Rogers Park

Historic Theater Reopens in Chicago After Pandemic Year

Chicago’s longest operating movie theater has reopened at full capacity following more than a year of pandemic restrictions and closures.

NBC Universal, Inc.

The New 400 Theaters, located in Rogers Park, only closed twice since its opening in 1912: during the Spanish Flu pandemic and the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the pandemic, the movie theater was briefly used as a COVID-19 testing site.

General Manager Scott Holtz says the movie theater survived the pandemic with grants and private movie theater rentals.

"It kept popcorn, it kept beer, it kept the necessities," said Holtz. "It stresses me out a little bit because I’m the custodian of that kind of a legacy. We can’t let this fail. I’m not going to be the dude that lets it go."

On Friday’s reopening, three of the four theaters are in operation.

The main feature showing is “F9”- the ninth installment of the “Fast and Furious” saga.

Thanasi Kalantzis was the first customer to buy a ticket on Friday. He says he’s been coming to “The 400” for nearly 16 years.

“When I was broke and I just got out of the Army 16 years ago, tickets were five dollars,” said Kalantzis. “It’s a gem. I’m super glad that it’s here.”

Tickets are now $8.50, and concessions are well below “big box” movie theater prices.

To see an exclusive tour of the theater, be sure to watch the video above.

For more information on tickets, showtimes and theater history, click here.

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