Landmark to improve Highland Park theater
Renaissance Place Cinema manager Shawn Machula talks in October about the new technology upgrades that will take place in the theater. On Monday, Landmark Theaters moved a step closer to selling alcohol in the venue. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Landmark Theatres Renaissance Place Cinema
LOCATION: 1850 Second St., Highland Park
SPECIALTY: Diverse films in a sophisticated atmosphere
HOURS: 2 p.m. until after last showing (starting about 9 p.m.) Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. until end of last showing Friday through Sunday.
CONTACT: www.landmarktheatres.com; (847) 432-7903
Updated: October 30, 2012 10:18AM
HIGHLAND PARK — A bucket of popcorn and a great flick make for an enjoyable Friday night, but the Landmark Theatre’s Renaissance Place Cinema of Highland Park offers much more.
Serving downtown Highland Park since 2000, the Landmark Theatre at Renaissance Place offers foreign and independent films outside of the mainstream, as well as smart Hollywood films.
House Manager for Renaissance Place, Shawn Machula, has worked at the Highland Park location since February 2001, starting out as a floor staff member.
“I started out shoveling popcorn and taking tickets,” Machula said. “I’ve always had an interest in entertainment, and it’s just a really great atmosphere.”
Machula said that Landmark Theatres offers films for a large market of theater-goers — films that aren’t available in your standard cineplex.
“It’s good to have a wide variety of entertainment in the area,” Machula said. “Landmark exposes its viewers to stories they may not encounter otherwise. We’re outside the spoils of Chicago where independent and foreign film theaters are in more abundance.
“We bring that opportunity to the suburbs.”
Renaissance Place is one of only two Landmark Theatres in Illinois. Founded in 1974, Landmark Theatres has grown to 52 theaters, including 229 screens in 21 markets. Renaissance Place offers five screens with daily showings starting at 2 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. Friday through Sunday.
The Renaissance Place location recently signed a 10-year lease renewal for the 16,500-square-foot location. Landmark plans to make upgrades to the Highland Park location, including the conversion of all five screens to the latest state-of-the-art digital technology, offering moviegoers an elevated level of film quality and 3D capability.
“Landmark’s Renaissance Place Cinema has been a terrific location for us and we look forward to serving our Highland Park and North Shore communities with the finest in film entertainment and amenities for years to come,” Ted Mundorff, CEO of Landmark Theatres, said in a press release.
Machula said that Landmark plays a mix of films that appeal to or challenge the tastes of their audience, which ranges from several hundred to nearly 1,000 on opening nights. Machula said they offer a little something extra compared to the standard movie theater.
“We’re not just popcorn and soda. We offer Kopali dried, organic fruit, Chicago’s Intelligentsia Coffee and Divine Chocolate,” said Machula. “We are exposing our patrons to something new and different that makes for an affordable and enjoyable evening out.”
Renaissance Place offers Talk Cinema, in which attendees view films and discuss them afterward.
Ticket are $7 for seniors as well as for shows before 5 p.m. on weekdays and first showings on weekends. Tickets are $10 after 5 p.m. during the week and after first showings on weekends. Children’s tickets are $7 and students’ are $8. Three-hour underground parking is available at no cost. New features are opened on Fridays 40 to 45 weeks out of the year.
“The company atmosphere is very different here,” Machula said. “We’re staffed by people who truly like the product and have a genuine interest in cinema whether they just value entertainment or have some sort of background or schooling in film and entertainment.”
Landmark Theatres is the nation’s largest theater chain dedicated to the exhibition and marketing of independent films, according to information supplied by company officials. Ticket, showtime and location information is available at www.landmarktheatres.com.