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ICE Chatham 14 Theater abruptly shuts its door

Updated: October 19, 2012 10:17PM



It was not a Hollywood ending for the ICE Chatham 14 Theater.

Friday night, hundreds of movie fans who went to the South Side movie complex were surprised and disappointed to find the theaters closed and locked with an eviction notice from the Cook County Sheriff slapped on the front door.

The theater, in the Chatham Ridge Mall at 210 W. 87th street, is owned by Inner City Entertainment, a local company run by husband and wife team Donzell and Alisa Starks. The couple did not return calls for comment.

Opened in 1997 with help from Tax Increment Financing money, it was the only movie theater left on Chicago’s South Side. Another theater run by the couple near 62nd and Western closed in 2007. Inner City Entertainment also owns another theater on the West Side, ICE Theaters Lawndale 10, at 3330 W. Roosevelt Rd.

The Starks closed the West Side theater in 2007 but reopened it in 2011. It was still open for business Friday night, according to a manager there. The manager said he was aware that the Chatham theater was closed. “I heard about it but I don’t know just what happened,” he said.

Thomas Price, who had planned to see “Paranormal Activity 4,” lamented the closing of his neighborhood theater. “It looks like it will be awhile before we can come back and watch movies in our community,” he said looking at the eviction notice.

“You’re forcing people to travel out of the neighborhood,” said Price, 47, who works at Stroger Hospital. He said the theater, “It keeps a lot of the kids from doing things that they shouldn’t be doing. A three-hour movie, who knows how many lives it saves.”

Daphne Bennett came with her husband and her very dissappointed 4-year-old granddaughter. who said, “Where are we going now?

According to Bennett, the theater’s closing is “Consistent with everything else, there’s not too many things in our community anymore. We’re used having to go out of our community for the things we need.”

Inner City Entertainment at one point also owned the Biograph, Bricktown Square, Burnham Plaza, Hyde Park, Broadway and Water Tower theaters.

However the company frequently had trouble with the city for non-payment of amusement taxes and was in and out of court with assorted movie distributors.



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