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AKA: Omni Star, George Burns
Source: Cinema Treasures
One of the last Detroit-area theaters built with a full stage and orchestra pit, the Mai Kai was built for Nicholas George in 1963 at a cost of over $1.5 million. It could seat over 1400 and decorated in Polynesian style, as its name would imply, though it had all the most up-to-date amenities of a 60s-era movie house, including both 35mm and 70mm projectors, a huge 60' by 27'; screen, and comfortable seating.
On opening night, the stars of the first movie to play the Mai Kai, "Son of Flubber", Tommy Kirk and Annette Funicello, were in attendance. Also, the Mai Kai Orchestra performed, for the first and last time. The theater's management claimed that the Mai Kai's parking lot could hold more than 3000 cars, but the true number was closer to 500.
Though several times throughout the 70s there was talk of dividing the auditorium into a twin or more screens, the Mai Kai remained a single screen until it closed, in 1987, a year after the theater was acquired by AMC. During the 70s and into the 80s, the Mai Kai was one of the more popular area venues to see "event" films like "Superman" or the original "Star Wars" trilogy, in large part due to its vast screen.
The Mai Kai was reopened in 1988 as the Omni Star Theatre, after close to half a million dollars was said to have been spent remodeling the former movie theater into a live performance venue. However, in less than two months after it opened, the Omni was closed down, due to its owner's illegal activities. In 1992, the Omni reopened as the George Burns Theatre, after a $1 million facelift, with the theater's namesake being present at the opening festivities. However, despite high hopes for the George Burns, the theater was shuttered after a little more than a year in operation.
After sitting vacant for almost a decade, and plans for its reuse coming to naught, the George Burns is now slated to be razed for new construction, including a Walgreens and townhomes.