New Grand theater hoping for May opening

WORTHINGTON - The rebirth of the Grand Theater is underway in Worthington. Ground was broken Tuesday morning for what will be called the New Grand Theater. The hope is that the movie theater will be opening May 1.

"The original theater in Worthington was The Grand, where the remnant shop is by Carpet Plus right now, and then it became the State Theater," said investor Kevin Donovan. "We thought we'd use the Grand, and call it the New Grand."

"We wanted to go with a traditional theater name," added theater operator Todd Frager.

Both said that seeing the lay of the land where the building will go makes things feel very real, after more than five years of being in a kind of hiatus. Frager operated the movie theater in the old Northland Mall, and had to pull out equipment that had been recently updated. He said he will use a mixture of new and his current equipment to give a movie experience that people will enjoy.

"The first movies that open at this theater will always be special to people," Frager said. "I remember the first movie I ever went to, managed, when out on a date to. That's a mark in their lives, and people will remember that in Worthington - the first movie they saw in this new theater. And so we'll try to make that experience as memorable as we can."

The footing for the new building will be poured as early as next week. When everything is done, there will be five theaters, all with reclining chairs. Frager said it is a little early to tell which movies may be the first shown, but new Star Wars and Marvel movies are expected in the spring.

Frager said that even with the advent of Netflix, Hulu, and other internet-based movie streaming services, the movie industry is strong because more money is being poured into it than ever before. All of the movie viewing options means more revenue, and Frager said they are making many more movies annually than they did 25 years ago.

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