State Theatre

233 S. State Street,
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

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State Theatre (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Paramount Pictures Inc., W.S. Butterfield Theaters Inc.

Architects: Charles Howard Crane, Louis Wiltse

Functions: Movies (Independent)

Styles: Streamline Moderne

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News About This Theater

State Theatre

Opened on March 18, 1942 with Dorothy Lamour in “The Fleet’s In”. The 1,773-seat State Theatre was operated by Butterfield Michigan Theaters Co. a subsidiary of Paramount Pictures Inc. In 1977 Butterfield divided the theatre into four screens. In 1987 it was sold to a new owner who converted the main floor into retail use and the former balcony was mothballed. In 1992 the balcony was reopened as a twin screen theatre. The State Theatre has had a tough time staying open over the years. It seems to have finally found its groove as a twinned art house theatre for the college community of Ann Arbor.

In 2016 it was closed for renovations and reopened in December 2017 as a four screen theatre.

Contributed by Cinema Treasures

Recent comments (view all 17 comments)

burns2000 on November 27, 2007 at 8:46 am

i have a beautiful oil painting of the state theater painted by milt kemnitz
on the theater marquee is the film “please don’t eat the daisies”

DonSolosan on November 7, 2008 at 8:54 pm

When I arrived in Ann Arbor in 1985, this theater was showing porn at night (I can’t remember what they were showing during the day). By the time I left, they had dropped the porn and were just showing regular movies. Even so, I never saw a movie there. Between the Michigan and the film groups holding screenings on campus, there was no shortage of movies to choose from. I do remember seeing the poster for Manhunter (1986) on display and being interested in that, but I didn’t see it until much later on VHS. What a shame!

jumbobrain on August 10, 2009 at 11:34 am

I worked at the State during the split into four theaters, and did get some pictures of it before the work began. I will have to see if I still have those around…if I can find them I’ll post them here. I remember it was a TERRIBLE job, the same philosophy that had hacked up the Michigan in the 1950s…the art deco red glass exterior was smashed off and replaced with ugly green bathroom tile. There were two half-circle couches in the upstairs lobby that were still in decent shape, but they were pulled out and replaced with generic patio furniture. And a really nice art deco mural running along the ceiling edge was painted black. sigh.

JackCoursey on June 6, 2010 at 8:40 pm

There is hope for this art deco delight. First is that it has a great staff looking after it and second is that much of the original interior is still somewhat intact and salvageable. Take a peak at these photos from June 2010: 1, 2, 3, 4

DavidZornig on April 21, 2015 at 7:03 pm

1966 photo added of Iggy Pop & Dan Erlewine near the State Theatre. Photo credit Flickr: Guitar-Tech.

Details and fade of then & now below. Copy & paste to view.!/ll/42.278926,-83.740797/id/6107/info/sv/zoom/14/

spectrum on September 8, 2016 at 8:13 pm

Theater will soon close for renovations & restoration of art deco architectural details, and will reopen as a quad cinema.

Texas2step on April 10, 2019 at 4:28 pm

The State Theatre opened on March 18, 1942.

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