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Studio Movie Grill to Replace Arena Grand Theatre

Walker Evans Walker Evans Studio Movie Grill to Replace Arena Grand Theatre
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The Bar at Studio Movie Grill Epicentre in Charlotte. Photo Credit: Studio Movie Grill.

Downtown’s main movie theater will be undergoing a management change for the second time since it opened 12 years ago in 2001. Nationwide Realty Investors (developers of The Arena District) announced this morning that Dallas-based Studio Movie Grill will be renovating the space currently known as the Arena Grand Theater.

“We are thrilled to have a Studio Movie Grill in the Arena District,” said NRI President Brian Ellis. “This is a great opportunity to enhance the amenities we have in the District for our visitors and residents.”

Studio Movie Grill is a first-run theater with a focus on in-theater dining. The company currently operates 13 theaters across Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina and Texas, with the new Columbus theater being their first in Ohio.

“Our new Arena District location will feature an extensive gourmet menu, a two-story bar and lounge, one hundred percent reserved seating, crystal clear Dolby audio, and the best in today’s Christie projection systems for the highest quality movie viewing experience in the city,” said Lynne McQuaker, Director of Public Relations and Outreach at Studio Movie Grill.

The Arena Grand Theater has been operated by Columbus Hospitality Management for NRI since 2007, following the end of the management agreement with original operator Drexel Theater Group. The Arena Grand Theater will close following the showings on Monday, May 27th with Studio Movie Grill slated to open sometime in late summer.

More information can be found online at www.studiomoviegrill.com and www.arenadistrict.com.

ETA: What to do with outstanding Arena Grand Gift Cards?

If you have an unused Arena Grand gift card, we encourage you to use your gift card by May 27. Or you may send your unused gift card with a self-addressed stamped envelope to:

Columbus Hospitality Management,
Attention: Arena Grand
33 E. Nationwide Blvd.
Columbus, OH 43215

by August 31, and we will exchange the balance of your Arena Grand gift card for an Arena District gift card valid at participating District bars and restaurants.

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  • Wow, didn’t see that coming. Not really sure if that format will work in the downtown area. The timing is a bit odd, most theaters like to stay open during the busy summer months and hold off on renovations until the fall.

  • (Insert perplexed face here.)

  • readysetdisco

    The Arena Grand is my favorite theater. It has the best screens, best audio, and best crowd at a good price. I really hope they don’t price me out with these new changes…

  • somebuckeye

    We typically go to Arena Grand rather than other theatres because it usually isn’t full of loud children. I also hope I am not priced out by the changes as I go to see movies, not eat gourmet food.

  • I’ve seen a lot of people upset about this news on twitter/facebook this morning, and I just wanted to say that if you want to look on the bright side, it could have just been closed/mothballed from 2007-2013 in between Drexel and Studio Movie Grill. I think everyone is happy that NRI decided instead to keep it open as the Arena Grand these past six years.

    I’ve enjoyed a lot of movies there myself, and looking forward to checking out the renovations in a few months.

  • Walker’s right about the fact that it’s good that it didn’t close. That theater has just barely hung on despite it’s reputation of being “people’s favorite theater.” While I’m not convinced that the dine-in format will work there I’d rather see it make a change than permanently close.

  • geoyui

    Arena Grand is my preferred theater. My concern is how many fewer seats they will have since it is an in-theater dining format.

    When it comes to opening weekend or it’s a movie that has been doing well at the box office for several weeks, I generally avoid Movie Tavern on the west side because I know they may run out of seats and have only front row, left corner seating remaining. I would need to show up earlier at Movie Tavern then most theaters.

    And I know the wait staff tries their best to be inconspicuous, but it is still distracting, especially when it’s near the end of the movie and they are collecting bills.

  • futureman

    If their other locations are any indication of the costs of a ticket, prices should be in the $10 – $10.50 range for adults (non-student).

    Currently Arena Grand costs $9.50 for an adult (non-3D, non-student, not reserved)

  • buckette13

    I like the Grande, but it has been very, very, dead the last few times I have been there. I am not sure this will save it.

  • I love the Grand but I’m open to a change in concept. Like some of others, I’m just surprised they are making the transition during the busy summer movie season. I see almost all my movies at Arena grand since I can walk there, the prices are reasonable, and they serve beer. :)

    I guess I’ll be seeing less movies this summer unless they re-open quickly.

  • Stephen43215

    In my opinion Arena Grand is the best movie theater in the city of Columbus! I hope the new company doesnt focus more onm the dining part and not on the showing of current movies.

  • RhondaH

    Just looked at the Yelp reviews for the Studio Movie Grill and they don’t appear that great. I also am not getting that it is really upscale, just pricey pub food.

  • Yelp is 90% complaints. ;) Not sure if that’s a good measuring stick to use.

  • updated the original article with what to do if you have an Arena Grand Gift Card:

    If you have an unused Arena Grand gift card, we encourage you to use your gift card by May 27. Or you may send your unused gift card with a self-addressed stamped envelope to:

    Columbus Hospitality Management,
    Attention: Arena Grand
    33 E. Nationwide Blvd.
    Columbus, OH 43215

    by August 31, and we will exchange the balance of your Arena Grand gift card for an Arena District gift card valid at participating District bars and restaurants.


    If you currently have a pre-paid Arena Grand movie pass, Guest Pass, VIP Media Pass, VIP Producer Ticket, Private Screening Certificate, or “Reel Sorry” pass, we encourage you to use it by May 27. They will also be accepted at the new Studio Movie Grill for a limited time only through 12/31/13.

  • RhondaH

    @Walker yelp reviews on average are overwhelmingly postive:

    Breakdown of Yelp reviews star average for all reviews:

    5 stars: 32%
    4 stars: 35%
    3 stars: 18%
    2 stars: 8%
    1 star : 7%

  • Found out from an employee of the Arena Grand that the current staff was completely laid off. Not unexpected mind you but unfortunate since the theater will reopen in a matter of months.

  • mrpoppinzs

    I would imagine the new theater will want to do its own hiring.

    I am a little surprised at how poor attendance was at the Grand. I am sure there are a lot of factors but I would like to think a movie theater could survive in the heart of an entertainment district.

  • mrmann

    ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ is how I see this type of theater. I don’t think taking a nice theater and making it a futon is really the way to go.

    I think the Arena Grand suffered from the lack of the right kind of marketing. I was always shocked when friends would insist on Lennox over the Arena Grand and the Gateway. They thought the Arena Grand was more expensive and that parking was hard to find and expensive. They were wrong on both counts, but proving that to them would was like pulling teeth.

  • TLD

    I’m glad for the change. I live fairly close to the Arena grand location but have to drive all the way to Easton for this type of experience (Movie Tavern is too much of a cattle call and the seats aren’t great). So, I’m excited to have this kind of experience downtown.

  • jimmythetoe

    Looks classy. It will be interesting to see how this management company does something different then the previous companies.

    Concept looks good. But it’s already here. And has been since 1938. Same name too. Pretty much.
    Although different neighborhoods, it is kind of a dick move to come to Columbus and plant your flag next to your Grampa’s.
    Studio 35 was the first movie theater in the country to have a business concept of movies, beer and food. 1972.
    It seems to me that a company like that completely disregarding already established brands in our community, setting up shop and funneling money back to Texas won’t really have your best interests in mind.

  • Anyone know if this is still happening? It’s been a while.

  • Yes! Just got an email a few days ago about a pre-opening party in mid-Jan. I imagine the real opening isn’t far behind.

  • Graybeak

    It’s kind of funny, with the statement “Arena Grand pre-paid tickets will be honored for a little while after opening, until 12/31/13”

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