Michigan’s movie theaters are providing film fans with creative offerings on- and offline during the pandemic, and they need your support to keep ’em coming.
MICHIGAN — Michigan’s movie theaters may still be closed as a necessary safety measure, but that’s not stopping ’Ganders from trying to bring a little bit of real movie magic to their home setups. As the folks over at Three Oaks’ Vickers Theater say, in these surreal times, not only do local theaters need support, but we all need the sense of comfort and unity great films can provide.
From livestreams to drive-ins to curbside concession pickups, Michigan’s movie theaters are pulling out all the stops to deliver some cinematic ceremony during the coronavirus.
And their efforts are connecting people with the classics, cartoons, new releases — and each other. Detroit’s Redford Theatre has been streaming material in the public domain on their Facebook page since the beginning of the pandemic. In early May, livestream organizers had a very special request from one young movie fan.
“Oscar, a young man from Livonia who goes to St. Michael’s, has donated part of his birthday money to the Redford,” read a post on the theater’s Facebook page. “He also asked if we can show some cartoons. Of course we said yes! This Saturday, one time only, you can see Popeye, Woody Woodpecker, and the Pink Panther right here on our Facebook page … So grab the kids, a big bowl of cereal, and cuddle up on the couch for a morning of laughs. Thanks to Oscar and his Mom.”
Catch the Redford’s original Saturday Morning Cartoon stream here:
Oscar’s request for cartoons from Redford Theatre resonated with families of movie fans across Michigan and beyond.
“This is why I volunteer at the Redford,” read a May 20 post on the theater’s Facebook page. “Recently, after our Saturday Cartoon Watch party, a viewer named Rhonda sent me a message. She told me that her son is serving in the military and stationed overseas. You can imagine how much his parents miss him and how much he worries about them right now. During the Watch Party he was able to log into Facebook and watch cartoons with his dad. Being able to share this experience was a very special one for everyone.
“I started these Watch Parties because I missed all of you and I imagined that you all missed the theatre and our special community, too. Hopefully, we’ll all get a chance to go again soon, maybe appreciating the experience and each other just a bit more.
Please know that these Watch Parties are not so much about the film, or how many views we get — it’s about making the connection with all of you.”
The May Saturday Morning Cartoon Watch Party was meant to be a one-off, but it was such a hit that Oscar was invited to introduce a second stream in June in front of the Redford’s red velvet curtains.
“I hope that you can donate to the Redford Theatre,” Oscar said after introducing a lineup of Superman, Tom & Jerry, Pink Panther, Bugs Bunny, Popeye, and a Betty Boop special. “I know that I will be donating five dollars so that we can keep on seeing lovely shows and cartoons here.” (You can donate to the Redford Theatre here.)
So if you, like Oscar, are counting the days ‘til you’re back in a theater with a bucket of popcorn on your lap, here are some ways you can get a taste of the movie magic now while supporting your local theaters through the pandemic.
Free Classic Movie Livestreams
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You can check to see if your local theater is popping up any fresh popcorn before getting into a classic movie binge courtesy the Redford, the new John Lewis doc via Cinema Detroit, or one of this week’s new films from the Michigan Theater. Many theaters around the state are offering popcorn, candy, and other concessions (and even some merch) through curbside pickup to satisfy sweet and salty cravings sure to hit during the opening credits.
A couple theater chains around Michigan are still selling concessions too. Here’s where you’re sure to find the good stuff: