Big Sean to open Detroit theater in 2020

The Detroit rapper’s movie theater will open in the city in early 2020, Sean told reporters Wednesday

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

Big Sean is getting into the movie business.

Big Sean looks up to the big screen after talking to students before the showing of "Black Panther."

The Detroit rapper formally announced plans for his Sean Anderson Theatre at a press event at Emagine Royal Oak on Wednesday morning. The 10-12 screen theater, a partnership with Emagine Entertainment, is expected to open in Detroit in 2020.

A location for the theater, which will also house an intimate, “up close and personal” performance venue and aims to host community events, comedy shows and other functions, is not finalized, though the rapper said it will be “in the heart of the city.”

“This is more than a dream come true,” Big Sean, born Sean Anderson, told reporters. “One of the aspirations if you do something creative, like music or any type of business, is to be an owner in something. So this is one of the first things outside of music that I am actually an owner in.”

Talks with Emagine and Emagine owner Paul Glantz to partner on a theater began last fall, Glantz said. “This didn’t happen overnight, but I think it’s been very well considered,” said Glantz, Emagine’s founder and chairman. “We’re naming the theater after him, and rightly so. This gentleman has a big heart, he wants to give back.”

Sean "Big Sean" Anderson announced today that he will partner with Emagine Entertainment to open a theater in downtown Detroit. Big Sean surprised Detroit Public Schools high school students by introducing their free screening of "Black Panther" Wednesday, February 28, 2018, in Royal Oak, Michigan.

Detroit’s movie theater market has been underserved for years, and the Sean Anderson Theatre will become one of only three first-run movie houses in the city limits, along with the 10-screen Bel Air Luxury Cinema on 8 Mile and the two-screen Cinema Detroit. A four-screen theater inside the Renaissance Center closed its doors in 2015.

The lack of theaters in the city “is super crazy to me,” said Sean, who turns 30 next month. “I understand maybe in the past why there hasn’t been, but right now, as a city that is in a complete renaissance and is booming, I think this is the perfect time to bring a theater to the city of Detroit.”

He said the theater is important for kids in the city and compared its opening with Detroit’s sports teams moving downtown. “It’s bigger than me. It’s bigger than Emagine and Big Sean coming together,” said Sean, who grew up going to movies in Southfield. “This is for the whole city.”

In addition to the theater plans, Big Sean surprised young fans by popping into theaters showing the Marvel superhero smash “Black Panther.” Around 900 students from Detroit Public Schools filled 10 theaters, and Sean went from theater to theater, telling the kids about his upcoming plans.

The “Black Panther” screenings were organized by ex-ESPN host Jemele Hill and co-sponsored by the Detroit Lions, Eminem, Ford and the Detroit Free Press. Ex-Detroit Lion Lomas Brown was also on hand, as were Big Sean’s parents, Myra and James Anderson.

The event was one of several local “Black Panther” screenings held for Detroit students, part of a nationwide campaign tied to the superhero movie, which has grossed more than $400 million at the domestic box office since its Feb. 16 release. Detroit rapper Tee Grizzley also sponsored a free screening of the film over the weekend.

Sean earlier foreshadowed his plans to open up a movie theater in Detroit on “No Hearts, No Love,” the closing track of his December album “Double or Nothing.” “I’m about to build a movie theater downtown properly,” he raps, “and I’ll provide the heart of the city, just keep on watching me.”

Big Sean, 29, already made news this week by announcing he would be postponing his upcoming tour to “stay focused in the studio.” The Grammy-nominated artist and Cass Tech graduate scrapped his 31-date spring tour, including a June 2 date at Little Caesars Arena.


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