Sunday, November 25, 2012

It's more fun at MJR

I am a recent discoverer of the MJR theatre chain in Detroit. It’s a fully owned Michigan-based operation with offices in Oak Park but its eight theatres are scattered throughout the greater Metro area. I’ve only attended its Partridge Creek mall location but all its cinemas, seemingly sparkling brand new with stadium seating, look equally impressive.....It was one of the first U.S. chains to adopt digital projectors, about which company founder Michael Mihalich was a true prostletizer. “It is an outstanding picture and, with the right kind of sound equipment like we have, there is just no comparison between digital sound from the processor and coming off a 35mm print,” he told Film Journal International. The chain’s website, referencing such pro-digital directors as George Lucas and Steven Soderbergh, describes digital as vastly superior to old fashioned film (sorry, nostalgiaists) that creates an image the way movies were meant to be seen. After all, digital can provide up to 35 trillion (that’s right, trillion) colours, with immense clarity and detail, and is immune to scratches, fading and jittery transitions from one reel to the next (goodbye, countdown numbers).....But what got me interested in MJR (the initials originally were to be for the first names of Mihalich’s family but quickly morphed into Movies Just Right) was the pre-screening announcement. It advises moviegoers to maintain a certain decorum beyond turning off cell phones, such as not putting one’s feet on the back of the seats. I still would have liked viewers to be told not to talk during movies (my top pet peeve) but this is the only chain I’ve been in where management takes such a pro active stance. It seems to work because the theatres are extremely clean, another point of pride with the company’s owner.....Then there is MJR’s theme song, which has caught on in local theatre lore. It’s called “It’s More Fun at MJR!” and after the lyrics, “It’s more than just a movie, it’s a big nite out!” the audience automatically claps three times to the percussion.....MJR shows that fun and civility need not be strangers.

1 comment:

  1. As a former employee I must say that I disagree with your analysis. Sure I feel that the theaters are clean and I thank you for that but we go through hell and high water to get them that way.
    I do not give my business to MJR due to the way they treat their employees. I give my business to Emagine Theatres. They pay their employees more than minimum wage for much less work. MJR is understaffed and under appreciated.