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Movie Theater Coming to Downtown Detroit

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Coming soon: Downtown movies

RenCen theater will offer meals

December 18, 2003



Coming soon, to a Renaissance Center near you:

A movie theater that allows patrons to watch a film and eat dinner -- at the same time.

Starting in the spring, the Renaissance Center's four-screen Cinema Grill will serve first-run films while allowing moviegoers to sip a microbrewery beer, munch on pizza and pig out on a hot fudge sundae for dessert.

"This really will also be a lure to get more people down to the Renaissance Center," said Jim Burke, a spokesman for General Motors Corp., which owns the RenCen.

The theater is the latest bit of good news for downtown Detroit, which has seen a number of new buildings, stores and housing open in 2003. Downtown has been without first-run movies since February 2001, when the Renaissance Center 4 closed.

Owned by Atlanta-based Restaurant Entertainment Group, the Cinema Grill will be available to the general public and for corporate meetings and special events.

Admission will be $3.75 before 6 p.m. and $6.50 after 6 p.m., slightly cheaper than the going rate in metro Detroit.

Patrons will be served at tables while they watch the film from swivel chairs. The menu will include more than 20 appetizers, a variety of fresh salads and entrees including fresh-dough pizzas, burgers and grilled chicken. Also available will be microbrewery beers, cocktails and wines.

Popular selections at Cinema Grills in other cities are buffalo wings, daiquiris and margaritas.

Burke said as the plans for revitalizing the Detroit waterfront evolve, having a movie theater downtown will only add to the quality of downtown life.

It will also add another high-quality property to the growing Riverfront Shops, which is a collection of stores, restaurants and services in the RenCen, Millender Center and River East Center. The Cinema Grill will be located on the second level of Tower 200.

James Duffy and brother John Duffy launched the Cinema Grill concept in 1979 in Orlando, Fla. Their company and franchisees run 26 conventional theaters plus 32 with cafes or restaurants in 32 cities in 18 states, including Atlanta; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas, and Washington, D.C.

The Duffys built their theaters with the belief that movies should offer much more than popcorn.

"By offering a restaurant as an integral part of a night out at the movies, we create a value-added entertainment feature for our audiences," James Duffy said.

Contact ERIK LORDS at 313-222-6678 or [email protected]

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