Entertainment comes in many different forms in the Ann Arbor area, but the most popular among students is the traditional night at the movies. For Ann Arbor residents, there are several options when it comes to seeing a movie on the big screen.
Showcase cinemas, a national chain of megaplexes that rival most shopping malls in size, can be found on Carpenter Road just past Meijer. From central campus the Showcase is about a 15 minute drive depending on traffic.
Upon entering the Showcase, the first thing one notices is the sprawling concession area. Not content serving merely popcorn and candy, Showcase offers a food court where patrons can order anything from pasta to pizza.
With 20 screens, Showcase is Ann Arbor’s largest theater. Each screen features surround sound and stadium seating, but with an $8.50 ticket price (no student discounts), Showcase is also Ann Arbor’s most expensive theater.
Ann Arbor’s smaller multiplex, the Goodrich Quality 16 on Jackson Road is also about a 15 minute drive from campus. As the name implies, the Quality 16 has 16 screens, yet smaller than the daunting screens of Showcase. It is a favorite among students because it offers student discounts as well as late night screenings.
The Michigan Theater, located on Liberty Street across from Borders Books, is Ann Arbor’s oldest and most cherished cinema. Constructed in 1928, the Michigan Theater was the home of several vaudeville performances and silent films accompanied by their famous organ. More than 70 years later, big budget Hollywood films and independent cinema have replaced the silent films, but the organ still remains. The 1700 seat main theater is home to several performances each year, always with a diverse lineup of entertainers from Phillip Glass to Travis. What separates the theater from its rivals is its delicious popcorn, made with real butter and salt. A large bucket of the traditional movie snack costs only $5.
Just a few yards away from the Michigan, the State Theater on the corner of Liberty and State is another campus movie house frequented by students. With only two screens, the State doesn’t offer the selection of Showcase or Quality 16, but often features independent films too small to be found at its bigger competitors. Midnight on Saturday can often be the busiest times for the State Theater, as they show modern classics like “The Big Lebowski” and “Pink Floyd’s The Wall.” The theater is showing its age by its busted and broken seats but the theater is making strides by recently improving their sound system. Of all the theaters in the area, the State Theater has the most courteous employees.
For those who have a hard time spending eight bucks on a movie, the Village Theater on Maple Road offers tickets at the cost of a meager $2. Only problem is the movies at the Village Theater are about six months old, but for those who missed popular films the first time, it’s the ideal venue for repeat viewings.