Final Day: Studio 28 to close after 43 years

November 23rd, 2008 at 1:20 am by under Entertainment
Last roll of the credits, goodbye to Studio 28
Sunday marks Studio 28′s last day after 43 years.   

There will be a special open house event to mark Studio 28′s last day of business from 5pm-7pm.   

The last movie at the original theater (theater #1) will be Madagascar 2, and it will be showing at 7pm.

There will also be concession deals for $1.00 and a chance to check out some stand alone theater seats from theater #2 up for bidding.

They are still thinking about an eventual auction of items – that might be sometime in January – because once Studio 28 closes it will take awhile to come in and catalog everything.   Some of the seats will not be able to be sold in the auction as stand alone seats because they are the stadium seats on risers.

(for more, see my original post below)
Originally posted 11/14/08:
John Loeks announces closing of Studio 28

John Loeks announces closing of Studio 28

Studio 28 set to close, last movie will be Sunday, November 23rd

Its a sad day for John Loeks, owner and president of Celebration! Cinema and Studio 28, telling the people of Grand Rapids that the theater his dad built and made history with as the first mega-plex in the country, will be closing in ten days.

John started the press conference by lightening the  mood, telling us he wasn’t there to talk about the new James Bond movie.

The decision comes after John and other Celebraion! Cinema company officials looked at declining attendance patterns at Studio 28 and the cost of new roofs on a facility that was built in different pieces over the years.

At one point, Studio 28 was averaging 1.7 million people a year in the 1990′s, now that figure is around 75% less.


While the economy is a factor, the declining attendance at Studio 28, especially for matinees led to today’s decision.  The attendance is down, they say, mostly because of the theaters on the outer edges of town that have shrunk Studio 28′s radius of potential customers.

Loeks says the schedule of movies coming out really wasn’t the factor in when they would close, he said they didn’t want to just close immediately, because they wanted to keep their employees in mind.  Those 55 employees have been offered jobs at other Celebration! Cinema theater locations – an offer that most are taking, according to one employee who tells me that 30 of the 55 will be moving to Celebration! RiverTown, about a dozen others will be going to either Celebration! South or Celebration! North.

Back to the release schedule  – Loeks also told me that if they were looking at the upcoming movie schedule, they would have liked to stay open through the holidays.

"Boeing Boeing" (1965) starring Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis

"Boeing Boeing" starring Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis was the first movie to play at Studio 28, December 25, 1965

"Madagascar 2" poster courtesy Dreamworks

"Madagascar 2" will be the last movie at Studio 28 on November 23rd at 7:00pm


Boeing Boeing with Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis was the first movie that played when Studio 28 opened a one-theater screen with 1,000 seats on December 25, 1965.

Studio 28 expanded to 12 screens and later became the first-ever mega-plex theatre in May of 1988 by adding eight screens for a total of 20 screens.

The family-friendly hit Madagascar 2 will be the last movie at Studio 28, November 23rd at 7:00pm… ending where it all began in theater #1.

There will be a festive atmosphere on the last day:  Studio 28 will be open all day, with an open house from 5:00-7:00pm with special deals on concessions and treats.

There will also be special benefits and showings over the next 10 days at Studio 28.

For those who are big fans of Studio 28, there will eventually be an auction, perhaps a month after closing, of memorabilia and items at the theater.

The future of the property is uncertain, while the company has had conversations with the city, there hasn’t been any formal interest in the 12-acre property.


Between now and the last day on November 23rd, Celebration! Cinema wants to help transition Studio 28 customers to other theaters by giving out coupons for free pop and popcorn at other theaters.

The popular “air popped” popcorn at Studio 28 will be moving to Celebration! Cinema South.

And all showtimes before 1:00pm will be $5.00 at all the Celebration! Cinemas.

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7 Responses to “Final Day: Studio 28 to close after 43 years”

  1. Larry from Hastings/Barry Co. says:

    Times are changing. Look what happen to the drive-in movie places. It can cost a family alot of money to go to the movies. Look at the cost of drinks, candy and other snacks. I am 49 years old, and I have seen alot of changes in my life time. Yes it’s sad to see Studio 28 closing.

  2. Bill says:

    Cinemark opening a brand new theatre in a brand new mall several years ago didn’t help either.

    It’s a classic theatre, an icon, the first 20 screen megaplex, the first theatre in Michigan to install MoPix technology with Closed Captions and Descriptive Audio for access to movies for the blind, deaf, hard of hearing. I loved the wide halls, and the excellent employees.

    Lots of history there. It’s legacy and spirit lives on in Celebration! North.
    And by spirit, I don’t mean the ghost (

    Serba treats it well

  3. Eric (Now SE Mason County Was Ionia) says:

    I spent alot of saturdays during my younger years. Parents divorced and dad would get us every other weekend. Most saturdays we would go there. Wish I could remember all the movies I have seen there. Always enjoyed playing some arcade games. There was also the Virtual Reality game they had. First Showcase and now Studio 28. Wonder what cookie cutter store will replace this piece of theater history.

  4. Bill says:

    Don’t forget the Quad, the Movies at Woodland, the Movies at Eastbrook(whatever the Orbit Room used to be called), the Northtown, the movies at NorthKent…

  5. The first time I saw a theatre movie in my life was @ Studio 28.

    ” A Boy Named Charlie Brown ”

    Income was lean as I remember (yeah I was 3 or 4) but Mom made it happen!
    I do remember seeing it, and the popcorn, and Chugga-boom, our 63 Pontiac…

    Incidentally, the last film I saw before moving up here was “The Doors”, in
    ’91, at Studio 28.

    I remember my friends Bill & his Dad scoring vintage Dynaco audio equipment
    and the like almost weekly, mid-to-late 70′s at the flea markets. (please be
    reading this, one of you two, I’m encountering hurdles finding you & Walt
    and Kelly !)

    To Bill above: It was once “The Eastbrook Twin”, then Club Eastbrook, home
    to more great concerts w/ memories…

    I’m sure the record size is nice once, but it always wears off; I thought it
    was too big in the 80′s…but I have bragged about 28 once or twice.

    Oh, I live in Fairbanks, when I post here it indicates Anchorage (Blecchh )

    And I’m really returning this coming BreakUp (how You say Spring)

    Did You get my snow, yet?

  6. Snow has come and gone. For now. Beautiful football fall now.

    Laff, your twitter profile link to your blog needs an update for the new site.

  7. [...] closing for business November 24th, Studio 28 has now hired Miedema Auctioneering ( to sell all assets including sound [...]

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