commented about Jamestown 14 on Oct 13, 2023 at 6:28 am

The demolition site caught fire last night. They let it burn, no hydrants were available.

jonrev commented about Original Twin Location on Sep 28, 2023 at 9:40 am

Former General Cinema twin on the other side of the mall

jonrev commented about Jamestown 14 on Sep 26, 2023 at 9:45 am

Demolition of Jamestown Mall began today by toppling the tower of the Cine’s facade.

jonrev commented about Lakehurst Cinema 12 on Sep 20, 2023 at 8:55 am

According to a Lake County News-Sun article dated December 17, 2003: an IMAX expansion was once in the works for Lakehurst 12.

Lakehurst Cinema opens path to add IMAX theater

December 17, 2003 | Dan Moran

The history of the Eisenhower Interstate System tells us that communities were made and broken by the decision to put exits in some places but not in others. And, as time went on, even the villages lucky enough to get an exit had to compete with those who could put up the holy trinity on their blue signs: food, gas, lodging.

Well, don’t look now, but Waukegan – which already informs Tri-State motorists about their OTB – is on the verge of getting another bragging point for its exit sign: IMAX.

For the locals, this has to come as good news in a consumer world where bigger is increasingly perceived as better. Where it was once a sign of status to have a multiplex, the next step could be to have not only a lot of screens but also a really big one.

“The IMAX would nuzzle up nicely to the 12-screen theater,” said Bruce A. Fogelson of Chicago-based Paramount Homes, which is partnering with the Lakehurst Entertainment Corp. in pursuing an IMAX wing for the venerable Lakehurst Cinema – a true granddaddy of American multiplexes.

According to Fogelson, the current thinking in Hollywood is that IMAX screens are no longer considered a breed apart from the traditional moviegoing experience. Proof of this was witnessed last month, when The Matrix Revolutions was simultaneously unleashed on both IMAX and traditional screens.

Prior to that, mainstream films made it to IMAX only after a tasteful cooling-off period, big-ticket movies that included Star Wars Episode II and The Matrix Reloaded. Fogelson said this was because IMAX has always been thought of as “a different market, a different marketing draw from the (traditional) screen. But they complement each other, so now we’re seeing major motion pictures make the leap right into IMAXes.

“Seeing something on an IMAX screen enhances the moviegoing experience. The market is going in both directions,” he added. “People want to see something bigger than life before they buy the DVD and end up watching in on their 15-inch screen.”

So Waukegan, like any good consumer, apparently wants to run out to Best Buy and get one of them new IMAXes. Preliminary plans for a general makeover of the property around Lakehurst Cinema sailed through the City Council Monday night, though the plans didn’t specifically detail construction of an IMAX.

“The way things work for a developer is you get an idea, then you get permission and then you get going,” Fogelson said. “We have the permission (to resubdivide the land), and now we can get going, but it’s too soon to say when we’ll get there.”

If and when this happens, the Lake County movie landscape will continue an evolution that has seen a number of memorable events in the generation after single-screen movie palaces went the way of the Chevy Bel Air.

It was 10 years ago this month that Marcus Gurnee Cinema opened with 10 now-modest screens. By 1995, Gurnee upped the ante to 14 screens and tacked on six more just a year later – expansions that included the county’s first stadium seating.

Since then, Regal has swooped in with an 18-screen outlet in Round Lake Beach and a 20-screener in Lincolnshire, which also boasted the county’s first general-admission IMAX (unlike the one at Six Flags Great America, which arrived nearly 20 years earlier but requires 40 bucks just to get near it).

All the while, the Lakehurst Cinema sat on Waukegan Road and became something of an afterthought as the Naval Base cabs went to Gurnee Mills and the neighboring shopping mall went to seed. But Fogelson pointed out, with accuracy, that Lakehurst Cinema was once the largest multiplex in the nation. Originally a three-screener when it opened in 1974, the theater added five more in 1984 and another seven in 1987, making it the largest collection of movie screens under a single roof. Briefly, anyway.

But that was then, as they say, and IMAX is now. We’ll see if Waukegan will join that big new world sooner rather than later.

jonrev commented about Regal Round Lake Beach Stadium 18 on Feb 13, 2023 at 6:56 am

Closed February 12, 2023 – theatre was virtually empty as its final shows ran during the Super Bowl.

jonrev commented about Skylark Drive-In on Jan 6, 2023 at 12:16 pm

Housing has been built on the property.

jonrev commented about Hawthorn Theaters on Dec 21, 2022 at 10:58 am

This is a newer building (currently a Whirlyball) located behind the site of the former Plitt theatre, which was demolished.

jonrev commented about Belvidere Cinema Gallery on Oct 25, 2022 at 12:12 pm

General Cinema premiered the Belvidere on January 21, 1966 with the Doris Day-Rod Taylor romcom, “Do Not Disturb”, as the cherry atop the brand new Belvidere Mall: Lake County’s first enclosed shopping center, which had opened the previous November. The press raved about it being the city’s first new theatre built in 38 years. It seated 1000 and featured the largest screen in the area, measuring 22x46 feet. Common General Cinema amenities included pushback seating and an art gallery in the lobby.

