226 19th Street,
Rock Island, IL 61201

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LouRugani on November 16, 2019 at 9:23 pm

Feb 21, 2006: Less than a year into its reincarnation, the Rocket Theater in downtown Rock Island will fall dark again, a victim of growing competition in the independent film market.

However, Rocket owner and operator Devin Hansen said a couple of as-yet-unnamed parties are interested in reopening the venue once again as a dinner-beverage-and-movie theater.

“I believe we were instrumental in ushering in the commercial independent film market, along with the help of the hundreds of independent film lovers in the area,” Hansen said in a news release Monday. “With the increased competition from the new cinemas in Moline, independent films have become a hot commodity.”

The type of films shown at the Rocket — and Hansen’s former theater business venture, Brew & View, which closed in August — began to be shown at Showcase Cinemas 53 in Davenport and Great Escape Theatre, Moline, taking away much-needed business from the theater that operates on narrow margins.

“ ‘March of the Penguins’ and ‘Brokeback Mountain’ became big hits in multiplexes across the country,” he said. “Had we landed one of these films, our future may have been different.”

While the Rocket owners tried to diversify by showing some mainstream movies and booking local, regional and even some national music acts, it was too little, too late.

“We might have been able to survive as a music-only club had we not had so much debt from both movie theaters,” Hansen said. “Movies were always our main focus, our bread-and-butter, and that simply died.”

Hansen said moving from the smaller Brew & View on 2nd Avenue to the larger Rocket on 19th Street was not a contributing cause to going out of business.

“True, we carried over some debt from the small venue, but it was imperative to our survival to have this larger facility,” he said. “We needed a larger venue to carry us through the dry periods. Unfortunately, we ran out of money and credit before we could see how successful this new venue could be.”

Hansen did not give specifics on the potential new theater operators. He did say that they are not purchasing the business from him, but rather starting from scratch. He said one of the possible operators is a national dinner/movie chain with greater resources.

(Tory Brecht, Quad City Times, Davenport, IA)

rivest266 on July 2, 2017 at 2:48 am

This opened on October 25th, 1968 as Capri. Grand opening ad in photo section.

Trolleyguy on May 19, 2016 at 8:31 am

Comedy club website:

screenfx on October 23, 2014 at 7:50 pm

I used to work there in the mid 70’s when it was a second run theatre. It was a dumping ground for parent that didn’t want to watch their kids on the weekends. I remember one night they ran a X rated movie starring Farrah Fawcette but it was only X rated because of some cursing. Really ticked off people hoping to see her naked. That was a weird night.

Charlieg55 on September 25, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Tom Barrister is wrong about the Showcase Cinemas in Milan, Il. This theater complex originally opened with 2 screens, expanded to 3 in 1971, to 6 1975 (they split cinemas 1,2 and 3 in half). By 1980, it was expanded to 11 by once again splitting the existing theaters. Sitting next to the cinemas until its demise in 1978, was the “Memri Drive-In” theater. A “Hy Vee” grocery store now sits at the site of both movie locations. I worked at the “Showcase Cinemas” from late 1970 until mid 1972 as an usher.

TomBarrister on September 8, 2011 at 2:04 pm

I remember the Rocket/Capri theater well. It was originally first-run, except for the Fort. You can see the old WHBF (TV and radio) tower behind it. Half a block south (to the viewer’s left) and catty-corner was the Fort Theater, which got most of the first-run movies. In the early to mid 70’s, the Capri became a budget theater: $1 matinees and I believe $2 evenings. Of course it was second-run by then. In the early 1980s it went to 99 cents anytime.

The Showcase Cinemas in nearby Milan, which opened in 1968 with 6 screens, eventually put all of the downtown theaters out of business. It went out of business itself in 2001.

JeffAdamson on March 3, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Pictures from the website.
View link

JeffAdamson on November 28, 2010 at 5:38 pm

The old Rocket Theater has been renamed The Establishment Theater and opened this Thanksgiving weekend to three sold out shows. With a mix of improvisational comedy from ComedySportz and original films from local studios, tickets sales are exceeding expectations. After the original colors were back on the outside building and every light working on the marquee, the theater grabs your attention.

JeffAdamson on September 13, 2010 at 2:48 pm

We have started work this week bringing the theater up to code. The bathrooms that were located in the basement, are being moved to the first floor for handicapped accessibility. Even though some major changes have been made to the inside over the years, we are trying to reproduce the art deco streamline look to the best of our capabilities. The screen is still there, but the projectors are gone be will be replaced soon. The venue will be used for weekly live performances and future film festivals.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 20, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Already a second run house in 1982.Next is closure.

