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Classic Cinemas is the largest Illinois based movie theatre chain. Headquartered in Downers Grove, Illinois it operates 13 locations with 104 screens (as of May 2013) under Tivoli Enterprises,Inc. ownership. Classic Cinemas used to be known for low priced, second run theatres (called "sub run" in the industry). With the window between first run and DVD release shortening, Classic Cinemas is now primarily a first-run chain. Its first theatre and company namesake is the restored single-screen Tivoli, which has over 1000 seats, in Downers Grove, Illinois.
Classic Cinemas is known for its extensive and historically sensitive renovations of historic theatres some of which includes painstaking recreations of plasterwork, glass, and marquees. Classic Cinemas owners Willis and Shirley Johnson are members of a number of preservation societies, and the Theatre Historical Society of America, which is located on the second floor of Classic Cinemas' York Theatre in Elmhurst, Illinois. Classic Cinemas is a major user of the HPS-4000 speaker system and acoustic/audio design.
During a period in the 1980s when some major films were released with 70mm prints for select theatres, Classic Cinemas (then under the Tivoli Enterprises name) featured these wide-gauge prints at their flagship Tivoli Theatre for bargain prices once they had ended their first-run engagements. This might be the only example of a "sub run" theatre showing films in that format.
Classic Cinemas finished its technology overhaul in 2012 installing Christie CP4230 projectors, GDC SX2000AR servers, and Datasat AP-20 audio processors. Now all screens have 4K, High Frame Rate (HFR), personal captioning devices, descriptive narration, and hearing impaired systems. They are also installing micro-perforated screens for the ultimate picture quality. All theatres have digital 3D and with more than twenty 7.1 equipped auditoriums. The chain plans to expand this system to every screen.
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 104 screens in 12 communities in the northern Illinois area.