An Arena Grand Era Ends

For those who haven’t figured it out yet, I’m an incurable movie buff. When I look back nearly 250 blog posts later, my very first blog post talked about that feeling of sitting in a movie theater when the lights dim and the excitement that goes along with the feeling that you’re about to see something new. Oh, don’t get me wrong. You might be disappointed. You might be underwhelmed. However, there’s always that possibility. And that’s just one reason I love movies.

Over the past decade, a number of those moments have happened at the Arena Grand Movie Theater in the Arena District of Columbus, Ohio. And on Monday, the theater ceased to exist when it was bought out by a company that specializes in a dining-movie screening experience, similar to the Movie Tavern in Hilliard. I personally have nothing major against this move and I wish the new company well. Frankly, I’m thrilled the location will still be a movie theater.

That is not without some reservations. While I admire the Movie Tavern and have had some good experiences there, I generally am not a huge fan of the format. Why? Well, probably because I’m such a movie buff. I want to watch the movie with as little distraction as possible. I don’t want to think about whether to order chicken fingers or the mini-burgers or the loaded nachos. I’m not really concerned with what beers are on tap. And I especially don’t want a waiter coming up to me every 15 minutes while I’m trying to follow plot points asking if everything is “OK”. The answer is yes – I’m watching the movie.

The Arena Grand Theater was a quality theater in a great location, but I will admit that in the last decade I’ve seen more films at the AMC Lennox. I’m curious to check out the new theater that will operate in Arena Grand’s former location, but I will always hold the following memories of the Arena Grand:

– barely being able to contain myself from very loud laughter at certain points during Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. I would’ve loved to see the sequel there.

– leaving work a little early on a sunny Friday afternoon with a coworker to watch Tom Cruise battle through an alien invasion in War of the Worlds.

– going with one of my best friends on a Friday night to watch The Departed on opening night and going next door to the local bar afterwards to discuss how amazing it was.

– having the entire balcony to myself to watch Woman in Black, a nice horror supernatural flick with Daniel Radcliffe that I still think is underrated.

– watching the final act of The Avengers with my jaw dropped for most of it.

– trying to see Ted with one of my best friends at the AMC Lennox and it was too crowded. We made it to Arena Grand just in time to grab seats in a packed theater… right next to two of my other greatest friends who we didn’t know were going to be there.

– going to see Django Unchained the day after Christmas after driving back from Fremont and keeping my absolute adoration of Quentin Tarantino’s movies intact.

And those are just seven of several examples. Arena Grand was a wonderful theater and I’ll miss it. I hope I can make some more good memories in that same location… even while I tell the waiter that “I’m still fine, thanks again.”

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