WYOMING, Mich. (WZZM) - The virtual curtain goes down on Studio 28 on November 23rd.
Studio 28, the nations first "mega-plex" confirmed this morning that the movie theaters on 28th Street in Wyoming will be shutting down. Most of the employees are being offered positions at other movie theaters around town.
This morning, John Loeks, owner and president of Celebration! Cinema and Studio 28 said, "This announcement of closing Studio 28 comes with great sadness but also with a spirit of thankfulness. We're thankful that we can offer jobs at our other theatres to most of the employees here. We're thankful that movie-going in Grand Rapids is as popular as ever and there still remains many movie-going options for our customers."
Celebration Cinema, the company that owns Studio 28 and other theaters around West Michigan broke the news to employees Thursday night.
In late October, Celebration Cinema eliminated matinees at Studio 28, saying 90% of the theater's business was generated from the evening shows.
At its peak, Studio 28 served 1.7 million movie-goers annually, according to Celebration Cinemas. Today it serves roughly 25% of that.
"We are committed, as is the City of Wyoming, to working aggressively to redevelop this property," Loeks added in a press statement. "We hope the community will join us over the next week in saying goodbye to an old friend that has served it well and gone beyond expectations at every level."
Loeks' son J.D., the company's Chief Operating Officer, said "Weve talked to many big boxes, Meijer is one of them, we don't have a deal with Meijer at this point but we'd like to continue conversations with them."
Meijer spokesman Frank J. Guglielmi said "While we constantly look at property in the five states where we have stores, we currently have no plans to purchase the Studio 28 property."
Grand Rapids planners recently rejected Meijer's plan to build a new store a few miles east on 28th Street.
Studio 28 opened as a drive-in theater in 1948. A single indoor screen was added in 1965 and it became a 12-screen multi-plex in 1983. In 1988, it expanded to 20 screens making it the largest movie theater in the world at the time.