The vacant Lansing Mall movie theater is on its way to becoming Greenwood District Studios.
The first step: a drive in slated to open in May.
Amaru, a local comedian who is heading the project after losing his livelihood due to the pandemic, says the drive-in theater, called Amaru Flix, will have three screens showing movies that feature people of color.
“We’re going to be playing movies that you’ve seen in theaters…minority movies, so it could be black, it could be Mexican, it could be Asian…one of my favorite movies as a child as “Mi Vida Loca,” “My Crazy Life” …if we learn about each other’s culture a little bit, we might understand that…we’re not too far separated,” Amaru said.
Profits from the drive-in will help to finance the rest of Greenwood District Studios. Amaru plans to donate 25 percent to different community projects each month.
“We need everybody to support this drive-in, because when you support the drive-in, it supports everything in here, and then when we get this up and running, it will support the Greenwood tourism, and when we get that up, boom. We got (motions) and then we can go to that building and acquire that one, and we can acquire this building over here, and next thing you know we'll turn this into Paramount Pictures," Amaru said.
Drive-in theaters have been losing traction since at least the 1970s, when the oil crisis made cars smaller and the VCR made staying home more attractive. In the year 2020, however, the drive-in theater found a sort of resurgence.
“He’s bringing something to the area that, you know, is not around, and especially at a time when some entertainment is desperately needed. So, we’re very interested in what becomes of that,” said Brian Reed, Delta Township Manager.
“My little cousin put a message out and took a shot of our drive-in pic and said to his wife, ‘Hey, babe. I can take you to your first drive-in.’ I was like, ‘Oh snap!’ I didn’t even think about that,” Amaru recalled.
Amaru said a Monday groundbreaking was ceremonial, as no official construction has yet begun.
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