These Chicago Movie Theaters Are Offering Content to Stream at Home

With boredom setting in amidst shelter-in-place orders, we’re really starting to miss some of our favorite tried-and-true ways to stay entertained—like seeing a new release at your local movie theater. There’s nothing like seeing a great movie for the first time on the big screen, surrounded by an audience. The power of this experience was recently highlighted by a viral tweet thread that synced an opening-night audience’s reaction to “Avengers: Endgame” to clips from the film. Until we can all get back to the theaters, many local movie theaters, always a center of cultural activity and enrichment, are staying connected to their audiences by streaming content for you to watch at home. Here are some to check out now plus ways to support them.

Music Box Theatre

It probably wasn’t the way the staff at the classic Music Box planned to spend the theater’s 90th anniversary, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still celebrate with them — at home. The best way to do that is through the theater’s own Music Box Direct, a “streaming service platform dedicated to curating a diverse repertoire of films and television series from around the world.” Try it free for seven days on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV or online.

SUPPORT: You can buy everything from memberships to branded pint glasses to lapel pins at the merch shop.

Gene Siskel Film Center

Formerly the Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the center was renamed after the popular film critic in 2001. Taking advantage of multiple streaming services (so prices may vary), the center is offering access to an ever-changing list of films from independent distributors. Check their Facebook page for more info on each film.

SUPPORT: Donation or membership.

Facets Cinematheque

Founded in 1975, this nonprofit film center offers films of course, but also children’s summer camps (coming back when it is safe to do so) and the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, the oldest such festival in the Western Hemisphere. But, since you can’t experience any of that now, try exploring the extensive collection of thousands of by-mail DVD rentals and sales (that service is still in operation). The current featured titles? The Andromeda Strain, Contagion and Outbreak.

SUPPORT: Join or donate.

An empty house at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in California.

For more on Better:

Helping Local Musicians Survive Venue Closures

7 Podcasts To Keep You (And the Kids) Occupied During the Shutdown

Good News (and Free Stuff!) From the Art World—Museums, Operas, Adult Coloring and More

Dan Jewett HeadshotDaniel Jewett has been a Bay Area journalist for more than two decades, getting his start as editor of his hometown newspaper, the Foster City Progress. Jewett went on to serve as Associate Editor for Oakland and Alameda magazines before crossing the bridge to serve as Marin Magazine and Spaces’ Managing Editor. Jewett still calls Oakland home, where he writes and plays music with his wife in My Little Hum and hangs out with his chickens, bees and cats, Holly and Maple.

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