233 S. State Street,
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State Theatre (Official)
Previously operated by: Butterfield Theaters, Paramount Pictures Inc.
Architects: Charles Howard Crane, Louis Wiltse
Functions: Movies (Independent)
Styles: Streamline Moderne
News About This Theater
- Jun 20, 2014 — Michigan Theater to buy State Theatre
- Jun 18, 2010 — "Jaws"... Happy 35th!
- May 14, 2010 — Please Post Today, May 14 --- "Jaws," Happy 35th
- Mar 16, 2009 — The State Theatre in Ann Arbor needs a booth technician right away!
Opened on March 18, 1942 with Dorothy Lamour in “The Fleet’s In”. The 1,773-seat State Theatre was operated by Butterfield Michigan Theaters Co. a subsidiary of Paramount Pictures Inc. In 1977 Butterfield divided the theatre into four screens. In 1987 it was sold to a new owner who converted the main floor into retail use and the former balcony was mothballed. In 1992 the balcony was reopened as a twin screen theatre. The State Theatre has had a tough time staying open over the years. It seems to have finally found its groove as a twinned art house theatre for the college community of Ann Arbor.
In 2016 it was closed for renovations and reopened in December 2017 as a four screen theatre.
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Recent comments (view all 17 comments)
i have a beautiful oil painting of the state theater painted by milt kemnitz
on the theater marquee is the film “please don’t eat the daisies”
When I arrived in Ann Arbor in 1985, this theater was showing porn at night (I can’t remember what they were showing during the day). By the time I left, they had dropped the porn and were just showing regular movies. Even so, I never saw a movie there. Between the Michigan and the film groups holding screenings on campus, there was no shortage of movies to choose from. I do remember seeing the poster for Manhunter (1986) on display and being interested in that, but I didn’t see it until much later on VHS. What a shame!
Here is a 1987 photo:
Here is a 1977 photo:
Here is a 1983 photo:
I worked at the State during the split into four theaters, and did get some pictures of it before the work began. I will have to see if I still have those around…if I can find them I’ll post them here. I remember it was a TERRIBLE job, the same philosophy that had hacked up the Michigan in the 1950s…the art deco red glass exterior was smashed off and replaced with ugly green bathroom tile. There were two half-circle couches in the upstairs lobby that were still in decent shape, but they were pulled out and replaced with generic patio furniture. And a really nice art deco mural running along the ceiling edge was painted black. sigh.
There is hope for this art deco delight. First is that it has a great staff looking after it and second is that much of the original interior is still somewhat intact and salvageable. Take a peak at these photos from June 2010: 1, 2, 3, 4
1966 photo added of Iggy Pop & Dan Erlewine near the State Theatre. Photo credit Flickr: Guitar-Tech.
Details and fade of then & now below. Copy & paste to view.
Theater will soon close for renovations & restoration of art deco architectural details, and will reopen as a quad cinema.
The State Theatre opened on March 18, 1942.