Stadium seating for lesser known films, but still artsy

Alexandra Stieber

Going to the movies has become such a popular, commonplace activity for Americans. People young and old flock to theaters for an afternoon or evening of entertainment. Films take patrons to an entirely different world for several hours of the day. And with soda and popcorn in hand, viewers can escape the hubbub of everyday life for a little while.

A recent trend in the film industry, however, has seen the rise in popularity of independent and foreign films. With this increased interest comes a need for specialized theaters that dedicate themselves to showing such films — and that is precisely what Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema does for Chicago.

Located in the Century Shopping Centre at 2828 N. Clark St., Landmark is the first entirely stadium seating theater showcasing independent and foreign films in the Chicago area. Tall and majestic, the theater also is an architecturally unique structure, adding a hint of artistic flair and art deco style to its state-of-the-art facilities and services.

“The look does contribute quite a bit (to the movie-going experience),” said Tim Kuttruff, 35, an assistant manager at the establishment. “The theater has a different feel and look. It’s not as plastic looking, and it’s got a little more elegance to it. It goes well with the films.”

Not only does Landmark offer a distinctively pleasant and innovative movie-going experience, but it also provides many amenities, including conveniently located validated parking, unobstructed sightlines, Dolby Digital sound and gourmet treats in addition to the traditional concessions.

“I think we try and have a little more fun with our customers and what we do,” Kuttruff said. “A lot of the employees here are really into movies. We just goof around with the customers and make them feel more comfortable. Overall, we just try to make it a more fun experience.”

People also can grab a bite to eat at one of the many award-winning restaurants on the fourth, fifth and sixth floors of the Century Shopping Centre before or after catching a flick.

“The theater is easily accessible by the El and by bus,” Kuttruff said. “There are a lot of restaurants right around too. It’s not quite downtown, so it’s a little livelier here and a little cheaper too.”

The seven-screen theater opened in March of 2000 and posted the highest weekend gross in the entire United States of the John Cusack film “High Fidelity,” previewing its continued success.

Chicago’s Landmark is one of 57 theaters owned by the Landmark Theaters chain — the largest art-house chain in the United States. Founded in 1974, the business originated in west Los Angeles but soon expanded throughout the country during the ’80s and ’90s, acquiring more theaters both through mergers and the addition of multiplex theaters. Landmark Theatres has developed a reputation for fresh and innovative marketing strategies, to which the owners attribute much of their success.

In the upcoming weeks, Landmark will be screening some of the films featured in the Chicago International Film Festival. The event, which showcases foreign films by celebrated directors such as Istvan Szab