Classic Cinemas

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Classic Cinemas is an Illinois movie theatre chain based in Downers Grove, Illinois. It operates 13 locations with 97 screens (as of January 2009). Formerly operated under the banner of parent company Tivoli Enterprises, Classic Cinemas was originally best known for low priced, second run theatres (called "sub run" in the industry) while priding itself on offering better presentation quality and amenities than many first run houses. With the window between first run and DVD release ever shortening Classic Cinemas is now primarily a first-run chain. Its flagship theatre is the large, single-screen Tivoli in Downers Grove, Illinois.

Notable features

Classic Cinemas is known for its extensive and historically sensitive renovations of historic theatres some of which includes painstaking recreations of plasterwork, glass, marquees etc. Classic Cinemas owners Willis and Shirley Johnson are members of a number of preservation societies, as well as the Theatre Historical Society of America, currently located on the second floor of Classic Cinemas' York Theatre in Elmhurst, Illinois. Classic Cinemas is also a major user of the HPS-4000 speaker system and acoustic / audio design.

During a period in the 1980s when certain major films were released with 70mm prints for selected theatres, Classic Cinemas (then under the Tivoli Enterprises name) featured these wide-gauge prints at their flagship Tivioli Theatre for bargain prices once they had come off first-run engagements. This might be the only example of a "sub run" theatre showing films in that format.

Classic Cinemas, based in Downers Grove, Illinois, is a family-owned company operated by Willis, Shirley and Chris Johnson. Established in 1978, Classic Cinemas operates 13 theatres with 99 screens in 12 communities in the northern Illinois area. For more information on Classic Cinemas, please visit


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