In my travels, I try to find as many unique and/or updated movie houses as possible. Over the past couple months I've found myself in crusty, vinyl seated cinemas of old in areas like Jackson, Mi. and I've also visited some primo locations like the local Dolby Cinema (my home base) in Clinton Township, Mi.. It's my goal to visit as many Michigan theaters as possible over the course of 2017 and will continue to log the locations here. This is a separate series from our Destination Film chronicle that covers movie houses from all around the world. This is strictly for Michigan based theaters.
The Encore Big Picture Experience in Monroe is basically a rebuild of an older cinema room that's been maximized with excellent ambient red lighting, fully reclining electric leather chairs, and great sound. It's a comfortable theatrical experience that feels like it's trying to capture the luster of the Dolby Cinema without spending too much on their massive remodel. Totally removing the food court from the mall allowed for a much bigger and better theater in the local area. This massive venue is definitely worth the price of the ticket and still looks brand new inside. The upkeep and care that's given to the Encore is top tier.
Their new projection system is a true 4K digital system that's super crisp and highly detailed. Colors are vibrant and blacks look deep and pristine. Their audio system is powered by a Klipsch engineered product, Trinnov Audio Ovation. While seeing Get Out and Split both in this same theater, the clarity and separation was nearly perfect, revealing a great mix for both movies. Yet, the most impressive detail about the Encore is their new screen. During the revamp, they actually had to remove the roof from the building in order to fit the behemoth into the theater. This projection screen is 65 feet long and is a cool sight to see. No, it's not IMAX but it's certainly an upgrade for a smaller cinema like the Phoenix at the Mall of Monroe.
What's mostly off putting about this room is that there is no real tiered seating. This new 'premium' theater lacks the stadium feel that seems to be the most accepted form of redesign for modernized cinematic experiences. Yes, they did actually raise the floor in this auditorium by four feet to maximize the line of vision for their audience members. But it's still not what most newer places are going for. Each seat does feature nearly six feet of leg room that provides plenty of access up and down the aisles.The Encore has over 200 seats which is actually a greater quantity of available seating than most newer premium viewing theaters are accustomed to.
The red and black tones of the theater definitely create a pleasant vibe and the cleanliness is an extra added touch. The staff does a fine job keeping the rows clear of debris and stale popcorn. Also, the staff is extremely courteous when buying tickets and concessions. They're talkative and polite which is always nice when venturing into a place away from home. As a bonus, their ticket prices are way lower than their competition. All matinees are 5 dollars and later shows are only $8.75. For less than 20 bucks, you can purchase a ticket and fill your gut with as much popcorn and soda as you can handle.
If you live in the area, I'd say check this place out. It's not going to blow your mind but it's comfy enough for the ticket price and it shows all first run films. Perhaps the coolest thing about the Phoenix's Encore Big Picture Experience is that they have late shows that start around 11pm. This isn't common anymore and is a definite added amenity that will keep people coming back.
(all provided images are own and are not promotional images)