Southfield City 12
23275 Greenfield Road,
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The Americana Theatre opened June 18, 1967, for Nicholas George, designed by Samson Associates, and seating around 1,750 in its ultra-modern auditorium. Its vast screen, 30' by 60' was one of the largest ever seen in Michigan before the era of Imax theaters. The Americana Theatre’s opening-night film was Otto Preminger’s “Hurry Sundown”.
The Americana Theatre quickly became known as a roadshow house, with 70mm projection equipment, along with the nearby Northland Theatre, though the Northland Theatre originally ended up screening superior films than the Americana Theatre in those first few years. Early roadshows included “Finian’s Rainbow” (1968), “Song of Norway” (1970) and “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” (1970).
Two additional smaller auditoriums were added on in 1972, both seating 750, and designed by noted theater architect Louis Wiltse. Later the same year, a fourth, similarly-sized auditorium was added by Wiltse, and the theatre became known as the Americana I, II, III, IV.
During the mid-1970-s to early-1980-s, the Americana I, II, III & IV was best known for its highly successful runs of blockbuster films like the original “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” trilogies, especially in its large main auditorium, which became one of the only ones in the area after the Northland Theatre was twinned in the mid-1970’s.
In 1986, Nicholas George sold the Americana to AMC Theatres, just months after three more screens were added. Within a couple years of AMC taking over the Americana, the number of screens had been increased to eight, but the original large auditorium had not been divided — yet.
When crime began to rise during the late-1980’s at the theatre, including a set of shootings, the chain took the unusual step of adding metal detectors.
AMC spent $2.5 million remodeling the Americana in 1990, which finally included the gutting of the original auditorium, and loss of its huge screen, carving the space into five more smallish screens. The theatre also lost its original name as well, becoming the AMC Southfield City 12 on August 3, 1990.
In 2001, AMC closed the aging multiplex down, unable to compete with the nearby even larger, flashier and cutting-edge Star Theatres Southfield 20. The former Americana was demolished not long after it was closed to make way for new devolopment.
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