MJR is bringing IMAX theater with recliners to Southgate, only one in Metro Detroit

Updated theater ‘coming this fall’

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

SOUTHGATE, Mich. – If there’s one thing missing from an IMAX movie experience, it’s a reclining chair that allows you to really soak it all in -- and MJR Theatres is constructing just that in Metro Detroit.

The Michigan movie theater chain is preparing to build the region’s only IMAX auditorium with “premium reclining chairs,” officials announced Tuesday. The upgraded theater, which the company says will also feature an advanced laser projection system, is being constructed at MJR’s Southgate Cinema located on Trenton Road.

Officials said construction on the new MJR IMAX theater concept started this week. The auditorium is expected to open to customers this fall, with a launch scheduled for Nov. 10.

More MJR locations are also expected to welcome the new theater style in the near future, though specifics were not provided Tuesday.

There are already a handful of IMAX theaters in the Southeast Michigan area, notably at AMC Theatres locations, though MJR claims to be building the first with reclining seats in the area. The theater at The Henry Ford, which has long claimed to have the largest movie screen in Michigan, changed formats a few years ago and is no longer considered an IMAX theater.

As more people return to movie theaters after pandemic-related closures, some companies have been working to elevate the experience. MJR has been among them, launching a private “VIP” seating concept last year, and a new “Laser Ultra” experience this summer.

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