Ready Theatre

420 E. Main Street,
Niles, MI 49120

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Ready Theatre Auditorium  July 1980

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened in 1927, the Ready Theatre is listed in the Film Daily Yearbook, 1941 edition, with a seating capacity of 1,000.

In the 1950 edition of F.D.Y. the seating capacity is given as 1,144.

In the 1940’s it was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary W.S. Butterfield Theatres Inc and Butterfield Michigan Theatres Co.

In recent years it had been split into four screens and was last operated by Moore Theatres who closed it in February 2005.

In 2009, the dividing walls erected for the four screen theatre have been removed and the building is being renovated to reopen as a live theatre venue, with some move theatre use.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

t1poznan on December 6, 2005 at 8:13 am

The theater was built in 1927 by Mr. Ready and Butterfield theaters, with the original seating capacity around 1500. The opening night was October 20th 1927, with the newest paramount movie “Swim Girl Swim” staring Bebe Daniels. With the admission prices of $0.50 for an adult and $0.25 for a child under 12. The theater continued to have its doors open until January of 1981, when Butterfield theaters decided that it was no longer making any profits. The building stayed vacant for a couple years and was purchased by Carol Moore in December or 1983, and re-opened its doors again march 2, 1983. When it opened in 1983 Mrs. Moore had it renovated to be a three screened theater, it was then renovated again in the late 80’s-early 90’s into a 4 screen theater.

The theater was originally designed by Myrle Smith (from South Bend, IN) and W.P. Whitney (from Chicago, IL). Those big, beautiful shinny entrance door were made of nickel-silver and bronze and were installed by Kawneer Co.

museslave on March 23, 2009 at 6:43 am

The Ready Theater is now undergoing renovation/restoration. All the dividing walls which made it a four room movie theater have been removed, and the art deco detail is being repainted. The owner (still Carol Moore) intends to re-open it as a multiple use theater, featuring live performances when possible, and showing movies on a retractable 40 foot screen when no live acts are scheduled. The theater itself is largely being restored, but the lobby is being expanded into the back of the original seating area. Four-hundred fifty seats have been purchaced for the ground floor, and the owner intends to put a greater number in the balcony, bringing the total seating to close to one thousand seats. New marble bathrooms are planned, as well as a cafe. The theater has a 27' x 6' orchestra pit, which will seat about 18 musicians.

ERD on March 23, 2009 at 10:12 am

I am so glad to know that Carl Moore is restoring this theatre. I wish him much success.

Jeff M.
Jeff M. on November 22, 2011 at 10:29 pm

My folks have lived in Niles, MI since 1968. In July of 1980, during one of my visits, I got permission to take pictures of the auditorium, one of which has been posted here. The Barton organ was purchased and removed by the late Father Jim Miller who installed it in his home. He may have made a recording on it but I’m not sure. I certainly hope they can restore it to its original glory. Those brass entry doors would look great polished.

Jeff M.
Jeff M. on September 4, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Good News! I arrived in Niles this past Thursday and when I drove past the Ready I noticed that work was being done. Today I was allowed into the theatre and shown the auditorium which is almost completely restored. The walls and ceiling have been painted and leafed. Seats have not yet been installed and the lobby is presently in the process of being returned to it original splendor. The owners have scheduled a grand reopening for sometime in October. I am not quite sure what venues are being planned for the theatre but it will wonderful to have the Ready Theatre back in operation.

tirzarideout on August 26, 2013 at 11:19 am

I was a young movie goer at this theater before it closed. I always looked wistfully at the boarded up windows, hoping that someone would restore it to its (imagined) former glory. I’m glad they’re finally doing it. It would be great if they could redo the old marquee on the outside of theater. It would be a great facelift to historic downtown Niles.

jstanley on October 8, 2014 at 8:27 am

Hey, everyone. My group and I are doing an oral history on Ready Theatre and we are going to interview someone who has memories of the Ready Theatre. If anyone is interested or would like to help out email me at ! Thank you!

GratefulDeadhead on March 12, 2015 at 3:23 pm

I found some footage of the theater in the “home movies” section of The theater appears at 3:48 –

The Movie on the marquee is “Let Freedom Ring”, released in 1939.

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