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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 was originally best known for low priced, second run theatres (called "sub run" in the industry). With the window between first run and DVD release ever shortening Classic Cinemas is now primarily a first-run chain. Its first theatre and company namesake is the restored, 1000+ seat single-screen Tivoli 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, 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 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 come off 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 over twenty 7.1 equipped auditoriums they plan to roll it out to every screen in the coming year.
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.