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OPINION: An ode to Regal Interstate 18

KentWired illustration by Allie Black

One of my first memories was seeing 2007’s “Alvin and the Chipmunks” in the theater with my dad. Obviously my memory of this day is sparse, but I remember the laughter and fun, and this wasn’t an isolated event.

In fact, a lot of my brightest childhood memories involve the movies. I remember seeing “Bolt,” “Up,” “Toy Story 3,” and those are only the early ones. I also remember crying during all three of the aforementioned movies, but this doesn’t make these bad memories. It shows the effect that movies, no matter what genre, can have on people of any age. 

As I got older, I continued to go to the movies. I still remember how excited I would get when my dad would ask if I wanted to see the new Star Wars or Marvel movie after school. I remember getting popcorn to share with my brother or a Coca-Cola Icee if I was extra lucky. I remember the smiles, tears and laughter that the movies caused. I remember seeing movies I hated and loved.

I remember going on my first ever date at Regal Interstate 18. I remember double dates and meeting completely new people there. There was a little arcade there with a photobooth in the corner that I have countless photos from, some with my best friends and some with people I haven’t talked to in years. 

As I got older, I made my own money and went to even more movies. After I turned 17, I saw my first rated R movies there. I saw scary movies that gave me nightmares and hilarious ones that I laughed and laughed with my friends at. Even though the theater had its issues sometimes, like the lights sometimes staying on during the movie or the occasional obnoxious middle schoolers talking over it, my time spent there was always worth it in one way or another. 

In June of last year, my boyfriend and I went to the theater to see “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.” We bought popcorn and drinks, entered the theater and loved the movie. There was a decent amount of people there and we went home after thinking nothing about the experience, not knowing what would come the next day.

“Regal Interstate 18 to be Closed Immediately,” I saw on Facebook the next day. I immediately thought it wasn’t true, as I was just there the day before and it showed no signs of closing. I went on Google for more information and every source talked about the abrupt closure that would occur on June 7, 2023. 

I know it was just another movie theater, but to me, this theater held so much importance. I had memories stemming from 2007 from this place, and was making new memories there until the day prior to its closing. I wondered, if they had only stayed open another month in time for the “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” release, then maybe they would be able to keep out of bankruptcy. 

Every now and then I drive by the newly abandoned theater and feel a twinge of sadness. I think about all the memories made there with new and old friends and all the great and not so great movies watched there over the years. I wish I could go back and see just one more film there, but I can only hope that other nearby theaters don’t follow suit.

Ava Branz is an opinion writer. Contact her at [email protected].

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  • K

    Katie cavanaughFeb 29, 2024 at 7:07 pm

    You real for this, the one by my house closed too.

  • J

    Joan IarussiFeb 28, 2024 at 1:59 pm

    I miss the ’18’ too!