CSWalczak on August 20, 2010 at 1:29 pm

This theater is being leased to ComedySportz, an improvisational comedy troupe: View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 21, 2009 at 11:22 pm

The Rocket Theatre was featured in an article by theater decorator Hanns Teichert in the March 2, 1940, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The new Tri-States Theatres house was designed by the Des Moines architectural firm Wetherell & Harrison.

milesrich on June 28, 2008 at 12:04 am

In the late 50’s, and 60’s, the Rocket/Capri was a first run house.

kencmcintyre on November 16, 2007 at 8:45 pm

The article discusses the possible renovation of the former Rocket on 19th Street, about the middle of the article. They need more money as the building is not in the best shape, apparently.

kencmcintyre on November 16, 2007 at 5:17 pm

Here is a July 16, 2007 article about the potential re-opening of the theater:

jstep on August 21, 2007 at 1:43 pm

It is for sale/lease and is still sitting empty.

longislandmovies on October 10, 2006 at 6:21 pm

is this theater for sale or lease/

MarshaWalker on October 10, 2006 at 11:15 am

I’m the individual now responsible for the ultimate demise of the Capri/Rocket. It has wonderful potential despite the few issues that are currently being addressed. It’s a great example of an art deco theater. It begs to offer Childrens' Theater on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and classic movies the way they were meant to be viewed, on the big screen. There would be public dollars available for return this theater to its original condition if the private dollars would show themselves first to proove there’s interest from the private sector. jstep refers to the empty downtown….if the Capri/Rocket were active it could be a spur for restaurants and coffee shops to remain open. Childrens' theater in conjunction with both a book store and a toy store whereby the retailers could take advantage of the play or movie being presented to sell the related books and toys would be a great boon to downtown Rock Island. Please let me know your opinions.
Marsha Walker; Director, Business Development, Development Association of Rock Island 309.788.6311

jstep on September 12, 2006 at 4:55 am

The Rocket closed in March of 2006 and is now sitting empty again much like the entire Rock Island downtown.

jstep on September 26, 2005 at 8:50 am

I visited the Rocket this past weekend for a concert and it’s great!
I was curious about the looks of the theatre from the inside and I can tell you that it’s really nice.
It’s a perfect venue for movies and concerts like the one I attended.

A job well done, Devin.

For more pictures of the inside visit

RocketCinema on February 1, 2005 at 10:02 am

Yes, I’m reopening this cinema in Spring 2005. We are going to call it the Brew & View II at the Rocket Cinema. Or, “The Rocket” for short.

We’re keeping the night-club layout for awhile, and then retrofitting some cinema seats into it. The building is in bad shape, but we’re hoping to have it functional by this Spring.

If anyone has any old photos of the place, I’d like to display them in the lobby. I have an old carbon-arc lamphouse which I’m going to put on display, as well as some old 6 sheets.

my contact info is


jstep on November 15, 2004 at 11:20 am

I’ve heard some rumblings that Devin Hansen (owner of the Brew & View) is interested in re-opening this theatre. It would be great, It’s been sitting empty for almost 10 years.

uber on November 14, 2004 at 7:27 pm

According to one of the deeper pages at “…To be held at our new location, the Brew & View 2 at the Capri Cinema in Rock Island!” Don’t know if they bought it, are leasing it, or what exactly.

jstep on October 19, 2004 at 8:13 pm

The Capri has been closed for as long as I can remember. Someone tried to turn it into a nightclub during the 90’s and I remember the band “A Flock Of Seagulls” played there but the next day it closed and has never reopened. A Indian Casino group wanted to buy it and turn it into a bingo hall but that was turned down by the city council.

JimmyC, I know the roof leaks badly other than that I have no information.
We currently have a “Brew and View” which runs newer independent releases and has a live band every once in a while, I have visited that establishment and it’s a nice place to catch a flick.

I will find out some more info on this theater and let you know.

JimmyC on October 1, 2004 at 12:52 pm

My best friend is from the Quad Cities and he and I frequently visit to see his family. The last time we were there was this past Labor Day. We stayed at the Sheraton in downtown Rock Island and went for a walk the morning before we left to see the sites. By the way – one reason downtowns are dying is because they can’t draw people away from the malls with bankers' hours – everything we walked past was closed for Labor Day.

We went past a small, empty theater that my friend said was the old Capri Cinema. I recognized it from this site. The old marquis and outside lighting are in bad shape, but the inside lobby looked salvageable. I didn’t see any “for sale” signs anywhere, so I assume the owner is just leaving it sit perhaps waiting for an offer.

I’m curious about this property and wonder if anyone knows the building’s owner, what condition the interior is in and what it might take to rehab and re-open it. Upon seeing the building and reading about it here, The gears started turning in my head. I’m picturing it re-opening as The Rocket Theater with a retro-30’s sci-fi serial motif a-la Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon and showcasing classic films. Maybe have midnight sceenings on Fridays and/or Saturdays? Anyone from the Quad Cities area like the idea or am I out of my gourd?