Bright neon bulbs, vintage carpeting and red velvet curtains might not be the first thing that comes to mind when Friday night rolls around, but if the Michigan weather is unforgiving heading to a local, independent movie theatre could the best way to pass the time and experience some- thing out of the ordinary.
With roughly 11 theatres spread across southeast Michigan, independent and for- eign film cinemas have maintained a bold presence in their respective communities.
The large neon signs and vintage curb appeal are hard to miss when travelling through places such as Ann Arbor, Royal Oak, Bloomfield Hills and Novi.
“Ann Arbor is very lucky to have such a great support system for keeping these cin- emas around,” said Louis Dickinson, Front of House Coordinator for the Michigan Theater. “Many communities don’t have the funding to restore them.”
While state-of-the-art theatres like Emagine Theatre in Rochester Hills may be drawing large crowds, Dickinson sees com- parable appeal at the Michigan Theatre.
“Back in the day going to (classical]) the- atres was a big event and now we still have close to 200 people visiting our cinema for films, concerts, weddings and graduation ceremonies,” she said.
Michigan Theatre in Ann Arbor
Built in 1928 by the W.S. Butterfield Company, the Michigan Theater boasts a large auditorium with a full curtained stage
and seating for 1,700 people along with a screening room capable of seating 200. Each room is wired for a remarkable
sound experience while maintaining a vintage, elegant appeal.
Shows include: documentaries, inde- pendent films, foreign and classical films, and are shown every day of the week at a variety of times ranging from 1:30p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
If popcorn made with real butter tops off the movie-going experience, then the Michigan Theater is the place to indulge.
Birmingham 8 in Birmingham
If the older style of cinema is appealing, then the Birmingham 8 is the perfect blend of history with a modern movie experi- ence. Originally built as a single screen movie theatre in 1927, the Birmingham 8 has been restored and expanded into a stunning eight-screen cinema.
First-run films are shown at a variety of times starting at noon and running until midnight.
Maple Art Theatre in Bloomfield Hills
Heading northeast of Ann Arbor and into Bloomfield Hills, one will find the Maple Art Theatre. Built in 1974 as part of a large chain owned by Landmark The- atres, this cinema was the first of its kind in the area.
With a more modern appeal, the Maple Art provides three screens, comfortable seating and a variety of movie genres to choose from, such as independent, foreign, newly released and 3-D.
A great selection of movie snacks and popcorn can also be purchased before heading into the theatres at the many concession stands outside the auditorium entrances.