Programming downsides in Michigan town

posted by Michael Zoldessy on February 8, 2012 at 8:02 am

JACKSON, MI — In a commentary in the Jackson Citizen Patriot, a local woman is frustrated with the lack of options at her local theaters. Both of the town’s theaters feature very similar bookings. While she makes a point, some of the comments point towards it being just the byproduct of good business.

Are theaters in cities like this attempting to broaden their fare and finding poor results or not even trying?

Comments (6)

MPol on February 8, 2012 at 4:13 pm

That’s really strange, indeed! The fact that two local movie theatres in Jackson, MI are showing the same movies almost defies belief. Why not open at least one of the movie theatres, or at least one or two screens of each movie theatre to other, more varied types of films so that people will have more options? That, imho, would be a fairer way to do it.

JohnRice on February 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Not too unusual if the theatres are in different parts of town. If they are very close to each other it would be a bit unusual I guess. I share her frustration…the same 20 or so new flicks seem to be on the screens of about 90 per cent of the multiplexes in the country, up to 100 per cent if you don’t live in a big city. I liked it MUCH better in the good old days when there were first and second run (downtown and neighborhood) theatres, last run grind houses, art houses, etc. Films had “legs” then…they could play the circuit for a couple of years or more and you had lots of movie choices in most medium and large cities.

Oh yeah you had double features back then, along with cartoons, newsreels and shorts instead of a 20 minute pre-show commercial marathon masquerading as entertainment. You also didn’t have to take out a mortgage to go to the concession stand, people didn’t talk or text on their cell phones, the picture was actually in focus and framed correctly and the sound was at the right level…ah those were the days my friend…and I am well aware that we will never see them again!

CSWalczak on February 8, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Well, in this case, not only are the theaters (the Carmike Plaza 8 and the GKC Jackson 10) not in different parts of town, they are just about across the road from each other on North Wisner Street. A look at the listings does show a significant amount of duplication. It is a rather odd situation.

Jackson’s downtown theaters closed as regular movie theaters years ago (the sole survivor, the magnificent Michigan does show family and classic films but is also now a community and live performance venue).

A 1970s era twin out at the Westwood Mall south of town also closed many years ago as well as a couple of area drive-ins.

steelbeard1 on February 9, 2012 at 7:43 am

Correction, CSWalszak. While Carmike owns the Plaza 8, Goodrich Quality Theatres own the Jackson 10. When you typed GKC Jackson 10, that implied GKC Theatres which Carmike absorbed. So the two multiplexes compete with each other. Complain to the film studios and to Goodrich and Carmike. From what I understand, the two multiplexes are too close to each other to be playing the same movies at the same time. They should be competing with each other to get exclusive showing of movies.

CSWalczak on February 9, 2012 at 8:55 am

Thanks for the correction, steelbeard1; it has been awhile since I was in Jackson and I misremembered who owned what.

I suspect this odd situation probably has to do principally with the Jackson market. Jackson really is not all that large a city and probably would not be able to support a Landmark-type operation.

I am a bit surprised that the Plaza still hangs in there. I remember going there when it opened as either as a single screen or a twin, I think back in the early 70s. It was one of the last theaters built and operated by the Butterfield chain back when the shopping area it was adjacent to was called Paka Plaza.

steelbeard1 on February 9, 2012 at 11:08 am

I noticed neither multiplex, which are across Wisner Street from each other, are in the Cinema Treasures database. So I added them.

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