Birmingham 8 Powered by Emagine
211 S. Old Woodward Avenue,
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Emagine Entertainment (Official)
Operated by: Emagine Entertainment
Firms: Rapp & Rapp
Functions: Movies (First Run)
Styles: French Renaissance
Previous Names: Birmingham Theatre, Birmingham 8
Designed by the famed architectural firm of Rapp & Rapp, the Birmingham Theatre opened in late-1926.
It was built for the Kunsky circuit, who opened two other nearby theatres that same year, the Redford Theatre and the Royal Oak Theatre. The theatre’s construction was delayed over a year because of the widening of Woodward Avenue.
Like most of the Rapp & Rapp theatres, it was designed originally in the style of the French Renaissance, and sat over 1,250 in its auditorium.
It once contained a Barton organ and featured vaudeville in addition to movies.
By the 1960’s, it was showing second-run fare, and when it was purchased by the United Detroit Theatres chain later in that decade, it was given a drastic modernization inside, ridding it of all traces of the original décor, though its façade remained intact.
In the 1970’s, it was acquired by the Plitt chain.
Later in the 1970’s, the Birmingham Development Company took over operation of the theatre, and remodeled it at a cost of $750,000 adding new seats, curtains, lighting and sound equipment to feature live stage shows in addition to continuing to screen movies.
In 1979, the Birmingham Theatre was leased to the Nederlander Theatrical Corporation and Broadway productions were staged there for several years.
In the late-1980’s, the Birmingham was carved up into eight small screens and returned to showing first-run features. It was taken over by Emagine Entertainment on February 22, 2021.
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