‘It’s more fun at MJR!’: How the movie theater clap came to be

Patrons added clap to MJR’s pre-screening jingle

MJR Digital Cinema 14 at Partridge Creek in Clinton Township. Photo courtesy of MJR Digital Cinemas. (MJR Digital Cinemas)

“It’s more than just a movie, it’s a big night out!” Clap! Clap! Clap!

I can sing the entire MJR Digital Cinemas jingle from memory, and I know I’m not alone.

As a frequent moviegoer in Metro Detroit (pre-COVID, at least), MJR has always been among my top theater choices. And their catchy theme song that plays just ahead of the previews has seared itself into my mind.

Perhaps my brain has been partially conditioned by the participatory element of the song: those three distinct claps.

If you’ve ever watched a film at an MJR theater, you know what I’m talking about. Twice during the jingle, when the verse transitions to the chorus, there are three beats that patrons clap along to. The experience is unique to MJR and MJR alone.

So, how did the MJR clap come to be?

I’ve heard those three claps at the movies for as long as I can remember. A couple of patrons claim to have started the clap back in 2005, and maybe even earlier.

According to Anthony Taylor, MJR’s marketing director, the song -- written by Steve Curran and co-writers Julie Magsig and Mark Miller -- debuted in 2001, and the clapping started a “couple of years later.”

“This is something that our guests just started responding to all on their own, without any prompting from us,” Taylor said. “We noticed the phenomenon at a few of our east side theaters and then slowly but surely it made its way across the entire circuit.

“I think it speaks to the communal experience of going to the movies. There’s always that excitement before the lights go down, and the MJR jingle capitalizes on that with its infectious hooks and definitive three beats.”

Several theories have circulated the web over the years, with a number of patrons claiming they started the clap, or that they know who did. After chatting with officials, though, it seems the mystery of the exact origin of the MJR clap will never really be solved.

But that doesn’t make it any less fun.

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About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.