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Emagine Novi plans temporary drive-in theater at Fountain Walk

Can’t wait to return to the movies? Neither can Paul Glantz. That’s why the chairman and co-founder of Emagine Entertainment has a plan to bring the movie experience outside.

The theater company received approval from the Novi City Council to create a temporary drive-in movie area along the south side of the Emagine Novi theater at 44425 W. 12 Mile in the Twelve Mile Crossing at Fountain Walk.

After receiving approval, Glantz said his team will begin setting up the screen, which will cause the removal of the signage on the south side of the building. Vehicles will be admitted to the parking lot on the south side of the complex for shows and will tune their radio to a frequency to hear the audio. Concessions will be delivered carside by staff. Glantz said he hopes to begin showing films later this month.

While the concept of having a drive-in theater has been kicked around Emagine’s leadership team since April, the idea ramped up in late June, he said.

“I would say that it would came about in Novi pretty quickly,” Glantz said. “When the idea was floated recently and we took a look at the available spaces … it all sort of came together in the last ten days.”

The drive-in concept is a first for Glantz and Emagine Entertainment, which operates theaters in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois. Closed down by order of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to help stop the spread of coronavirus back in March, movie theaters have not reopened since. Emagine has also sponsored drive-in events at Canterbury Village in Orion Township for the summer as well.

In looking at installing such a drive-in screen, Glantz said they originally looked at hosting it outside of the Emagine theater in Rochester Hills. An issue popped up there and they decided to try Novi, he said.

There was some hope by some theater chains, including Emagine, that movie-goers could return by the Fourth of July, a date that’s come and gone. There’s still no word on when theaters could reopen, especially as Whitmer has shown hesitancy with an uptick in daily positive coronavirus cases over the last few weeks.

Glantz — who originally planned to hold a Juneteenth film festival at the Emagine Royal Oak last month before before being told the theater could not open under Whitmer’s executive order — said he’s not even guessing on when he might be able to reopen in Michigan, but believes the theaters will survive the impact of the last several months.

“I think I’m done making projections on that,” he said. “I do remain optimistic. I do believe we’ll make it through.”

Other locations could follow

Pricing for the drive-in is still being determined, Glantz said, but would most likely be a rate per vehicle in attendance. Movies that will be shown at first will be ones already released and would carry a G, PG or PG-13 rated. Once some new releases come later on, those could be aired in the drive-in format as well.

“There’s really not much new until the end of the month,” Glantz said.

The approval for the drive-in theater came from the city council’s Monday meeting, where the concept was approved on the council’s consent agenda without any further discussion. Glantz said he needed to confirm some details with the city, but then the work to create the screen would start soon.

If the concept proves successful in Novi, other drive-ins could pop up at Emagine theaters. Glantz said it’s possible it could come to the theaters in Rochester Hills and Canton, spaces that have larger parking lots.

There’s no definite timeline for how long the outdoor films would air in Novi. Glantz said it all depends on several factors, including what the situation is surrounding the opening of theaters and if there’s enough interest from customers.

“I just don’t know and it really will be predicated on demand,” he said. “If there’s consistent demand at least on weekends, I think we’ll keep doing it.”


Posted By: Hometown Life on July 7, 2020.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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