Aiming to “create a distinctive community-oriented cinema
experience different from the typical megaplex,” Madstone
Theater, located in Briarwood Mall, surprised employees and
theatergoers alike when it closed unexpectedly on Tuesday.

“Even their employees did not receive any indication from
their corporate office (of the closing),” said Ida Hendrix,
general manager at Briarwood Mall.

Hendrix said she was also surprised and disappointed to hear of
the closing.

Erin Owens, manager of marketing and publicity for the theaters
told the Detroit Free Press that the decision to close the Ann
Arbor branch was because the theater was not meeting
expectations.

The nationwide cinema opened a branch in Ann Arbor in September
2002. Theatergoers could enjoy select blockbuster films as well as
independent and foreign films.

Setting itself apart from the popcorn and soda sold at most
cinemas, Madstone offered gourmet food and drink, a lounge and a
concierge.

LSA senior Imogene Nilles said she was surprised at the closing
of Madstone because of its closer location.

“We don’t have many easily accessible theaters here,
especially not ones that play mainstream blockbuster-type
films.

For me, the Madstone Theater provided a chance to see some
without having to find a way to get over to the ones near
Ypsi(lanti),” she said.   For others, transportation and
cost issues prevented them from attending the theater often.

“At college, (theaters) are hard to get to,” said
Engineering student Brian Ignaut, who has been to the theater
once.

The Madstone experience offers annual membership packages
ranging from $25 for a single student to $60 for an adult
couple.

Privileges include reduced rate tickets, invitations to private
screenings and other special events, dining reservations, advance
ticket sales and film information.

Partners in Ann Arbor included Damon’s, Auntie
Anne’s, Aloha Grill and the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum.

Madstone Theaters was founded in 1999 and opened 10 theaters
nationwide. Other locations include Denver, Albuquerque, Baltimore,
Salt Lake City, San Deigo, and Tampa.

Madstone also closed two theaters in Atlanta and one in Arizona
last week, in addition to the one in Briarwood Mall.

Madstone’s general manager and other employees could not
be reached for comment and the theater’s Ann Arbor branch
website is no longer accessible.

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