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Emagine, Big Sean plan to open new Detroit movie theater

Emagine Entertainment Inc. and Detroit-born rapper Sean “Big Sean” Anderson are opening a new movie theater in downtown Detroit.

Although the Troy-based company has not yet determined a precise location for the theater, which would also include a new music venue, it would provide a new movie option in a city where few exist.

“There is no major movie theater in the city of Detroit — this makes no sense to me,” Big Sean said in a statement to Crain’s. “I feel that it is necessary to build a theater in the city, not only because of the joy and inspiration movies will bring to people’s lives, but I hope this theater will become a hub of creativity — a place for intimate concerts, lectures, meetings, and other events.”

An entity tied to Paul Glantz, the founder and chairman of Emagine, has been accumulating property in Detroit’s Milwaukee Junction neighborhood, buying a building with a mural saying “We Kahn Do It!” on its eastern wall at East Milwaukee and Brush Street and a handful of small proximate parcels since, according to city land records.

Glantz said in a statement that Detroit’s movie-going market is “underserved” and that the joint venture between Emagine and Big Sean will address that.

“In combining the strength of a local entertainment powerhouse, Big Sean, with the operating prowess of Emagine, the void will be filled in a glorious fashion,” Glantz said in the statement.

A statement provided to Crain’s on Tuesday afternoon says the theater will have “multi-screen cinemas and a brand-new concept creating an intimate live music venue that will incorporate a stage for live music and other live entertainment experiences.”

Tuesday evening, Glantz said he hopes to have the theater “open in time for 2020” and that it would have between 1,000 and 1,300 seats and 10-12 screens. A site is expected to be finalized this year. Big Sean is “very much” an equity partner in the joint venture, he said, adding that the theater could be part of a larger mixed-use project.

Development costs are “all really predicated on where the optimal site is,” Glantz said, noting that a new theater in Hartland is in the $15 million range. Ground-breaking on that property is set for  April.

Glantz told Crain’s in June that he was evaluating two downtown sites for a new movie theater.

A formal announcement is expected Wednesday morning at the Emagine theater in downtown Royal Oak, when more than 900 Detroit students attend a free showing of “Black Panther.” The Detroit Free Press, Detroit Lions, Ford Fund, former ESPN “SportsCenter” anchor Jemele Hill, Big Sean, Eminem and other Detroit celebrities teamed up to put on the event.

The Ren Cen 4 theater closed in 2015 after almost three decades in operation. It was on the second floor of the Renaissance Center’s Tower 200 and was 18,000 square feet. Elsewhere, there is Cinema Detroit on Third Avenue; Bel Air 10 on Eight Mile Road on the city’s northeast side; and the Redford Theatre on its northwest side.

Emagine has locations in Saline, Birmingham, Canton Township, Macomb Township, Novi, Rochester Hills, Royal Oak and Birch Run. It also has theaters in Illinois and Minnesota. It recorded $80 million in revenue last year.

Aaron Foley, chief storyteller under Mayor Mike Duggan, recently wrote on TheNeighborhoods.org that Big Sean on his most recent album, “Double or Nothing,” included a lyric about opening a Detroit movie theater in one of his songs.

 

Posted By: Crain’s Detroit Business on February 27, 2018.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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