New Alamo Drafthouse Chicago Location to Be Dedicated to John Hughes (Exclusive)

Hughes’ son James Hughes talks to TheWrap about the tribute to his father

Alamo Drafthouse Chicago Ferrari

It’s become something of a habit for new Alamo Drafthouse theater locations to be given a theme – and the latest in the Austin, Texas-based chain is no different. The new Alamo Drafthouse Wrigleyville, their first theater in Illinois, will be dedicated to iconic Chicago filmmaker John Hughes, TheWrap can exclusively reveal. The dedication ceremony will take place Thursday, before the theater opens to the public on Friday.

The plaque for the new theater reads:


Director John Hughes has left an indelible mark on our collective consciousness with witty, charming, and heartfelt films like SIXTEEN CANDLES, THE BREAKFAST CLUB, and PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES. In FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF, he perfectly captured the mischievous and carefree spirit of youth through one teen’s epic day playing hooky, cementing Chicago as a cinematic playground in the process. Because of his incalculable influence on cinema, as of Thursday, January 26th 2023, this Alamo Drafthouse Cinema shall hereby and forevermore be known as the John Hughes Cinema.”

“In 1984, I was fourteen and shared the same hairstyle, untucked Polos and braces as Anthony Michael Hall in SIXTEEN CANDLES. I maybe wasn’t the king of them at my school, but I was undeniably a dork,” said Tim League, Alamo Drafthouse Founder and Executive Chairman, in an official statement. “The classic ‘80s John Hughes films hit me like a sledgehammer. For the first time, I experienced movies that truly understood my teenage experience and challenges. I am honored to be paying tribute to a revolutionary storyteller who both positively affected my life but also changed cinema forever.”

“For the naming of the theater and the dedication I’m definitely grateful and honored by proxy. Anytime there’s news of a movie theater opening and not closing, that’s a positive in my book. I’m thrilled Alamo is coming to Chicago as well. It was always in the back of my mind, I felt that it would eventually reach Chicago. I’m just glad it’s happening,” James Hughes, John’s son, told TheWrap, adding that he’ll be on hand for the dedication.

When we asked if his dad would go to a lot of movies, James’ answer was surprising.

“He would be more likely to have been in a record store than a movie theater, I can say that with authority. In particular, of course, in the ‘80s, when he had one production after another like lighting a cigarette off the next, he had enough of a workload of managing screenings of his own work and where to be and having to interpret them,” Hughes said. “His own work occupied a lot of his moviegoing time. He had a lot of formative experiences in the ‘60s growing up, going to the movies. In terms of him spending his idle time at the movies, that was less likely.”

Still, James said that when he lived in New York and he returned home, as his dad entered semiretirement (in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s), he would try and “lure him out to check out a movie,” usually a reparatory exhibition.

And as part of the opening of the new Alamo Drafthouse in Chicago, all six screens will be playing some of Hughes’ most beloved films, including “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club,” “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” “Pretty and Pink” and “Weird Science.” (James says his favorite of his father’s films “overall” is “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” and of the “teen movies,” it’s “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” “It’s a personal favorite,” Hughes said.) Each of the theaters will have exclusive merchandise themed around the films for guests to keep.

There will also be a special drink menu available as part of the inaugural celebration, with drinks with names like Save Ferris (with Jameson Irish Whiskey and Jeppson’s Malört) and The Breakfast Club Cocktail (Cognac VS, Light Rum, honey, pineapple, lemon, cherry) – good for brains, athletes, princesses, basket cases or criminals. “I’ll probably throw one back,” said Hughes.

And, no Alamo Drafthouse would not be complete without a photo op and the Alamo Drafthouse Wrigleyville has a doozy – the lobby features a re-creation of the iconic moment from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” where Cameron (Alan Ruck) accidentally sends his father’s beloved Ferrari 250GT California crashing through the window of his starkly modern garage. You can see it above. And it is awesome.