Home All Op Ed: Can Traverse City Support an IMAX Movie Theater?

Op Ed: Can Traverse City Support an IMAX Movie Theater?

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July 16, 2015: New IMAX Theater at Horizon Outlet on M-37 | Jane Boursaw Photo, 2015
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As someone who writes about movies every day at Reel Life With Jane, I’ve been watching with interest the construction of a brand new movie theater at the Horizon Outlet past Meijer’s on M-37. Though I guess you can’t really call it the Horizon Outlet anymore, because the only thing that’s there is the movie theater and Outback Steakhouse.

At any rate, when I go to the movies every week (it’s my job, after all), there’s usually only a handful of other moviegoers, even on what I would consider “big” openings like the Marvel movies. Most of the time, it’s me and a half-dozen other people in the theater. Sometimes I’m the only one there.

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And look, movies are expensive (especially if you load up on pricey concessions), and there are so many ways to see new or nearly new movies via streaming or On Demand. These days, the trend is to release movies On Demand the same day as the theatrical release. If you don’t really like going to the movies to begin with, you’d probably go for the On Demand option.

That’s why I’ve really been scratching my head over the construction of the gigantic new theater there. Maybe more people will go to the movies if there’s a shiny new theater (even if it does look like the wall in “The Maze Runner”). I guess we’ll find out.

June 6, 2015: New IMAX Theater at Horizon Outlet on M-37 | Jane Boursaw Photo, 2015
June 6, 2015: New IMAX Theater at Horizon Outlet on M-37 | Jane Boursaw Photo, 2015

According to The Ticker, the new theater will be a 14-screen multiplex, replacing the existing 10-screen Carmike Cinemas on the sound end of the outlet mall.

The theater was slated to have a “BigD” screen, Carmike’s version of IMAX, but it was confirmed last winter that Carmike was able to secure the IMAX license for the location. So yeah, we’re getting an IMAX theater (Jane squeals in delight). According to The Ticker, it’ll be the first IMAX screen north of Grand Rapids. (Though for some reason, I thought there was one up around Mackinac – someone help me out on that – if you know anything, tell us in the comments below.)

July 16, 2015: New IMAX Theater at Horizon Outlet on M-37 | Jane Boursaw Photo, 2015
July 16, 2015: New IMAX Theater at Horizon Outlet on M-37 | Jane Boursaw Photo, 2015

I’ve been watching the theater construction week after week, and it’s moving along, but will likely open sometime in the first quarter of 2016. So if, like me, you got all excited when you saw a “Grand Auditorium” listing in last week’s Fandango listings, it must have been a fluke. Because that place is nowhere near ready to open.

What are your thoughts? Think Traverse City can support an IMAX theater? Will you go to the movies more often now? Sound off in the comments below.

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper. Because the Gazette is mainly reader-supported, I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks my way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I’m just wondering, how many movies are there out there at one time and how many different screens are there to play them on. I mean how many different screens are we going to have :Straight Outta Compton” on? I guess what I’m saying is do we really NEED this or do we need a blonde in a red sports car more. Maybe we just need more freedom. Is there there such a thing as too much freedom? Is it like having “extra” money. Who knows. We are going to get another theater and we are going to have to deal with it!

  2. Yep, we’re getting a bigger theater, like it or not! And who knows, maybe people will come out for the IMAX experience and new theater smell (you know, like that new car smell). It’s always more fun if I see movies with a bunch of other people in the theater, so we’ll see what happens. I just hope they don’t raise ticket and concessions prices. That hadn’t even occurred to me until right this second.

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