Warren welcomes return of first-run movies

New modern theater opens at Universal Mall

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published April 15, 2017

 The new Universal Grand Cinema 16 opened April 7 on the Universal Mall property at 12 Mile and Dequindre, in space that previously operated as the Cinemark Movies 16.

The new Universal Grand Cinema 16 opened April 7 on the Universal Mall property at 12 Mile and Dequindre, in space that previously operated as the Cinemark Movies 16.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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WARREN — Residents wishing to take in a newly released, first-run movie amid modern creature comforts like reclining seats and extra legroom no longer have to trek to theaters outside the city.

The new Universal Grand Cinema 16 opened April 7 on the Universal Mall property at 12 Mile and Dequindre, in space that previously operated as the Cinemark Movies 16.

With a budget of just under $5 million, the project involved a complete gutting and renovation of the existing theater complex. The auditoriums now feature electric reclining seats, extra legroom, reserved seating, and a closed-caption viewing system for hearing-impaired patrons. The theater also has a bar with adult beverages that moviegoers of legal age can take to their seats, and the “pop”-ular Pepsi Spire soft drink dispensers that allow customers to custom blend up to 400 combinations of their own Pepsi product creations.

MJR Digital Cinemas, based in Bloomfield Hills, was founded in 1980 and remains Michigan owned and operated.

“I expect the theatergoers in Warren and surrounding areas will be thrilled with what we have done with the theater and also enjoy the chance to view the latest movies as soon as they are released,” MJR CEO and founder Michael Mihalich said in a statement released April 3.

According to the release, MJR hopes the theater will draw more than 500,000 patrons a year.

Plans for completely refurbishing the Cinemark property and placing it under new management were announced in August last year. The theater closed for remodeling on Dec. 1 and reopened slightly later than expected with new carpeting, drapes, seating and amenities.

After a tour on April 6, Warren Mayor Jim Fouts praised the development, as well as the work of Universal Mall owner and operator Dennis Bostick, who also serves on the city’s Downtown Development Authority board.

“It was a dying mall. Very few people were shopping,” Fouts said. “Dennis Bostick has single-handedly invested a lot of money to refurbish that mall. The movie theater, in my opinion, is the final touch in the renaissance, the refurbishing of this upscale mall.

“This is going to be a first-class movie theater. It’s tailor-made for relaxation and comfort,” Fouts said.

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