Belvidere Cinema

2145 Belvidere Road,
Waukegan, IL 60085

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: General Cinema Theatres, Regal Cinemas, Village Theatres

Functions: Art Gallery

Nearby Theaters

Belvidere Cinema, Waukegan, IL

This was a very bland mall cinema, which was located in the mall of the same name. It opened by General Cinemas as a 1,000-seat single screen movie theatre on January 21, 1966. It was twinned in the late-1970’s. In the early-1990’s it became a 4-screen theatre.

Village Theatres later operated this place, probably beginning around the same time as the nearby Lakehurst Theatre. Although it looks like new seating had been installed, it was closed by Village in December 2003. A fate that has befallen many cinemas owned by Village!

Contributed by Paul Fortini

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on August 27, 2006 at 11:29 pm

In it’s own way this place was a classic:

Going to the movies 1974 style!

alex35mm on June 5, 2007 at 2:05 pm

Not to do over any one but as the theater listing states at the time this theater opened at a 2 screen General Cinema and was later split to a 4 at some point likely in the late 80s.

ceasar on August 6, 2007 at 6:48 pm

Pemberton Square Cinema 4 was another victim of Village Entertainment. It has been closed now for nearly seven months; it was shut down with the feud over high rent issues with CBL Associattes and Vicksburg has now regressed back another 100 years becouse of this feud. Yet the real hard question that hasn’t been addressed is this: why didn’t this market get a box cinema outside the mall? Now Regel Entertainment Group formally rented that cinema before they sold it to Village Entertainmetn in ‘04. Film wise I can tell Village didn’t do know better. They didn’t do a market study to improve things. Like ask the questions what the customer wanted. Like Regel they continued to target niche market of getting the blacks and teenagers. They never looked at the fact that they lost the teen market to the Jackson Metro area. Especially with Cinemark TinselTown in Pearl,the Malco in Madison and Flowood 15. Poor marketing can also be attributed to its downfall.
And now the mall cinema is closed property at the decaying Pemberton Mall.

CatherineDiMartino on December 5, 2007 at 9:34 pm

Here is a photo of this place.
View link

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on December 6, 2007 at 1:36 am


The movie poster in the photo is of SCARY MOVIE 2, so the place was open until at least 2001.

ceasar on December 6, 2007 at 1:53 am

Background: Pemberton Cimema 4. Four screen multiplex built sometime in the late'80s. Didn’t come operational unitl the early ‘90s. First owner Regel Entertainment Group under the flag title of United Artist Theatres. Now the Clinton 14 another Regal Entertaintment Property flys that same name. As does the Flowood Cinama 15.
Now Regel didn’t go out of the mall in the late '90s nore during the early part of this decade. Regel sold the Pemberton Cinema to Village Theatres in either 2003 or 04. But for sometime under mismanagement audiences moviegoing declined. Market shifted to the TinselTown in Pearl,Malco17 in Madison;Clinton 14 out of Clinton Ms which is thirty miles from Vicksburg.
Management under both Regel and VillageTheatres didn’t pay attention to the fact that market had shifted to high end cinemas in the Jackson Metro area. Now why would Regel Entertainment sale one of thier properties to a bad operator like VillageTheatres?

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on November 22, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Is this cinema still here?

BEACHARK1 on April 27, 2012 at 7:04 pm

I rember take my 2 year old spn to see the lion King here.

mungojerry on May 13, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Belvidere Mall, where this theater is/was located, opened in the mid 60’s.(Montgomery Ward was the big anchor store!) I remember going to see movies there a number of times with friends.

jonrev on December 3, 2021 at 6:21 pm

Belvidere is a General Cinema house that held its gala premiere on January 21, 1966 – a few months after the opening of Belvidere Mall itself, Lake County’s first enclosed shopping center. At the time, Belvidere was a state of the art single screen theater with a wall-to-wall screen showing first-run features, modern sound and pushback seating for 1,000. It was hailed as the city of Waukegan’s first new motion picture theater built in 37 years.

In the mid-1970s it faced stiff sibling rivalry from the new regional Lakehurst Mall, three miles west, and its own General Cinema triplex. By the end of the ‘70s, Belvidere was converted from a single to a second-run twin. In 1988 Lakehurst lured away Belvidere Mall’s only department store, Montgomery Ward, and as the Belvidere Mall fell into decline General Cinema closed Belvidere in the summer of 1989 - having just expanded Lakehurst a second time into a 12-screen. At the turn of the 90s Belvidere was renovated to create a four-screen miniplex seating around 200 in each theatre, and reopened as an independent. The common areas were given a carpet and paint job, otherwise it retained (and still retains) much of the mid-century General Cinema aesthetic.

Rebranded as the Belvidere Theatres, it continued to show second-run and foreign language features at bargain prices ($2 and less), in-line with the Belvidere Mall’s realignment as a discounter. The Village Theaters chain acquired it in 2002, toting plans for $100,000 in renovations and upgrades to the theatres and common areas which unfortunately never saw completion. After dropping to weekend-only operations toward the end, Village closed the Belvidere for the last time in December 2003, with Lakehurst 12 yet again becoming the operators' focus after Village acquired it from the now-defunct General Cinema chain.

Belvidere was more/less mothballed for 18 years. In 2019-20 I was granted occasional use of the space for creative purposes, and in 2021 allowed to expand into a monthly open house as part of the city’s ArtWauk. Currently operating as a DIY art installation known as the Belvidere Cinema Gallery: the preserved lobby/concession area houses a photography exhibit, local art vendors and historic artifacts salvaged from the Genesee Theatre’s restoration. Additionally: two of the Cinemas, while a little aged, have been made usable for potential film screenings and live entertainment.

The Cinema is open to the public on the third Saturday of every month. The installation serves to promote the space for leasing, and its potential for revival as the only silver screens remaining in Waukegan.

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