CHATHAM — A South Side theater is celebrating its grand opening with screenings of Jordan Peele’s new sci-fi flick — nearly a year after reopening.
Owners at Cinema Chatham, 210 W. 87th St., hope to get locals to the theater July 21 to catch director Peele’s newest film, “Nope.” Ominous trailers from the film reveal little other than a possible otherworldly force overtaking a California horse ranch.
Cinema Chatham reopened to a small crowd in August. The grand opening celebration this month will highlight the theater’s newest renovations and, hopefully, bring people back to the movies, owner Jon Goldstein said.
“We’re hoping this new Jordan Peele movie is a catalyst to get people back to the theater again,” Goldstein said. “And I hope that all of the people that have been going to this theater for years come back and enjoy it.”
The South Side movie theater was once home to a Studio Movie Grill that closed during the pandemic and permanently shut down in April 2020. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy that same year.
Goldstein and a group of investors bought the building in 2019, not knowing the world would be on lockdown months later. After Studio Movie Grill filed for bankruptcy, Goldstein worked swiftly to fill the vacant space with another theater.
“When you want to provide quality entertainment, movie theaters are an affordable entertainment option,” Goldstein said in August. “You go to a Bulls game or a Bears game and you could be out $600. You come to the movies and, for $50 to $60, you have a really good time seeing something that costs hundreds of millions of dollars to make. I felt like all of the pieces fit with this location.”
In the year Cinema Chatham’s been back in business, it has undergone renovations and upgrades.
All 14 theaters are open to the public, and the business has acquired a liquor license to serve drinks at the bar, Goldstein said.
The concession stand was redone, and there are Coca-Cola freestyle machines so moviegoers can fix their drinks, Goldstein said. There’s also new furniture in the lounge so patrons can relax and chat before their movie starts.
There have been ups and downs in the past year, Goldstein said. Neighbors who come to the theater, employees and local community organizations have all been great, Goldstein said. The “knuckleheads that come in and wreak havoc,” aren’t, he said.
Business has also been slow, Goldstein said.
Older neighbors came out to see Tom Cruise in “Top Gun: Maverick.” But he hopes “Nope” appeals to all ages, he said.
To spread the word about the theater’s grand opening bash, Cinema Chatham is partnering with the Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation to host a red carpet event.
Neighbors can enjoy live entertainment, refreshments and more. Tickets are $25. All proceeds go to the Auburn Gresham organization. You can buy tickets here.
In the months to come, Cinema Chatham will continue to grow bigger and better for neighbors, Goldstein said.
Goldstein has applied for a grant with the city to add a food truck park and community gathering space to the parking lot with ping pong tables and basketball courts, he said.
But at the end of the day, it’s all about the flicks, Goldstein said.
“We hope to see more people back at the movies again,” he said.
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