Credit: Thomas Hawk via Flickr

Gene Siskel Film Center

This probably sounds like a backhanded compliment, given that Film Center presents some of the most substantial and adventurous first-run programming in town. Yet over the past couple years, as the movie exhibition business has contracted, Film Center has carved out a new niche for itself by bringing back to Chicago art-house releases that couldn’t gain a commercial foothold in their first runs at Landmark or Music Box or River East 21. Over the past year alone the Loop venue has given moviegoers a second chance to see such underseen titles as The Trip to Italy, Love Is Strange, Dear White People, Force Majeure, CitizenFour, The Babadook, Inherent Vice, Song of the Sea, Wild Tales, She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, An Honest Liar, and Two Days, One Night. According to Marty Rubin, associate director of programming, the second-run screenings haven’t been a huge draw. But the venue must be doing something right; it recently announced that, for the period of July 2014 through March 2015, its attendance increased 22 percent over the previous year, and box office revenues are up by 27 percent.