Traverse City’s Bijou by the Bay Will Open on July 29 – “On Time and On Budget!” says Founder Michael Moore


Traverse City’s Bijou by the Bay Will Open on July 29 – “On Time and On Budget!” says Founder Michael Moore

Traverse City, MI, July 19, 2013 — Two months ago, the Traverse City Film Festival set out to open the Bijou by the Bay movie theater in Clinch Park by the beginning of this year’s ninth annual Traverse City Film Festival. The first film is scheduled to be shown at the Bijou on July 29, and films will play at the Bijou throughout the festival.

With less than two weeks before its grand opening, teams of more than 35 skilled tradesmen are working three shifts at a time to complete the theater. President and founder of the Traverse City Film Festival, filmmaker Michael Moore, issued a report today stating that the project is “going along so well, it looks like we may come in under budget and finish a few days early.” The total budget to restore and open the Bijou is $800,000.

“Six years ago we rebuilt the State Theatre on Front Street in downtown Traverse City, Michigan in six weeks for under $800,000,” said Moore. “With the Bijou, we’ll have it done in five weeks for under $800,000.”

He added, “The people of northern Michigan LOVE to go to the movies — good movies and great movies. People who hadn’t been to a theater in years now flock to the State to watch foreign films, indie movies and documentaries. That’s not on the coasts — it’s here in middle America. It’s proof that everybody wants to see a good movie, something which has gotten harder and harder to do.”

The State Theatre, recently rated the number one theatre in the world by the Motion Picture Association of America, is expected to sell its one-millionth ticket this week — a major accomplishment in a town with a year-round population of 16,000 people.

“Everything is going great,” said Bijou general contractor Thom Darga. “We’ve had zero cost-overruns, zero change orders and, frankly, we’re going to come in at a couple dollars under budget.”

Darga said he’s been able to stay within budget because local subcontractors have donated much of the extra costs to make the theater “a top-flight venue.”

Tickets to the Bijou Grand Debut on July 29th are available now at There will be a sneak preview of a major Oscar-contending Hollywood film which will open nationally this fall. The Debut screening and after-party will be being sponsored by Chef Mario Batali and Susi Cahn.

The Bijou will open as a year-round movie house this coming Labor Day weekend. A grand opening party and community-wide celebration, which will include a free open house and numerous free festivities, are currently being planned.

“I would love to share with communities nationwide how they, too, can rebuild a 1930s-era movie house that will turn their town around,” said Moore. “We invite anyone and everyone to come to the Bijou to see how we do this.”