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Movie theater to undergo renovation

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published May 25, 2016

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Sit back, kick up your feet and dive into the popcorn.

As the moviegoing experience has changed with the advent of options available to individuals, some theaters are trying to bring the comfort of the living room to the silver screen.

MJR Digital Cinemas recently announced a $2.7 million renovation that will take place at Cinema 14 — more commonly known as the theater inside The Mall at Partridge Creek in Clinton Township.

Slated to begin June 6, the renovation will focus largely on seat conversions. Seating in all auditoriums will include brand new VIP electric reclining seats that will include footrests.

Also, movie patrons will be able to purchase reserved seats online in advance. So, rather than rushing to dinner and trying to catch a flick, they can walk into the theater and sit in seats that they determined in advance.

A similar renovation took place in January at MJR Chesterfield.

“We are very happy with the results we are seeing from our first conversion to the electric recliners and reserve seating at our MJR Chesterfield location,” MJR CEO and Founder Michael Mihalich said in a press release. “We think our renovated Partridge Creek Theatre, with the lush electric recliners, reserve seating and the great atmosphere provided by the mall — as well as all of the great restaurants — will be a huge success.”

Other additions include a renovated concession stand featuring new self-serve drink machines, new carpeting and new drapery.

A full-service bar in the lobby has been discussed, but Vice President of Operations Dennis Redmer said that is not on the docket right now — at least not at the Partridge Creek location, which opened in October 2007.

Redmer explained that the renovations are part of a business model that involves addition by subtraction. While some theaters aren’t candidates for renovations due to meeting seating capacity goals and financial goals, others need a facelift.

Theaters can thrive with fewer seats, more space and a more relaxed environment. Sixty percent of seats will actually be eliminated once the renovations are complete.

“We don’t need large auditoriums and all the capacities,” Redmer said. “It’s a comfort thing. People enjoy going (and this is) more private and not crunched in. People can go on a Saturday night for dinner, then see an 8 p.m. show and know where they’re sitting.”

It is part of a growing trend in the industry that started four or five years ago, he said, and to be able to walk around the mall and then sit in a luxury chair and watch a movie is a large part of the expected appeal.

“Partridge Creek is a destination location,” he added.

MJR will close three theaters at a time during the renovations. Once the first three are complete, then they will open and others will be shut down to renovate. It will operate on a rotating schedule.

The expected finish date is the first week of October.

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