Experience First Class Viewing at The Riviera Cinema

By: Scott Davis | May 13, 2015

There is a new theater in town, and it goes by the name of The Riviera Cinema. The theater is located at 30170 Grand River Ave., in Farmington Hills, Mich. The luxury cinema provides many amenities, including a bar, reclining leather seats in each auditorium, reserved seating and more.

I visited the theater during its opening weekend in early May to see “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” I was impressed. From the classy chandeliers to the comfortable seats, it was surely a different kind of movie theater. There is still work to be done, as there typically is with any newly opened business, but the Riviera already possesses all of the essentials to be a successful endeavor.

The cinema is a joint venture between The Maple Theater of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and Buffalo, N.Y.-based Dipson Theatres. The Maple Theater and The Riviera Cinema are considered sister theaters. Ruth Daniels, managing partner at the Maple Theater explained more.

The Riviera Cinema

(Photo courtesy of Classic Photography)

“The Maple has been called a ‘cultural oasis.’ It is a unique theater, with a unique experience that plays art, independent and high end commercial film,” Daniels said. “We plan to give you the same experience at the Riviera, but (also plan) to play more popular entertainment.”

There are nine auditoriums within the theater. Each auditorium holds 50 to 150 seats, and each seat is either of the luxury recliner or luxury high-backed rocking chair variety. “The Screening Room,” or Auditorium No. 1 has additional couches and chairs.

The theater’s soft opening was on April 30, but it had its grand opening just last week with a charity benefit. According to Daniels, The Rivera had about 150 people attend the event. The benefit included a strolling dinner, signature cocktails, live music, a cash bar and, of course, movies. The Riviera has already begun giving back to its community, as four nonprofits were benefited by the event: Jay’s Juniors, Sweet DreamzzzNational Council of Jewish Women and Oakland Early College.

The Riviera Cinema is not the first theater to reside at its current Farmington Hills location. Other cinemas have occupied the space in the past, but the hope is for the Riviera to stay. When asked if there was a lot of red tape to get past in the opening of this theater, Daniels noted the transformation of the theater over the years, and also how the city embraced the venture.

“Here is some history—the UA West River Theatre was originally opened in the early 1990s. About 10 years later, Phoenix Theatres took over, and about five years ago Buffalo-based Dipson Theatres (took over),” Daniels said. “The city of Farmington Hills was extremely supportive in our endeavor. We closed for renovations in January and reopened on April 30.”

The bar currently offers bottled and canned beer, but will have beer on tap in the very near future. As the theater is still going through the growing pains of just opening, there are some other things that need to be checked off of the to-do list.

The Riviera Cinema

(Photo courtesy of Classic Photography)

“Whenever opening something new, there are always some things yet to be finished. The draft beer should be in place by the end of the month. There are additional decorative touches that need to be completed, and a few other things, but I expect all to be complete in June,” Daniels said.

Interested parties can privately rent out an auditorium for events or gatherings of more than 50 people. The Riviera also hosts birthday parties for 10 children or more. Children and their parents will see a movie and then have a space in the lobby where they can have cake and open presents with a theater attendant assisting. If you have further questions regarding either service, call (248)-476-0600, or email Ruth Daniels at ruth@themapletheater.com.

Some other things to know about the Michigan-based theater: the concession stand serves fresh popcorn (including Poppin’ Olive Popcorn, a healthier alternative), candy, nachos, hot dogs, freshly-made pizza, chicken tenders and more. Also, the “Coca Cola Freestyle Machine” offers more than 100 beverage flavors to choose from!

In addition to the movies playing, there will also be live entertainment on weekends. There was a saxophone player during my visit, and Daniels said the hope is to have live musicians on many Friday and Saturday nights in the lobby/bar area.

“Our mission is to provide the absolute best luxury movie-going experience possible,” Daniels said.

Check the website for current showtimescoming attractions and a list of amenities. If you happen to be in the Farmington Hills area, be sure to check out one of Metro Detroit’s newest luxury theaters. You may regret it if you don’t!