Ann Arbor I & II

210 S. 5th Avenue,
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

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Ann Arbor I & II

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The Vth Forum, or Fifth Forum, opened as an art and foreign film house in 1966, by Roger and Kenneth Robinson, who also owned the Ypsi-Ann and Scio Drive-Ins. Its architect was Lester Fader. Though its decor was typical late-1960’s style, the theater offered a pair of comfortable lounges and sold coffee in its lobby decades before the current trend in today’s megaplexes became popular. The theater, which originally sat around 560, opened with Jean Luc Godard’s “The Married Woman”.

In early-1979, the Vth was sold to Goodrich Theatres and was renamed the Ann Arbor Theatre a few months later. A year later, Goodrich twinned the Ann Arbor, renamed the Ann Arbor I & II, with one auditorium seating 155, and the other seating 325.

In the late-1980’s, there were plans to raze the theater, and erect a 15 story condominium on the site, but this never came to fruition.

The Ann Arbor continued to operate as a venue for first-run commercial, art and foreign features for many years, but today is closed.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Wystan
Wystan on March 10, 2005 at 6:18 am

The Vth Forum, later called the Fifth Forum, got its name from its location on Ann Arbor’s Fifth Avenue (between Liberty and Washington streets), where it replaced an earlier building that housed Schroen’s Swiss Cleaners, a drycleaning outfit. The theater’s architect, Lester Fader, was a professor of architecture at the University of Michigan. The two theaters that resulted from the longitudinal split of the original auditorium were called the Ann Arbor I and II, not Ann Arbor 2. In the late 1990s, after the building has stood vacant awhile, the theater’s sloping floor was leveled and the structure was given a jazzy stainless steel (or is it aluminum?) jacket as part of its conversion to an office building for WebElite, a local internet web design company. When that company failed in the dotcom nosedive, its young entrepreneur owner Jacques Habra, who still owned the building, converted it to a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern-themed tobacco smoker’s paradise, with
narghiles (water pipes) as an exotic lure.

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on November 7, 2008 at 6:41 pm

I saw Blue Velvet here. Not an exceptional cinema, but it certainly contributed to the burgeoning cinema culture of Ann Arbor in the late 1980s. At that time, there was a number of groups hosting screenings on campus; so many that one generally had the choice of several films on every night. Sadly, shortly after I graduated the school decided to raise the auditorium use fees and wiped out the cinema groups.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 8, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Love to have that “Twilight Zone-the Movie” one sheet.

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