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Fully Renovated Ideal Theatre Reopens After Three-Year Hiatus

‘It’s just a fabulous job that the owners did on this, and I’m looking forward to coming to more movies again,’ says Clare mayor pro-tem

The Ideal Theatre has been collecting dust since it closed in 2020, and now three years and a lot of renovations later the theater is back open and looking better than ever.

Lisa Benic and her three sisters saw the theater closed in 2020 and jumped into action.

“So many small-town theaters did close and never reopened after COVID, and we didn’t want that to happen here,” Benic acknowledges.


The three sisters bought the theater in April 2021 and began renovations shortly after.

“Our backgrounds didn’t set us up to run a movie theater. None of us knew how to do this, but [my sister] is an attorney, my older sister is an architectural designer [and] my background is in technology and operations. So, we thought maybe we can actually make this work,” Benic explains.

They renovated nearly the entire building from the seats to the stage all the way to the building’s electrical and heating and cooling systems. They also renovated the concession stand.

“It’s been incredible, people walk in the building and it looks quite a bit different on the inside than it did before, and so you literally see people’s jaws drop. They look around and they don’t know where to look first to take it all in,” Benic says.


Mayor Pro-Tem of Clare Bob Bonham is one of the many people in town who are amazed with the renovations. He says the fresh look is making him nostalgic of his days as a teenager in Clare.

“It’s just nice to see it back. [I remember] coming here and seeing all the old James Bond movies when I was a teenager,” Bonham recalls. “The people who purchased it now just done a fabulous job of restoring it, and I think it’s a great asset to the City of Clare.”

The new owners are working on a summer movie program for kids and may even have live performances on their newly renovated stage. Benic says they’re excited to be open and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

“We’re working with our movie booking companies. They fully understand what our mission is and we feel confident we will be able to do those things and make this a great gathering place and a great place for the community of Clare,” Benic says.

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