While most people associate the word “indie” with “cool” or “hip,” the word can have several different connotations. Explore this list to find the best non-chain, indie theaters in the metro area.
4135 W. Maple Road
Bloomfield, MI 48301
The Maple Theater recently underwent a major renovation, after being bought from the Landmark chain of theaters, and is bigger and better than ever. It now boasts stadium seating, with plush seats and “club level” seats with more leg room, and it’s connected to Great Lakes Coffee, a coffeehouse that also serves food. The Maple has been known for showing arthouse movies and now shows a combination of mainstream and art films. Matinees are a little more expensive than other theaters in the area ($8), but between the seats and the atmosphere, you get your money’s worth.
Main Art Theatre
118 N. Main St.
Royal Oak, MI 48067
The Main Art has been a Royal Oak institution since the 1940s, when it was first built as a theater with only one screen. Landmark purchased the theater in 1997, and since then it has become known for screening indie movies and foreign language films. The Main Art is also known for its midnight movies on the weekends (Friday/Saturday nights), when it shows classic and cult classic films. The theater serves Great Lakes Coffee as well as local Fair Trade and organic, and gets rave reviews for its popcorn, which is made with real butter instead of oil. Free parking is available alongside the building, but make sure your spot is in the 600s, otherwise it’s Emagine parking which is not complimentary.
The Michigan Theater
603 E. Liberty St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
The Michigan Theater is a downtown Ann Arbor gem, and was actually once almost torn down; the residents banded together to save the theater. The theater opened in 1928 and was called “A shrine to the arts,” and has been renovated numerous times since its opening. In 1979, the Butterfield Theater Corporation’s lease was up, and there were plans to gut the building and turn the theater into a food court and shopping center. To save the theater, the Michigan Theater Foundation was assembled, and they succeeded. Today, you can see much more than movies at the theater – orchestral events, concerts and theater are shown here – and it’s a beautiful place to attend any event. Make sure to get to your event early to hear a live organ performance, as is tradition.
Related: Best Detroit Movie Theaters
17360 Lahser Road
Detroit, MI 48219
The Redford Theater is another Detroit tradition, having been established in 1928 as the “Kunsky Redford Theatre.” The theater has been through a lot in its lifetime, but continues to serve up classic movies to Detroit moviegoers. Its interior is gorgeous, and the theater serves popcorn with real butter, as well. Tickets are generally around $5, which can’t be beat to see films that you generally won’t see anymore on the big screen. This May, the theater will be showing “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Imitation of Life” (1959) and “Spite Marriage,” with Buster Keaton, in June. Secure parking is available on-site.
760 Penniman Ave.
Plymouth, MI 48170
The Penn Theatre can be found in downtown Plymouth, and opened in December 1941. The theater has changed ownership throughout the years, and in late 2003 it closed for “remodeling,” but had yet to reopen in 2004. In February 2005, the Friends of the Penn was formed, and between them and local businessmen who created Penn Theater Realty, LLC, purchased the theater from its current owners. The theater was able to reopen in September 2006. The theater now mostly shows current or second-run films, and is able to show one film per weekend. Parking is available in lots and on the street nearby.