Pickwick Theatre

5 S. Prospect Avenue,
Park Ridge, IL 60068

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Pickwick Theatre

Designed by the firm of Zook & McCaughey, the 1,500-seat, Pickwick Theatre began life in 1928 as a vaudeville and movie house.

In 1975, the theatre was named to the National Register of Historic Places, insuring its preservation as a cinema treasure. But it did not reach true acclaim until the theatre’s façade was used as the backdrop for the opening sequence of Siskel and Ebert’s “At the Movies” in the 1980’s.

In 1990, two smaller screens were added to the rear of the Pickwick Theatre, enhancing the theatre’s commercial prospects without endangering the original auditorium. In 1994 a fourth screen was added upstairs.

During 2007, the Bog Theatre company, which was formerly housed in the Masonic Temple building in downtown Des Plaines, presented live theatrical productions at the Pickwick Theatre. The Pickwick Theatre also hosts other occasional live entertainment and special events.

In 2012, the marquee was repainted in black & white, with some red, to return it to its original colors. Further renovations were completed in October 2012 which returned the original auditorium it to its Art Deco style splendour. The main auditorium now has a reduced capacity of 1,000, with wider new seats. Seating capacities in the three smaller additional auditoriums are now 160, 96 and 220. In 2017 a fifth screen was added.

On December 6, 2022 it was announced the Pickwick Theatre would be closed in January 2023, but the closing date was deferred to April 2023. By June 2023 it was being converted into a dual use live theatre and movie theatre.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 68 comments)

Moviefan333 on December 7, 2022 at 9:22 am

Terrible news about the theater closing. The original theater is stunning with 900 seats. The smaller for Theatre‘s in the back of the building are decent as well. Such nice people running this theater. They’ve been losing money since they opened up again after the virus restrictions were lifted. Limited films and not having attendance as good as it used be. The owner 63 said he wants to retire and be able to go to bed at 10 PM. But this is a terrible loss. Once beautiful movie palaces like this close the usually close forever. I can’t see someone else coming to lease theater to have to pay rent and then deal with operating expenses where they’ll also be losing money. It would be great if Quentin Tarantino or some other wealthy filmmaker or fan of films would come and save this theater

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on December 7, 2022 at 11:01 pm

CORRECTION: Two small auditoriums opened in 1990, making the Pickwick a triplex. A fourth screen was added, upstairs, in 1994. The fifth auditorium opened in 2017.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on December 27, 2022 at 9:00 am

It is a shame that the Pickwick is closing. I remember coming here with my cousins (who lived within walking distance) to see kids' matinees on Saturday afternoons.

Classic Cinemas is the only possible chain I can think of to take over the theater. But they may have their hands full with the recent take over of the LaGrange.

whtesoxfan56 on January 12, 2023 at 6:42 pm

Apparently a new operator will be taking over the Pickwick Theater, and the retiring owner was supposed to announce the new operator tonight. An unofficial quite I heard from Daily Herald, was “it was an offer I couldn’t refuse”. Five interested operators did interview with the Pickwick’s owner, such as the Arcada Theater and Des Plaines Theater concert operator, the owner of Classic Cinemas, Music Box Theater owner, the main person behind a live theater group, and one more person where I couldn’t tell what they did.

whtesoxfan56 on January 12, 2023 at 7:21 pm

Relevant article, stating from the Daily Herald that he has essentially a deal with a new operator. Supposedly Dino(theater owner) was going to announce the new operator, sometime today: https://archive.ph/YvcFq

Moviefan333 on January 12, 2023 at 7:48 pm

Very good News indeed. While tonight 12 January they showed gone with the wind and the original large theater. Movies will live on at the Pickwick theater. The general manager who has been there since she was 17 will be taking over movie operations of the theater a week from Friday the 13th. Then sometime in the spring yet to be determined. A new operator will take over at the Pickwick theater complex. $8 million will be spent in doing upgrades. So this is very good news

They will probably do a mix of Movies and live events when the $8 million renovation is finished or before then with the new operators. Theaters can’t make money just selling tickets to Movies nowadays.

dallasmovietheaters on February 3, 2023 at 3:27 pm

The theatre management changed their closing date to sometime in late April 2023.

Trolleyguy on July 18, 2023 at 7:32 am

Being converted to a combination live theatre and movie house. Story here

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on August 14, 2023 at 6:16 pm

It seems odd that the Copernicus Foundation is running it. I would’ve thought the 2,000 seat Gateway Theater would be enough for their needs.

Chris on January 19, 2024 at 8:02 pm

Still showing movies. Jan 2024

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