Friday, January 20, 2012

The Maple lives, and how!

A news report that the Maple Theatre was closing for good was premature. So hurray to that! In fact not only will the venerable Maple in West Bloomfield continue to show art, foreign and independent films but filmgoers will have a much nicer venue in which to watch the flicks. According to Jon Goldstein of Cloud Nine Theatre Productions, who is taking over the building’s lease, major renovations will take place to upgrade the three-plex with Emagine Entertainment cinemas style amenities. Emagine, in which he is shareholder, is a newer Detroit theatre chain lauded for its digital projection (the first in the world to convert) luxury and reserved seating, as well as alcohol service. Emagine Royal Oak has a restaurant and bowling alley.....The Maple, built in 1974, will still be known by that name and will have new seats, walls, ceilings, an entirely new lobby and concession stand, and bar-lounge, with a “signature” Pewabic tile fireplace. (Pewabic tiles are the famous tiles made at a craft pottery in Detroit for more than 100 years and which adorn numerous area buildings.).....Goldstein says the upgrade will keep to Emagine’s “amenities, philosophy, experience and how you treat your customers.” He has investments in the chain and theatres in western Pennsylvania, Maryland and Niagara Falls.....The Maple will continue running seamlessly into February with the current screening of The Artist along with other titles but will close in April for at least a month while renovations take place.....Goldstein said that while his priorities are art, independent and foreign films – just like predecessor Landmark Theatres – he will also be guided by films that don’t necessarily fit that narrow stereotype. “I’m not going to just play a movie because it’s art, independent and foreign, I’m going to play movies that I believe are going to cater to the audience that’s there which is a sophisticated, upscale audience, that wants to see great stories, they want to see smart film,” he told WDF. That could include movies like The Help, The Debt, The Company Men or The Descendants. “The Help or The Debt last year was a great movie that was more commercial and more mainstream but would have played very nicely at the Maple,” he said. He said a movie like The King’s Speech was introduced as an art film but went mainstream and earned $100 million. “So I think that the real essence of it is what are the great stories that are out there.”.....Goldstein will be booking through New Jersey based Clearview Cinemas, which also serves New York City art houses include the Ziegfeld Theatre, the largest single screen cinema in Manhattan and a frequent site of award presentations.....So why did Landmark pull out and Goldstein’s company take over? Landmark isn’t saying. But Goldstein understands that it did not want to make upgrades to the building. Goldstein’s proposal created more value for the building’s owner Bloomfield Plaza Shopping LLC, which owns the adjoining shopping centre at the corner of Maple and Telegraph roads.

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