The Main Art Theatre, which opened on the corner of 11 Mile and Main in Royal Oak in 1941, closed permanently in June 2021, after temporarily shutting down in April. It had been operated by Landmark Theatres, which owns the fixtures and fittings of the theater, since 1993. Landmark is a national chain of cinemas featuring independent films, and had been struggling with declining audiences even before the pandemic. The Main was one of several Landmark theaters that were closed in 2021. Building owners AF Jonna had been working with Landmark, and the sign placed on the marquee when it closed reading “landlord kicked us out” was mistaken. It was the theater chain, not the property owners, who shuttered the cinema.
Friends of the Main Art is an outgrowth of a grass roots effort to save the theater. We are a 501c3 non-profit, and our goal is to bring independent movies back to Royal Oak. The pandemic and the rise of streaming platforms may have changed our viewing habits, but we believe there should still be a place for the shared experience that only a cinema can give.
Our primary purpose is to foster and develop public appreciation of independent film and the arts, and to preserve the Royal Oak Main Art building as a movie theater for the enjoyment of the greater Metro Detroit community.