Company: Arena Cinelounge
Introduced: July 2020
Suggested Retail Price: $8.00
Product Snapshot: Hollywood’s acclaimed arthouse, genre, and independent cinema, Arena Cinelounge Sunset has survived these COVID-19 days by sumptuously re-imagining cinema’s staple snack into a thriving gourmet popcorn business.
“As an independent theater owner, I’ve had to be creative about the survival and expansion of my business,” said Christian Meoli, owner of Arena Cinelounge Sunset.
Committed to the survival of independent cinema, Meoli has made Arena Cinelounge a safe haven for indie filmmakers to screen their films—ones often not shown at an Arclight, AMC, or other major theater chains. His dedication to these indie filmmakers drove him to find a uniquely appropriate way to save not only his business, but the only home that will screen these filmmakers’ works of art.
“I’ve taken my love and curation of new films, and directed that energy to a true gourmet cinematic experience with an exemplary signature line of gourmet popcorn,” says Meoli. “Each bag sold, supports independent cinema’s survival - in the most delicious of ways!’
Featured in Entertainment Weekly, each bag contains blossom popcorn, non-GMO, vegan, dairy and nut-free, with the highest quality ingredients possible. The 9 mind-bending flavors include:
- Popcorn of the Living Dead – Cinnamon Churro with Crushed Pretzels
- Eternal Popcorn of the Spotless Mind – Rosemary Salted Caramel
- Natural Corn Killers – Naked with Sea Salt
- APOPalypse Now - Jalapeno
- Once Upon a Time in Popcorn – Mesquite Smoked Cheddar
- Truffaut Truffle – Truffle
- Arthouse Gold – Curry
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Popcorn – Sweet Chili Lime
- Meoli’s Bliss – Bourbon Caramel with Espresso Pretzels
“We wanted to offer an incredible gourmet selection,” said Meoli. “It was our mission to go where no popcorn ever really goes—especially designed for the cinephile’s palate.”
The humble beginnings of Arena Cinelounge Gourmet Popcorn began with the creation of Naked Sea Salt, a good quality starter blend that led to a brainstorm of ideas, including Rosemary Flavored Caramel, Truffle, Mesquite Smoked Cheddar, Sweet Chili Lime, and finally a truly experimental blend in the aptly titled Popcorn of the Living Dead.
‘With Popcorn of the Living Dead, we wanted audiences to go in without knowing what to find”, said Meoli. “So, the end result became a layer of popcorn, then a secret layer under that, then a poster of a classic horror poster in the bag.” Ultimately, titles like Popcorn of the Living Dead paved the way to officially bridge the gap between movies and popcorn. Poster artist Christopher Butler, who did the poster art of Chelsea Stardust’s SATANIC PANIC, was hired to do all the popcorn packaging.
Officially launched to the public at Arthouse Convergence on National Popcorn Day, Arena Cinelounge Gourmet Popcorn was set up at the Warner Media Launch as well as at the Variety Studio with 1,000 bags encompassing all 9 flavors, holding popcorn parties to celebrate the new venture. Del Ray Theaters were the first to pick up the popcorn for their theater in FL. At Sundance, Meoli also did a deal with The Mark to ensure festival attendees were able to sample the popcorn. Not long afterward, Entertainment Weekly featured the popcorn in their gift guide, and Amazon included the popcorn in a special promotion for their film The Vast of Night.
Arena Cinelounge Gourmet Popcorn has received rave reviews from an enthusiastic audience and key industry players. “It’s not only delicious, it is safe because it’s pre-packaged. This will be the future of popcorn in a post-COVID world.” Now, Meoli is selling the popcorn successfully online. “The sales of our gourmet popcorn is now saving my theater from closing down—and in essence, saving the home for independent cinema and filmmakers…once kernel at a time.”
Arena Cinelounge’s signature gourmet popcorn can be purchased for home delivery via Grubhub and Postmates and for Purchase Online HERE. Currently, gourmet popcorn can be physically found at Joan's On Third, The Oaks Gourmet market, Element 129 in Culver City, and at the Arena Cinelounge.