The Daily Herald -
and a Movie ?
Take a trip to Hollywood without leaving Illinois. The new Hollywood Blvd, a cinema, bar and eatery, offers moviegoers a chance to visit the movie capital of the world for a different kind cinematic experience."It's the first of it's kind in the area," said Ted Bulthaup, owner of the theater.
With a lobby designed like the famed intersection of Hollywood and Vine, the six-screen cinema in Woodridge brings new meaning to the phrase "dinner theater." Executive-style tables and chairs are set up in each theater to give the viewers a chance to eat a meal and more. They can also order cocktails from the theater's bar. "We have servers that will take care of (customers) throughout the show," Marketing Director Angelique Brunsman said.
The theater is the brainchild of Downers Grove South High School alumnus Ted Bulthaup. While in town recently for his 25th high school reunion, he noticed that General Cinemas had closed its six-screen facility at 1001 W 75th St. in the Woodgrove Festival Shopping Center. With his first theater, Hollywood Bar and Filmworks in Indianapolis, earning rave reviews, Bulthaup decided to open another in the Chicago area.
"I hope to create the same 'Wow,'" he said. With a décor that includes hundreds of classic movie photos and posters, a façade styled after the Chinese Theater in Hollywood and more than 10 tons of ornate artwork, the lobby is sure to capture the attention of visitors. With more than 70 percent of Americans going out to eat either before or after a movie, Bulthaup decided to create a place where they could do both.
"Taking that leap, in my opinion, isn't rocket science," he said. He said the result is an atmosphere where audience members don't have to leave their seats to visit the concession stand. Instead, servers bring their orders right to them.
"People don't have to climb into your lap to get Milk Duds," he said. Because the seats are arranged around tables, viewers are no more than two seat from an aisle. "We have really fancy newfangled things like legroom," Bulthaup said. But those rolling executive leather desk chairs did pose some challenges. With the floors for each of six theaters originally raked for viewers, construction workers had to bring in a couple of tons of concrete to level out the slopes, he said. Otherwise, the chairs and their occupants would roll down the floor toward the screen.
Work on the facility also called for the construction of the kitchen, which serves appetizers, sandwiches, pizza, desserts and the typical movie fare. But parents be warned: Because there is also a bar at Hollywood Blvd, people must be 21 or older to enter. "That is coming as a bit of a surprise," Brunsman said. "It's definitely a date destination."
The movie theater does plan on hosting a children's matinee series in the spring, featuring such movies as "The Wizard of Oz." There are also plans to start showing midnight screenings of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" on weekends. The cost for each movie is $8 per person. There is a one-item minimum purchase. The box office opens one hour before showtime. For more information, visit www.atriptothemovies.com or call (630)427-1880.