Sunday, August 19, 2007

Uptown Update Exclusive: Meadow Theatre Group

Uptown Update received this email yesterday from the proposed operator of the movie theatre planned for Lawrence and Winthrop.

Uptown Update:

This morning I spoke with Jim Gouskos regarding the progress of his Lawrence and Winthrop Street project(s). He suggested that I e-mail you and introduce myself, my sons, and the Meadow Theatre Group, as well as bring you in on our plans for the proposed movie theatre to help allay any concerns you, or other community residents, may have in regards to our operating the theatre.

I have been in the motion picture exhibition business since 1974. As of 1989, I owned and operated 42 separate multi-screen theatres throughout New England and New York State. The largest of these were 10 screen theatres that I both designed and constructed. In 1989 I sold my theatre interests to United Artists Theatres to pursue other commercial real estate development opportunities.

In 2000, I resumed operation of one of the theatres that I sold to United Artists. This location is currently being operated by my sons (Joshua and Alex) and me. Joshua, a licensed Florida attorney, works with me in all administrative and accounting functions necessary for the orderly operation of the theatre. Alex (now a producer for Feld Entertainment, Inc.) served as the on-site manager of this theatre for three years and was responsible for the operation of the theatre and maintenance of physical plant. Additionally, Alex was (and still is) exclusively responsible for “booking” the movies from the distributors and was responsible for all advertising and public relations for the theatre.

We have excellent relationships with all the major, and minor, film distributors (Warner Brothers, Paramount, Universal, Sony, New Line, etc.) and have been assured that first run motion pictures are and will be available for this proposed location, without any delay (that is, if a film is to open nationally on August 17, it will open in our theatre on August 17).

One or both of my sons will move to Chicago to become the on-site theatre manager(s). This will ensure excellent ‘hands-on’ ownership/management. Our operating projection model reflects first run film availability and ‘state of the art’ digital sound and video equipment in nine stadium style cinemas. We expect to make a multi-million dollar investment in the theatre equipment and the accompanying appointments to the building itself.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Philip W. Meadow
Meadow Theatre Group, LLC


  1. I like the sound of that.

    I hope it comes to pass.

    Nice to see some proactive communication on the part of Jimmy G and the Meadow Theater Group.

  2. Refreshing, and seemingly honest and open.

    Does this guy know what he's in for? Has he already received a phone call from the 46th ward service office explaining how things work around here?

  3. Feld Entertainment?

    Look them up. You'll be surprised.

  4. Man who is not a Mystery,

    It may be in the interests of our beloved Alderbeast, St. Helen of near Andersonville, to get a theater there. Wilson Yard doesn't seem to be progressing too quickly.

    Given the amount of money and effort she was forced to put into the February election she may want this to happen. It would certainly help her reelection chances if she chooses to run again.

    Hell, she even got Daley to attend an anti crime rally AFTER the election and posted some meager things about crime on her website.

    I don't think the leopard has changed her spots. I just think she has moved them around a bit to hide her real agendas. One of which is to stay in office. The other is to get as much assisted income housing in the ward as feasible before she leaves office. Whenever that happy day comes.

  5. I didn't say she didn't want this to happen.

    But when was the last time a developer or a major potential tenant or investor communicated directly to residents of the community, much less a blog that doesn't quite see things the way she does?

    The answer is: Never.

  6. OH,

    now I see your point.

    Reverend Cleophus James: DO YOU SEE THE LIGHT?
    Jake: THE BAND!
    Reverend Cleophus James: DO YOU SEE THE LIGHT?
    Elwood: What light?
    Reverend Cleophus James: HAVE YOU SEEEEN THE LIGHT?

  7. If the theater group can deliver a modern stadium seating style theater with good technical presentation, this could end up being a huge draw for moviegoers on the north side of Chicago. I don't know about everyone else, but I can't remember the last I went to the movies anywhere in Chicago without SOME problem, be it projection issues, sound quality or something else. A new modern theater with sufficient parking could draw lots of people into our neighborhood and bring lots of business to our restaurants and bars. Sounds a lot like something TIF dollars were supposed to encourage at Wilson Yards, doesn't it?

  8. Sounds Great!

    I have been doing some research on the Movie Biz, since our friend -r was spouting information about needing to be a “big player” to get first run movies. That did not seem right as I have seen first run movies at Davis and Village North, neither owned by a “big player”

    I find many times when I do market and sector research for my clients that many things “known” by the masses about how a sector functions are rumors or myths.

    Like I said in my last post here, I see no reason to believe that a company, who built and sold a successful movie franchise, could not do it again.

    I also tend to agree with Concerned Resident, I think a new North Side theater will do well, Davis and Village North are cool, but a break from their “technology” and broken seats would be nice every once in a while.

  9. Jim and Mr. Meadow should be congratulated on this step. I told Jim at the meeting that my general impression was that people were starved for information about the project and that they wanted something to latch on to to give them confidence that it would be a success. It sounds like Jim took note and Mr. Meadow should be thanked for reaching out to this blog. (New ground for the Uptown Update; I have to tip my hat to them!)

    And I think the email answers a fair number of the questions that were raised. If this is a sign of continued open communication about this project as it goes forward, I am increasingly optimistic about this project.

  10. Sounds great that is the way to do things. Congrats Jim and the Meadow Group for being completely transparent.

  11. This is fantastic! I guess I'll stick around Uptown now, since I have something to look forward to now.