Sun Theatre

Address: 150 W Grand River Ave
City: Williamston
State: MI
Zip: 48895
County: Ingham
Open: 1947
Capacity: 400
Owner History:
Number of visits to this page: 7827
Notes:

Built by the Montgomery Family in 1947, the Sun Theatre became a landmark to the small town of Williamston Michigan, but in passing years would start to become rundown and unused. In 1979, Russ and Carol Robitaille bought the theatre as it was abandoned and not operating. After doing some much needed renovations, the Sun reopened it to the public in February 1980. The charming one screen movie theatre became an iconic figure in the small town of Williamston, Michigan, where in 2001 was bought by Russ and Carol’s son and daughter-in-law, Dan and Lisa Robitaille.

Info Updates:
8/1/2013 - Jack Thompson
The original Sun Theatre in Williamston was in the first block of East Grand River, on the same side of the street as the present one. Dates unknown, but at least into the 1940s.
12/27/2012 - Mailman Dan
My family lived in Williamston in 1958 and 59. Every weekend my brother and I would walk five blocks to the Sun to see whatever was playing. What a great little theater.
10/6/2006 - Lansing State Journal
Williamston movie house becomes a little more cushy By Mike Hughes Lansing State Journal After a movie-less week, Williamston will have its theater back on Friday. It will be a spiffed-up place, with comfy seats, fresh paint and cup holders. And in a small town, such changes are important. "People have been coming in all week," said Lisa Robitaille, who owns the Sun Theatre with her husband, Dan. "They ask how it's going, whether it will be ready." Advertisement It will, she said. The Sun reopens with shows at 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. Friday of "Gridiron Gang," which has Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson leading a football program for troubled teens. Changes include: • The seats. These are mauve and chocolate-brown, Robitaille said. • More room. The width is the same, she said, but the cup-holders require more room between seats and more leg room. Capacity drops from 390 to 325. • Fresh paint (light brown) on the walls. There will also be new carpeting on the aisles soon, she said, but that didn't arrive on time. The seats are second-hand (from Peoria, Ill.), she said, but will seem new. "New ones are expensive. We could never afford them at $3.50 a ticket." The survival of such places can be vital, said local movie-theater historian Michael Doyle. "People want that feeling of a small town. There's that sense of camaraderie." Dan Slider, a Williamston man who is a Web designer and screenwriter ("Postmark Paradise"), knows that first-hand. "It's a meeting place," he said of the Sun. "You can walk down to it and chat with friends and maybe get a bite to eat afterward. You don't get that with the big-box places." Doyle has written one book on big Michigan theaters and is working on a sequel, "Box Office Open: Smalltown Theatres in Michigan." There are about 90 small-town theaters in the state, he said, but only about 60 still show movies. That includes Sun Theatres (separately owned) in Williamston and Grand Ledge and the twin-screen Eaton Theatre in Charlotte. "There's been a real resurgence of interest," Doyle said of the small-town spots. "They tend to be mom-and-pop operations." Williamston's Sun was built in 1948 and bought by Russ and Carol Robitaille in 1979; Dan and Lisa Robitaille (their son and daughter-in-law) took over in 2002. Some people might have worried about the Sun closing, but a sign outside the theater made it clear that this was an overhaul. "We gave away about half the seats to anyone who wanted some," Lisa Robitaille said. The rest will be recycled. That comes just after the Williamston Theatre (which does live plays) made its own change, installing the former Fairchild Theatre seats. This weekend, sitting in Williamston should be comfy.
1/16/2004 - WaterWinterWonderland
The Sun is one of the classic downtown movie houses in Michigan. It appears to date back to the 40's, and from what I can gather, was closed for a period of time before being reopened in 1980. It seems to have a full stage, a possible indication that it was once used for live productions. The lobby and auditorium seem to be original, along with the old style seating. There is plenty of legroom and the old seats were quite comfortable. The screen is fairly large for a smaller house and the sound and overall presentation is good. Very reasonable prices as well, with admission at $3.00 and the snack bar much less than a multiplex.
 Photos:12
Sun Theatre - WINTER 2021
WINTER 2021
Sun Theatre - SUMMER 2020
SUMMER 2020
Sun Theatre - Photo from early 2000's
Photo from early 2000's
Sun Theatre - OWNER LISA AND DAN RABITAILLE SUN WILLIAMSTON
OWNER LISA AND DAN RABITAILLE SUN WILLIAMSTON
Sun Theatre - Photo from early 2000's
Photo from early 2000's
Sun Theatre - SUN WILLIAMSTON
SUN WILLIAMSTON
Sun Theatre - AUDITORIUM SUN WILLIAMSTON
AUDITORIUM SUN WILLIAMSTON
Sun Theatre - NIGHT SHOT
NIGHT SHOT
Sun Theatre - AUDITORIUM
AUDITORIUM
Sun Theatre - SCREEN
SCREEN
Sun Theatre - MARQUEE FROM GARY LEWIS
MARQUEE FROM GARY LEWIS
Sun Theatre - AD JUNE 10 1969
AD JUNE 10 1969
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