Historic Edina Theater reopens after a complete remodeling inspired by “The Shining”

Hannah Owens Pierre, Editor in Chief

On Sept. 30, the Edina Theater reopened its doors to the public following a nearly three-year shutdown and almost $2 million in renovations. The theater, which was built in 1934, closed in at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Shortly after, the city of Edina contacted Mann Theatres in hopes the company would be interested in taking over the location. “We definitely wanted to do it. However, it had to make sense. We wanted to take a look at the theater and see the condition of it. And unfortunately, it was in need of repair and some love, so we were going to have a big undertaking,” Michelle Mann, co-owner of the family-run business Mann Theatres, said. 

Mann Theatres has been involved with the property in the past. Steve Mann, former owner and Michelle and Michael’s father, briefly owned the theater in the 1970s. His photo is shown in the theater’s updated lobby. He restored the place following a destructive tornado, though it hadn’t undergone many changes since then, until now. 

A distant shot of the new Edina theatre, surrounded by the 50th and France shops. (Amanda Strack)

After some deliberation, Mann Theatres agreed to take on the project of restoring and reopening the historical landmark. “The reason we decided to eventually go forward on it is because it’s a great location; it’s so important and crucial to the city of Edina and we want it to be able to bring back the theater to the community,” Mann said. 

Mann Theatres took on a big job in renovating the theater. Because of its deteriorated state, the city of Edina gave the company over $500,000 in loans and COVID-relief funds. Almost everything in the theater is brand new, including the marquee, lighting, entryway, tile, wall kiosks, concession stand, flooring, updated sound system, reclining heated seats, and the entire design. The new concessions serve pizza, chicken nuggets, milkshakes, and local beers. “Everything in the building, literally, except for the carpet, we completely gutted and renovated,” Mann said. Mann Theatres also got permission from the Edina Heritage Preservation Commission to take down and redesign its iconic Art-Deco “Edina” sign. 

The most striking difference is the third floor. It features a new bar called “The Gold Room,” recreated from Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film “The Shining.” The design of the theater is made to resemble scenes from the film, from the red and white styled bathroom to a replica of the “Redrum” door.

“The reason that ‘The Shining’ came into our head is because when we first looked at the building in 2021, the structure upstairs on the third floor is built very close to the way that The Gold Room is built in the movie,” Mann said. “So The Gold Room is where we started and then we thought, ‘Let’s really take this to another level. Let’s copy the restrooms. Let’s put in physical installations that make you feel like you’re on the set.’” 

Photos of the newly reopened Edina Theatre, spaces include the gold bar themed upstairs, and the retro neon light throughout the theatre. (Amanda Strack)

Edina Theater is wholly unique from others across the nation in regard to its design. “[The physical installations] are going to draw you in [to the theater] because it’s an experience, it’s a destination that literally is nowhere else in the country,” Mann said. 

To credit the movie’s influence, Edina Theater is currently showing “The Shining” along with new releases “Bros,” “Don’t Worry Darling,” and “Good House.” Landmark Theaters, which previously owned the location, only showed art house and independent movies. Mann Theaters is looking to expand its movie catalog by doing a mix of independent art films along with commercial, first-run, and blockbuster films. 

The reopening of the theater was met with excitement from the community. “The response has just been phenomenal. People are so happy and excited that their theater is back,” Mann said. “And we are just honored to have had the opportunity to open it back up and have people come see movies together again, as a community.” 

Several Edina High School students have started working at the theater, including sophomore Tommy Molldrem, who’s following through on a family tradition. “My mom, when she was growing up in high school, she worked at the Mann Theatre. She saw the [application] sign and was like, ‘Tommy, you should work there because I worked there,’ so I’m reliving her childhood,” he said. 

While streaming services have dramatically changed the landscape of the theater industry, Mann Theatres believes that nothing can outdo the unique experience of the theater. “That’s where you’re supposed to see a movie, not streaming at home by yourself,” Mann said. “You’re supposed to come together with people to laugh about it, cry about it, talk about the movie afterward. The theater brings people together.”