Chicago’s oldest movie theater, the New 400 Theaters, closes to the public after a century

The beloved theater in Rogers Park announced its closure on social media Friday.

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The New 400 Theaters location at 6746 N. Sheridan Rd. in the Rogers Park neighborhood is closing it’s doors after a 14 year run, Friday, Aug. 18, 2023.

The New 400 Theaters location at 6746 N. Sheridan Rd. in the Rogers Park neighborhood is closing it’s doors after a 14 year run, Friday, Aug. 18, 2023.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

After more than 100 years, several owners and name changes, a laundry list of community events and more than 1 million tickets sold, the New 400 Theaters in Rogers Park has closed to the public, the theater announced on social media Friday.

The theater, which took on its current name in 2009, first opened as The Regent vaudeville and movie house in 1912, according to its website. Since then, it has cemented itself as a neighborhood staple — and much more than just a big screen.

“As home base from the [Black Lives Matter] marches in RP, as a Covid testing center, as a banquet facility for local businesses, charities, and homeless shelters, as a restroom for the farmers market one year, and last but not least, as a 1st run movie theater,” a Facebook and Instagram post from the theater announcing the closure reads.

The marquee outside the theater at 6746 N. Sheridan Road was empty Friday, and the theater’s website says it’s “currently closed but will be hosting regular private events.”

The theater’s parent company, ADF Capital, and its owner, Tony Fox, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

As movie theaters became increasingly high tech and expensive, the 400 stuck to the basics. With four screens, there’s not a reclining seat in sight.

The New 400 Theaters location at 6746 N Sheridan Road in the Rogers Park neighborhood is closing its doors to the public after more than a century, Friday, Aug. 18, 2023.

The New 400 Theaters location at 6746 N. Sheridan Road in the Rogers Park neighborhood is closing its doors to the public after more than a century.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The bare-bones approach allowed the theater to keep prices low. Of the more than 1 million tickets sold there, not a single one went for more than $10, the Facebook post says. The average movie ticket price is $16 in Chicago, according to the cost-of-living researcher Expatistan.

Fox, who owns the building housing the 400, told the Chicago Tribune earlier this year that he’s likely to sell most of the block, not just the theater. He said he’s put close to $1 million into the theater’s restorations and repairs.

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