Music Box Theatre Plans to Buy Neighboring Building, Could Add Third Screen

By Serena Dai on November 19, 2013 6:26am 

 Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave., may be expanding next door to 3735 N. Southport Ave. next year.
Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave., may be expanding next door to 3735 N. Southport Ave. next year.
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DNAinfo files/Justin Breen

LAKEVIEW — The Music Box Theatre soon may have room for another screen.

Owner Bill Schopf plans to buy the building next door, 3735 N. Southport Ave., in January, according to the building's owner and Music Box general manager Dave Jennings.

Plans for an expansion aren't set yet, Jennings said in an email statement. But the theater will be exploring the option of adding a third screen in the new property after the sale closes, he said.

Further details on the way the building could be used will be decided after the sale, said Rob Walton, Music Box's spokesman. 

The 3735 building, which is just north of Music Box at 3733 N. Southport Ave., houses White Birch Trading Co., a furniture, gift and jewelry boutique. Preston Lavin opened the shop in 2011 after buying the building in 2010, he said. 

White Birch will close in January after Music Box buys the building, he said, and the shop will not reopen elsewhere.

Earlier this year, the historic theater renovated its "little" screening room, doubling the screen size and shrinking the number of seats to 70. The theater's other screen seats 748 people.

The theater celebrates its 30th year Friday, which the city has declared "Music Box Theatre Day." There will be a Friday reception and a double feature of "North By Northwest" and "The Big Lebowski."

Music Box first opened in 1929, an "elaborate little brother" to the 3,000-seat movie palaces built Downtown. By the late '70s and early '80s, it was only opening sporadically to show Spanish- and Arabic-language films and porn, according to the site.

It reopened in 1983 for double features and repertory films and is known for its selection of foreign, independent and cult film screenings.

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