Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What's new with ICE Theaters?

ICE Theaters Lawndale 10 by Costar Group
To be transparent, I edited the post regarding the death of ICE Theaters owner Donzell Starks that had been published earlier this month. The reason why is because there was no need to be stuck in some negativity as I realize there are a few people who might still mention the "hostile takeover" of the Chatham 14 from over four years ago.

Originally when the blog post was published - and before any editing - was the inclusion of a link to a Crain's article from August 2015. It showed that ICE Theaters - or referred to as a Donzell Starks venture - had filed for bankruptcy. Starks' untimely demise was clearly a shock, but finding this article looking for any published reports in the mainstream media of Donzell's death was also a shock.

From 1997 to 2012, the Chatham theaters had been owned and operated by ICE Theaters. Then after a business dispute ICE moved to the ICE Theaters Lawndale 10 as their company headquarters. I called the showtimes phone number sometime in 2014 as I saw that the official company FB page had stopped updating- save for one random post regarding Serena Williams. Learned at that time that the Lawndale facility had been closed in December 2013 open only for private events.

At this point it's a sad end for a company with a significant legacy. As noted in Crain's, ICE Theaters beat a bid by Magic Johnson to open three movie theaters in minority neighborhoods. Also the Starks owned Meridian which operated theaters in and around downtown Chicago which unfortunately didn't survive. Many of them were originally Cineplex-Odeon theaters.

Even during all the controversy over the Chatham after the events of October 2012 it's often noted the legacy of the Starks bringing movie theaters back to under served neighborhoods in our city.

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