Movie theater welcomes back moviegoers

Clutching an Icee, Kevin Struck of Bartlett was ready to watch “Godzilla vs. Kong” on the big screen April 15 at Charlestowne 18 movie theater in St. Charles.

After being closed since July, Charlestowne 18 movie theater in St. Charles, along with other Classic Cinemas movie theaters, reopened April 15.

“I haven’t done really anything except hang out with a few friends during the whole pandemic, so I’m excited for something new,” Struck said. “I’m trying to have a little bit more normalcy.”

Struck, 22, has been coming to Charlestowne 18 since he was 14 years old. Charlestowne 18 had reopened June 26 for a brief period as the state moved into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan. It had been closed since mid-March of last year as part of an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

After reopening June 26, Classic Cinemas made the decision to close its movie theaters July 9 because of the lack of new movies.

Former Charlestowne 18 employee Mitch Hwalisz also was taking in “Godzilla vs. Kong.”

“I used to work here many years ago, so I decided to come back, check the place out and visit some old friends,” Hwalisz said.

The last time he took in a movie at Charlestowne 18 was at the end of 2019, when he saw “Ford vs. Ferrari.” Hwalisz is a movie buff.

“Applying to work in a movie theater, I was like, ‘Oh, free movies. That’s awesome,’’' Hwalisz said. “And even after I left, I’d still come back and see movies regularly because I just love movies. Finally, the place is open again.”

Of course, he had a tub of popcorn in his hand as he got ready to walk into the movie auditorium.

”It’s like peanut butter and jelly,” Hwalisz said. “You can’t have one without the other.”

Charlestowne 18 General Manager Randy Pollock was happy to be able to greet customers again as they walked into the movie theater.

“It’s fantastic,” he said. “I’ve been practicing on my family for a whole year. And so now they’re tired of me greeting them. It’s nice to be able to get back out again and actually see the guests. They’re all ecstatic, too.”

For details on all the Classic Cinemas venues, visit

Eric Schelkopf

Eric Schelkopf covers St. Charles and writes entertainment stories for the Kane County Chronicle.