WAYNE — The iconic State Wayne Phoenix Theatres is dipping into its historic past to bring the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” to life on the big screen early next month, for the first time ever in the state of Michigan in an all-digital presentation.
The movie — where audience members are encouraged to dance, sing, yell back at the screen, throw items such as rice and toast around the room, and dress up like their favorite characters — will premiere in all-digital May 10 at 11:30 p.m. A second show will screen May 11 and showings will continue throughout the summer on the second Saturday of each month.
There will also be a first prize giveaway on opening night of a limited-edition RHPS poster signed by Barry Bostwick, Nell Campbell, and Patricia Quinn from the original 1975 cast.
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show has a loyal fan following that has lasted in a way no other film has that I have experienced in my 30-plus years in the movie business,” said Cory Jacobson, owner of Phoenix Theatres. “The State Wayne Theatre is a fun, historic place to bring a classic film like “Rocky Horror” back from the past and present it in all-digital technology that brings the film to life in a completely new way. The fully digital picture is crisp and the sound is absolutely phenomenal.”
RHPS was created almost four decades ago by iconic record producer and 2013 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Lou Adler. Based on the Richard O’Brien musical (The Rocky Horror Show), the movie is a spoof of science fiction and horror films from the 1940’s through the late 1960’s. It tells the story of a newly engaged couple (Bostwick and Susan Sarandon) whose car breaks down one rainy night near a castle, where it turns out a mad scientist (Tim Curry) is hosting a “party” to reveal his latest “Creation.” First screened in 1975, RHPS is the longest running film, and the number one cult movie, of all-time.
The Preservation Society will lead the audience in pre-show festivities, and there will of course be a “Virgin Sacrifice” (defined as those who have never had the full RHPS experience). The Preservation Society will provide live action “shadow casting” of the movie to accompany what is taking place on the screen, and to help guide the audience participation portions of the film. Prop bags of items for use during the movie will be available for purchase, but no outside props are allowed.
“It’s hard to describe Rocky Horror to someone who has never seen it; it’s like trying to describe your first kiss. You can’t understand it until you experience it,” said Faith Duede of the Michigan Rocky Horror Preservation Society. “The only way to get the full Rocky Horror Picture Show experience is to see it in a theatre, with a shadow cast. We are so excited to be able to bring that back to Metro Detroit, and especially at the State Wayne. Rocky Horror is campy, it’s fun, and it’s interactive. You get to be silly and goofy and no one bats an eye. It is a place to go where everyone is accepted, the music is catchy, and the costumes are outrageous! It has the Time Warp, it has Tim Curry in fishnets, it has everything!”
Built in 1946 as an art-deco masterpiece – and after serving millions of movie-goers in Wayne County with an old-fashioned charm – the State Wayne movie theater went through a modern facelift late in 2012. State Wayne Phoenix Theatres marches on with new Christie Cinema digital projection, QSE surround sound Dolby 7.1 digital sound and amplification – all run from GDC computer servers. New, larger screens have been installed in three of the four theatres. 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 area,” Jacobson said. “While many of us grew up on the original 35 millimeter film versions of movies at State Wayne and other movie houses, 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. Whether it’s a movie’s first showing or 10,000th, it is simply a perfect presentation every time.”
Phoenix Theatres also updated the lobby with better lighting, a contemporary menu of concession stand food and beverages — including its innovative self-serve theatre drink station (first theatre to do so in Detroit, 12 years ago) — and Phoenix’s creation of single-line movie ticket purchases at concessions. Additionally, repairs were made to the classic, hand-painted murals on the lobby walls and theatre hallways; new carpet has been installed and fresh paint colors have been added.
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, Michigan. For more information, visit www.phoenixmovies.net.