PARK RIDGE, Ill. — After nearly a century, the Pickwick Theatre in Park Ridge is closing its doors in early January.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the iconic movie theatre’s co-owner said they’ve been losing money almost consistently since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fewer movies are making theatrical runs, which means less ticket sales.
The Pickwick has stood since 1928. In 1975, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Dino Vlahkis’s father bought the iconic theater in 1967 before he took over as a college graduate. Today, Vlahkis is co-owner with his brother-in-law, Dave.
“When I started 42 years ago, over there were 50% private owners. Today, it’s down to less than 5%,” Vlahkis told WGN News.
To make a profit, the theater needs at least 2,000 customers a week to break even. It’s averaging 500. Equally impactful: fewer movies starting as first runs in the theater.
“Where we used to have at Christmas time, 10 to 12 films, we’re down to four movies,” Vlahkis said.
But, if after hearing the news of its closing, the viewing public shows the Pickwick the love in bigger, better numbers and starts showing up again at the 900-seat theater, then Dino and Dave say they might reconsider.
“If we see that Christmas comes and we do well, I’ll be honest, we’ve had a lot of people inquire about coming to the theater, about taking over, so if we see that things are going to be happening, we may stay open,” Vlahkis said.
Jan. 8 is scheduled to be the theatre’s final day, with ‘Gone with the Wind’ as the last film shown.
“I won’t miss the business as much,” Vlahkis said. “I’m going to miss the people.”