WAYNE — After serving millions of moviegoers in Wayne County with old-fashioned charm since 1946, the State Theatre in downtown Wayne is reopening after a 21st century face lift.
A grand re-opening and film-cutting ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 11 a.m. will officially reveal the new State Wayne Digital Theatre at the conclusion of the annual Wayne Holiday Parade on Michigan Avenue. The public is invited to come inside and tour the renovated theatre and get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest in digital projection technology.
The open house will include a chance for children to personally meet with Santa Claus and get their wish lists in early, and see Puff, the infamous State-Wayne Dragon. The open house also includes a tour of the film projection rooms. Regular movie schedules will commence at about noon.
“I have a great love for the classic movie theatres across America and the State-Wayne is one of the finest in Michigan, a real gem right here in our own backyard,” said Cory Jacobson, owner of Michigan-based Phoenix Theatres and a life-long movie theatre operator. “Our work here maintains the iconic environment moviegoers have enjoyed at State Wayne since the 1940s, and we have completely upgraded all of projection systems to provide the highest quality digital movie presentation available.”
State Wayne Phoenix Theatres marches into its 7th decade of operation with new Christie digital projectors, and Dolby’s latest 7.1 Digital sound systems, new QSC speakers and amplification – all run from GDC computer servers. New, larger screens have been installed and for the very first time RealD XL 3-D will be presented. Gone are the days of splicing together miles of 35mm film and the concern of scratches effecting a quality presentation for viewers.
“This is a huge win for movie goers in the Wayne community,” Jacobson said. “While many of us grew up on the original 35 millimeter film versions of movies at State Wayne and other movie houses, in my three decades of theatre management, I can honestly say today’s new digital presentation cannot be beat. It is so superior in sound clarity and detailed visual precision that I wouldn’t want to see a movie any other way. The sound is crisp and the picture is superb. Whether it is the 1st performance or 10,000th showing, it is simply a perfect presentation every time.”
Phoenix Theatres has also updated the lobby with better lighting, an updated menu of concession stand food and beverages — including its innovative self-serve theatre drink station (first in Detroit 11 years ago) — and Phoenix’s creation of buying movie tickets in the same line at concessions. Additionally, the classic, hand-painted murals on the lobby walls and theatre hallways have been touched up; new carpet has been installed and fresh paint colors have been added throughout the theatre. Online movie tickets are now available for the first time at http://www.Movietickets.com and http://www.Phoenixmovies.net.
Also, like many of the theatre counterparts of its day in the ‘40s, the State Wayne created a wrap-around marquee. The sign gives the theatre its personality with exactly 1,152 lamps — 550 which stay lit and 602 on a “chaser” to light up the downtown streetscape. Phoenix restored the sign to its former glory with 536 lamps replaced and the electronics fully restored.
“Marquees such as this classic have gone dark over time, due to theatre closings, the widening of streets, and the like,” Jacobson said. “The State Wayne is one of the few such surviving marquees in Michigan, and the wrap-around configuration across the front and side of the theatre is pretty unique anywhere in the country. This was a project I wanted to take on from the minute I saw that colossal marquee. It just feels right to help preserve this historic theatre and to keep making movie-going memories in the community for customers of all ages for years to come.”
The city of Wayne retains ownership but has signed Phoenix Theatres to manage on a long-term contract. Phoenix Theatres helped forge a relationship between the City and the film studios for the latter to reimburse a large portion of the digital cinema experience.
The grand reopening also coincides with the Hollywood release of “Twilight, Breaking Dawn 2.” Following a Phoenix Theatre tradition, a “Twilight Movie Marathon” will begin at 7:45 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15. State Wayne Phoenix Theatres will show “Breaking Dawn Part 1,” followed by the “Breaking Dawn 2” premier at 10 p.m.
Phoenix Theatres opened its first Detroit-area theatre in 2001 and currently operates an additional 10 screens at Laurel Park Place in Livonia, Michigan, and 8 screens at the Mall of Monroe in Monroe. For more information, visit www.phoenixmovies.net.