Thursday, February 24, 2011

Emagine to open behind Main Art

Emagine Entertainment will be opening its 10-screen megaplex in downtown Royal Oak in May. I’ve heard advertising describing the theatre as being at Main Street and 11 Mile Rd. (technically it’s at Troy St. and 11 Mile, a short block away on the former grocery store property). But wait...that’s the corner of Landmark Theatres Main Art Theatre. What will be the affect of Emagine’s glitzy and amenities-packed cineplex on the tried-and-true Main, a traditional theatre converted into the three-screen art house in the Nineties but is far from state of the art. Attempts to reach a spokesperson for Landmark have been unsuccessful. Someone close to the situation told me that the theatre doesn’t think Emagine will have a negative impact on the Main and might in fact improve attendance. The thinking is that by attracting more filmgoers to the Main Street and 11 Mile corridor theatregoers unfamiliar with Royal Oak may discover the Main for the first time and check out its offerings......This person said the theatre certainly has no intention of closing though there could be concerns about parking. Emagine will have an adjacent parking structure for vehicles as well as a surface lot. But next door is the Main’s parking lot, which can be tight indeed during popular movies or on a weekend evening. It’s very easy to see Emagine customers exploiting the parking lot. Hopefully the Main will adequately police it.....There’s another - and problematic - consideration. Some of the films screened at the Main are less than true art house fare. For example, currently showing is Black Swan. Black Swan also is screening at Emagine’s existing cinemas. Emagine  also is showing indie type films like Cedar Rapids (from Sundance), Carmen in 3D, and The King’s Speech, the last also being screened at Landmark’s Maple Art Theatre in Bloomfield Hills.....Will Emagine’s programming cut into the Main’s audience by offering some of the same movies but in upscale surroundings (including reserved seating, alcohol, and boutique bowling)? Or will Landmark have to sharpen its screenings to show true art films? But by doing so it could suffer an overall revenue loss. Presumably one of the reasons it screens mainstream movies is because its indie titles can’t draw enough people.....More on this in the next post.

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