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Mann family breathes new life into iconic Edina Cinema

Michelle Mann and her brother are planning a $1.5 million upgrade, beginning with each of the four auditoriums closed due to the pandemic.

EDINA, Minn. — The Edina Cinema has been a destination for moviegoers, as well as a community landmark at 50th and France, for nearly 90 years. But when Landmark Theaters closed the four auditoriums during the pandemic and recently announced that it wouldn’t re-open, the community turned to a familiar family in search of a sequel.

"It's an iconic theater,” said Michelle Mann, co-owner of Mann Theatres. “My father, Steve Mann, got the opportunity to purchase it in the early 80s.”

Michelle Mann says her father helped rescue the building back then, too. Mann repaired and renovated the historic sign and marquee following a tornado that ripped through the intersection in 1981. Now, years after the Edina Cinema changed owners, Michelle and her brother are planning a return that requires a much bigger renovation. The family is planning $1.5 million in upgrades, beginning with each of the four auditoriums.

“We're going to replace the seats with luxury lounger recliners,” Mann said. “New sound, new screens, which this theater hasn't seen since the late 80s."

Michelle says they will work to save the wall panels and restore the carpeting, which both fit the building’s original Art Deco style. The areas outside the auditoriums are also going to get a unique Art Deco upgrade.

"We are really going to plan to make this theater a destination by making a state-of-the-art bar that you just are not going to see anywhere in the state,” Michelle said. “We're emulating the Gold Room Bar from the movie 'The Shining.' Bringing you in the movie is what we're trying to do; make you feel like you're in 'The Shining' and having a drink at the bar with Jack Nicholson."

Michelle says they're also going to recreate the red and white bathrooms from the movie. If you think that's scary, keep in mind, it's hard to spook a family-run theater company that survived a pandemic.

Kent Erdahl: "Why jump in now, at a time when a lot of theaters are still getting their feet under them?"

Michelle Mann: "I think the opportunity just made sense for us because of, number one, location. Number two, wanting to be part of something really unique and special, and this area has been growing in the last couple years, and we are a family owned business and this area really hones in on that factor, so it just made sense for us.”

Michelle says they'll take the same approach with the movies they choose — a mix between big box office, art house films and everything in between.

"Again, making it a destination," Mann said. "Opening it up to independent film festivals, opening it up to the city of edina, for instance, their high school hockey games on screen, and be able to rent a theater and utilize it. We really want to connect the community with their theater."

And in case you're wondering, yes, that iconic sign is also going to shine a little brighter.

"It is in the historical society, so we can't do much to it, nor would we want to. We just want to restore and repair it."

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