Emagine opening funnels money to charities

Officials say ‘premiere’ weekend went smoothly

Royal Oak Review | Published June 1, 2011

 The new Emagine complex on Main Street in Royal Oak features a 16-lane bowling alley in addition to the movie theater. Charity events were held to celebrate the facility’s grand opening.

The new Emagine complex on Main Street in Royal Oak features a 16-lane bowling alley in addition to the movie theater. Charity events were held to celebrate the facility’s grand opening.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

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ROYAL OAK — Emagine Entertainment CEO Paul Glantz said more than 600 people attended each of the Royal Oak theater and bowling complex’s three days of grand opening celebrations May 13-15, helping provide thousands of dollars to local charities.

Different organizations were designated as beneficiaries for each night of the Main Street venue’s opening weekend. Over the course of the weekend, more than $200,000 was raised for the five charities selected.

“I think everybody was thrilled with the grand opening events, and I know I was,” Glantz said. “We were really pleased with the turnout.”

More than 600 people attended on both Friday and Saturday, May 13-14. Sunday’s attendance was good, too, Glantz said.

Variety Detroit was the beneficiary of the first night’s events. The organization provides medical and therapeutic services, recreation and educational opportunities to children with special needs. Tickets to the black-tie, Las Vegas-style show were $150 each, and attendees enjoyed food and drinks, bowling and various movies.

The second night was devoted to the Judson Center and Gleaners Food Bank. Tickets were $100 and included movie showings, chair massages, food and entertainment. The Judson Center, which provides services for children and families in need, will use the money to help support a new resident program for girls ages 11-17 in metro Detroit.

The final night benefited the Royal Oak Foundation for Public Education and the Royal Oak Boys and Girls Clubs of South Oakland County. Those tickets were $15-$20, and the events were family-friendly.

Glantz said the charities were all chosen for their connections to Royal Oak.

“We think it’s important to set the tenor early on that we want to be a contributing member (of the community),” Glantz said. “We don’t just want to take; we want to give back.”

Glantz said Emagine had to overcome many obstacles prior to opening and has worked with the community to make sure residents’ concerns were addressed before its debut.

The main debate was over parking and traffic issues the 10-screen movie theater and 16-lane bowling alley might create. Some were also concerned with the 71,000-square-foot complex’s liquor license and hours of operation.

The development got a $300,000 tax abatement from the Downtown Development Authority, and the first $300,000 the complex pays to the DDA will be returned to the business for work it did improving the sidewalks around the development.

Mayor Jim Ellison said most of the issues seemed to be ironed out before the opening weekend’s festivities.

“I went to all of them,” Ellison said. “Everything went well; I haven’t heard of any major disasters. We had some traffic issues with people getting used to the flow, which will probably happen until people get used to the flow over there.”

He said the city will continue to monitor the situation, and the theater complex has agreed to, as well.

“We’re going to be watching it closely, and the theater had appointed someone to be in charge of parking,” Ellison said.

Emagine Royal Oak is located at 200 Main St., near the corner of 11 Mile Road, in Royal Oak. It is the sixth Emagine Entertainment-owned theater complex.

For information and show times, call (888) 319-FILM or visit www.emagine-entertainment.com.
 

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