Drive-in set to open this month on Detroit's Monroe Street

Candice Williams
The Detroit News
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Bedrock has partnered with Emagine Entertainment to open the Monroe Street Drive-In starting Jan. 22 in downtown Detroit. 

The first screening will be "Jurassic Park" with additional films and showtimes starting at 7 p.m. every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday through the spring. Ticket sales will begin next week.

The previously reported temporary drive-in movie theater will be at the site of Bedrock’s stalled Monroe Blocks project. The Downtown Development Authority Board approved the outdoor entertainment venue at Farmer and Monroe last month.

Guests will view movies on a 60-by-32-foot digital screen on a site that will include parking for up to 63 vehicles. There will also be outdoor seating and pedestrian paths.

“I think it’s a terrific opportunity to demonstrate to folks that there is still a lot of fun to be had in out-of-home entertainment,” said Paul Glantz, co-founder and chairman of Emagine Entertainment.

The partnership comes as Bedrock experiences delays with its mixed-use development and the movie theatre industry has had its challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic, grappling with the financial impact of closures and restrictions on concession sales.

Glantz, who has said Emagine Entertainment's revenue was down 90% in 2020, said he believes the drive-in will be profitable.

“I only like to work on things, candidly, that I call win-win and I believe this is representative of a win-win opportunity,” he said. “Arguably it’s win-win-win because bringing films to the historic Monroe district, working with Bedrock, is a wonderful win for us. Serving the city of Detroit is great win for us. And yes it’s economically viable for us as well.”

The drive-in is part of Bedrock's Decked Out Detroit initiative designed to draw visitors downtown. The effort includes covered archways with space heaters, tables and chairs in front of some downtown restaurants.

Guests will view movies on a 60-by-32-foot digital screen on a site that will include parking for up to 63 vehicles. There will also be outdoor seating and pedestrian paths.

The site has sat undeveloped as construction of the Monroe Blocks, a mixed-use project, has been delayed due to market changes, and "uncertainties that have been amplified during the COVID-19 pandemic" have placed the project behind schedule, according to a DDA memo. In 2016, the DDA approved a land sale to Rosko Development Co. LLC, an affiliate of Bedrock Real Estate Services and in 2019, closed on the property under a development agreement.

Officials say the drive-in experience will include interactive lighting and a modular concessions pavilion with traditional movie theater concessions. There will also be public restroom trailers and warming areas.

The site will be staffed by Emagine Entertainment personnel. Guests can also have food delivered to their vehicles by a variety of downtown restaurants.

“The drive-in theater is our way of offering the community a way to get out of the house and safely enjoy a night out for the whole family,” Ivy Greaner, chief operating officer at Bedrock said in a statement.

A pre-screening for local Detroiters will take place Jan. 21 before opening to the public, according to Bedrock. Guests will be required to social distance and follow mask wearing guidelines while are outside of their vehicles. 

Other movies in the lineup include: "Shrek" on Jan. 23 and "Back to the Future" on Jan. 24. 

“These are classic films which we have access to that we think will draw crowds and be attractive to families,” he said. “Fun movies folks will bring the kids to see that maybe the kids haven’t seen on a big screen before.”

Tickets will cost $20 per vehicle and will be available at next week on a date yet to be announced. Tickets can also be purchased in person at the drive-in starting Jan. 22.

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN

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