Two years ago, four friends opened an independent art-house cinema in the Cass Corridor called the Burton Theatre on a shoestring budget and a hunch.
The Burton was the only art-house/indie/cult/weird offering the city of Detroit had seen in decades beside the venerable Detroit Film Theatre at the DIA. The effort was met with tremendous community support and a loyal patronage. Despite the group’s success, and perhaps because of a bit of naivety, the Burton was forced to suddenly close its doors due an irreconcilable dispute between landlord and tenant.
Despite this setback, the desire has remained to have the unique voice the Burton provided in metro Detroit’s cinematic landscape. After a summer of programming “in exile” at a variety of spaces from warehouses to art galleries to street corners, the folks from the Burton have found a tremendous partnership with New York developers Scott Griffin and Angel Gambino to reincarnate the Burton Theatre as the Corktown Cinema, in Detroit’s oldest neighborhood.The Corktown Cinema will be the cornerstone of Griffin and Gambino’s larger development of 2051 Rosa Parks Boulevard (just off Michigan Avenue), a 100,000 square foot former brass foundry that is quickly becoming the place of choice for Detroit's most innovative businesses and shops, as well as the Detroit bureaus of the Huffington Post and Curbed.
It is certainly true that the Burton could not have existed at all if it weren’t for our patrons’ tremendous support and faith in our mission. In the genesis of this, our reincarnation, the need for support from the Detroit community is greater than ever. In that spirit, the Corktown Cinema will be launching an online crowd-funding campaign November Ninth with Detroit Big F Deal (detroitbigfdeal.com) to help support the cost of transforming a raw industrial space into a classy cinema. Corktown Cinema is excited to be able to offer contributors a token of our thanks in the form of memberships to the theatre,exclusive merchandise, discounts to local independent businesses and invitations to private events. It remains our honest belief that Detroit deserves the variety of interesting and entertaining work we strive to show, and we can’t wait to be back!