Lakewood's Detroit Theatre Expected to Close
Employees at the 85-year-old theater were told their last day is Jan. 30.
After about 85 years in business, the curtain is closing on the Detroit Theatre.
Its last showing — "True Grit," starring Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon — is set for the evening of Jan. 30.
The Detroit Theatre is the last movie house in the city.
A popular draw among area residents for its low-cost ticket prices and classic style, the theater is also expected to turn out the lights on about a half–dozen jobs.
An employee at the Detroit Theatre, who wished to remain anonymous, said it’s been difficult for the staff — as well as the customers. Employees were told the fate of the theater on Wednesday.
“I have liked working here,” the employee said.
The theater first opened its doors in 1923 and — except during World War II — has operated since.
The Detroit Theater has been in the Barr family since 1953. Norman Barr, who declined to comment for this story, bought the theater in 1973.
The theater underwent a renovation in 1988 when the massive interior space was partitioned — or twinned — into two separate viewing auditoriums.
In recent years, the theater made its return to showing first-run films.
But according to an online interview with Barr, the theater has struggled to remain profitable with rising prices from the film industry. The theater has survived mostly on the sales of concessions.
According to a report in the Parma Sun Post, the theater was for sale at $695,000. Barr, who also owns the Parma Theater, said in July he was ready to retire.
Lakewood Mayor Michael Summers — who is now the city's acting economic development director — said he is troubled by the news.
“As someone who grew up here, it’s sort of a sad event,” said Summers, who remembers the first movie he saw there in 1965: “Thunderball,” starring Sean Connery as James Bond.
“I can only imagine the sort of pressure that’s been on that entertainment venue.”