“Tony Fox never planned to own a movie theater. Fox bought The New 400 Theaters and surrounding storefronts in 2007 as a redevelopment project. Two years later, he began operating the theater, which has been open in Rogers Park for more than 100 years.
“Fourteen years and thousands of movie tickets later, Fox said he’s ready to get out of show business.
“Now the movie theater is in jeopardy of permanently closing. Rogers Park resident Dona Vitale knows all about the theater’s long history.
“‘The 400 Theater was originally called the Regent Theater when it opened in 1913,’ Vitale said. ‘And when it opened, it showed all the first-run silent films including ‘The Perils of Pauline.’’
“Digging through the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society archives, Vitale found pictures and stories of a theater that has also served as a community hub.
“At one point, there were up to 10 cinemas in the neighborhood, Vitale said. But The New 400 Theaters is the only one left.
“‘It would be really good for the neighborhood if we could keep it going and operating as a theater,’ Vitale added, ‘so I hope there’s somebody out there that will do that.’
“I’m hoping one of the bigger movie operators comes and takes it over and keeps it as a movie theater,’ Fox said. ‘I can’t guarantee that, of course.’
“There’s even a neighborhood initiative called the New 400 Street Team, a group of locals holding community movie nights to keep the theater in business.
“Some residents are concerned the historic building could be demolished. But Ald. Maria Hadden (49th Ward) said Fox has been working with her to make sure that doesn’t happen.” (Paddock, WTTW Chicago, 3/16/23)
- Watch or Read the full story at WTTW Chicago
- ‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: New 400 Theaters Facing Closure After More Than 100 Years in Rogers Park, Blair Paddock, Chicago Tonight WTTW Chicago, 3/16/23
- Rogers Park’s New 400 Theaters Could Close After 100 Years As Fans Make Last-Ditch Effort To Save It; The New 400 Theaters opened in 1912 and made it through the pandemic. But the crowds haven’t returned, signaling the theater’s likely demise, its owner said, Joe Ward, Block Club Chicago, 3/9/23
- Can Silent Horror Film Series Save Rogers Park’s Struggling New 400 Theaters? Classic silent films “Nosferatu” and “Phantom Of The Opera” will be screened and accompanied by live organ — just like the New 400 Theaters would have presented the movies in the 1920s, Joe Ward, Block Club Chicago, 3/29/23
- ‘It’s really struggling’: 111-year-old Rogers Park movie theater in danger of closing permanently, Noel Brennan,CBS Chicago, 3/2/23
- New 400 Theaters, 6746 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago at Cinema Treasures
- The New 400 Theaters Website