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Local theater closing

Bad news for residents of  Bloomfield Hills and Bloomfield Township as the Main in Royal Oak and now the Maple Theater closes.

These were de facto community centers for mostly seniors in our aging neighborhood, but no less in other parts of the country. It is important for Bloomfield Hills and Bloomfield Township to help resurrect these institutions which already support senior centers.

These are expensive and inefficient – inefficient because you have to create “chronic” reservations and cannot go “when you feel like it.”.Yes, it is relatively expensive for the cities  and residents. Movie theaters in particular were vulnerable since the Covid pandemic when on-line and Internet streaming seem to obviate the traditional movie theaters. Owners fought back creating better audio, better screens, better images, better seats and recently with 4D which synchronizes the seat and beyond with screen images. I saw the movie “Argylle” and the seat was moving, wind blowing and drops of rain falling. You cannot have that at home, but do you really want it? I almost fell from the chair once.

The movie industry may not understand a basic reason for people who want to see movies. For them it is a social event, getting out from their home cocoon and see people, converse with friends. As a cardiologist I believe that socializing reduces dementia, improves mental and physical well being and, by inference, increases longevity. These were proved many times over.

Going to a movie must be a social event which ends up in seeing the movie, socializing before and after the movie, creating clubs where folks can drop in for a beer before going to movies or perhaps staying after. Movie theaters are “for profit” but they can be supported by municipalities as institution which upgrade the communities as much as museums and other institutions do. Seniors may prefer viable communities which include a movie theater and other entertaining endeavors. Theater owners on the other hand have to adjust to new realities, especially after Covid lock downs, distancing and face masks, which we know by now were of doubtful need.

Isaac Barr, MD

Bloomfield Hills


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