In 1971, Lakehurst Mall opened five minutes west; spawning Waukegan’s second General Cinema house on its perimeter, with five screens. In early-1980, Belvidere became a second-run house and its theater was twinned, seating was reduced by 100+. In 1988 Lakehurst lured away Belvidere Mall’s only department store, Montgomery Ward, and the mall shops quickly followed in exodus. Having just expanded Lakehurst to 12 screens, General Cinema walked away from Belvidere in September 1988. Through the first half of 1989, it appears Belvidere ran as an independent before finally going dark.

In late 1991, with Belvidere Mall nearly-empty and surviving as a flea market: the mall itself undertook renovating and reopening the Cinema. The twin theaters were halved again to create a four-screen “miniplex” seating around 200 each. Belvidere Cinema reopened as a bargain house with tickets for second-run features just $1.50. The Cinema and mall’s popularity rebounded during the 90s, reinventing itself as a discounter with mostly locally-owned retailers and services.

In 2002 the mall handed Cinema operations to the Village Theatres chain, bringing both Belvidere and Lakehurst into the same circuit again. It showed first-run features again very briefly, however the outcome was the same as before: after dropping to weekend-only shows, Village closed Belvidere by the end of 2003. A planned $100,000 renovation to the seating, sound, common areas and restrooms was never completed. The Cinema remained mothballed for 16 years, virtually turn-key and unchanged from its General Cinema aesthetic beyond paint and carpet.

Incidentally, Lakehurst Mall - which previously had all but decimated business for Belvidere Mall - closed in 2001 and was razed three years later. Itself, unable to compete with the 1991-opening of Gurnee Mills. Village Theatres' Lakehurst 12 fell into disrepair and shuttered in 2007; it, too, was razed and remains a vacant lot. With the Genesee Theatre serving as a performance venue, this left Belvidere as Waukegan’s only remaining movie theatre.

In 2019, Belvidere Mall embraced Waukegan’s growing arts movement to drive events and business to the mall. This led to me using the Cinema as a popup exhibit space for my photography. In 2021, it grew into a stewardship opportunity with monthly events run by local artists and curators. With some minor refurbishment and all the vintage aesthetics left intact: it currently functions as a proof of concept known as “Belvidere Cinema Gallery”, while we shop it to potential angel investors or business partners.

BCG is currently the only (known) DIY space between Chicago and Milwaukee featuring art exhibits, all-ages/all-genres concerts using Cinema I, and repertory/arthouse film screenings in Cinema II. We’re also open to rentals. Seating is currently 70 + standing room in Cinema I, and 120 in Cinema II. The other two theatres are not used. We have 2-3 shows a month, tied-in with the city of Waukegan’s monthly ArtWauk and special events in the mall.

All of our upcoming events and showtimes can be found on Facebook (Belvidere Cinema Gallery) and Twitter (@belviderecinema).

jonrev commented about Chakeres Theatres Upper Valley Mall Cinema 5 on Jul 2, 2022 at 11:23 pm

Demolished June-July 2022 as part of the Upper Valley Mall’s redevelopment into a business park.

jonrev commented about Allen Park Digital Cinemas on Jan 23, 2022 at 9:02 pm

Slated for demolition:

jonrev commented about Portage 9 on Dec 3, 2021 at 9:32 am

Demolished sometime since 2019.

jonrev commented about AMC Showplace Vernon Hills 8 on May 4, 2021 at 6:43 am

Demolished April 2021.

jonrev commented about AMC Showplace Vernon Hills 8 on Nov 23, 2020 at 1:35 pm

Latest plans are to tear down and build luxury apartments.

jonrev commented about McHenry Outdoor Theatre on Oct 29, 2019 at 10:43 pm

Sign has since been taken down.

jonrev commented about McHenry Outdoor Theatre on Oct 29, 2019 at 10:42 pm

The cover photo marquee stood near IL-120 and Chapel Hill Road, between the Shell and abandoned copy shop. The wind eventually took the rest of the McHenry Outdoor signage off to reveal the rusted original Skyline marquee. Unfortunately it’s since been removed.

jonrev commented about Highland Park Theatre on Dec 17, 2018 at 11:47 pm

Article with final photos of the place before it was demolished.

jonrev commented about Jamestown 14 on May 17, 2018 at 10:33 pm

The main photo of this theater should be changed, and really a separate entry created for it. That is the General Cinema twin that was on the east side of the mall (later-run by Wehrenberg and replaced by the food court). Jamestown 14 was built new on the west side of the mall.

jonrev commented about River Oaks Theatre on May 13, 2018 at 12:25 am

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

jonrev commented about Northridge Movies 6 on Apr 25, 2018 at 12:08 pm

Building pictured is JCPenney, from this vantage point, the theater entrance would actually be to the right of the photographer.