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The Village Plaza Theatres was a Chapel Hill landmark for 33 years operating from 1970 to 2003. Located at the corner of Elliott Road and East Franklin Street in the Village Plaza Shopping Center(which was also known as the Kroger Plaza Shopping Center that was anchored by a Super Kroger Center and specialty shops). It opened in 1970 as a twin cinema and by 1973 a third auditorium was added becoming a triplex. Two more auditoriums were added in the mid-1990’s when it became a multiplex until it’s closing in 2003.
Lots of bureaucracy from 2003 regarding the closing of this theater…..
STAR WARS played at the Valley Twin Theatres on July 1,1977 as a general release.
A lot of great blockbusters got first-run at this theatre
–“THE FRENCH CONNECTION”
–“THE GODFATHER PART II”
–“BACK TO THE FUTURE”
–“BEVERLY HILLS COP I AND BEVERLY HILLS COP II”
When the Valley Twin Theatres closed in 1988,construction of two multiplexes were being built along that stretch of Glenwood Avenue and all of Northwest Raleigh…….
-The opening of the Pleasant Valley Promenade Cinema 7 on October 27,1989 (which was General Cinema’s first venue in the Raleigh-Durham market)just three blocks from Crabtree Valley Mall.
-The Raleigh Grande 16-(Raleigh’s megaplex cinema)opened in May of 1998.
-The Carmike Cinema 7-(located off Atlantic Springs Road at Millbrook Road in North Raleigh)was Carmike’s first multiplex theatre for Raleigh that opened on November 3,1989. The Carmike 7 did not replaced the Valley Twin,but the chain did however wanted to built a bigger cinema that basically expanded their market in the Northern section of Raleigh.
Carmike was the last theatre to operate the Valley Twin. In my posession I have the original ads on the two features during the Valley’s last picture show in 1988.
At that time,this theatre was under Carmike Cinemas. The November 15,1988 last picture show at the Valley Twin were as follows:
Screen 1: George Burns in “18 AGAIN”
Screen 2: “FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII:THE NEW BLOOD”
1971-1976 Schneider-Merl Theatres
1976-1984 Martin Theatres
1984-1988 Carmike Cinemas
The CRABTREE VALLEY MALL was anchored by three department stores that opened on August 8,1972:
-HUDSON BELK-Which was the largest Belk’s in the state and the largest retail department store to be built in Eastern North Carolina that opened in 1972.
-THALHIMERS-Which became HECHT’S and is now MACY’S.
-SEARS ROEBUCK AND COMPANY-At the time of its opening was the largest SEARS store in the Carolinas and in all of Eastern North Carolina that opened in 1972. This store replaced the one that was located at Cameron Village. This SEARS store had expanded features including its own restaurant and snack bar section!
The supporting stores:
-MILLER AND RHOADES
-G.C. MURPHY COMPANY
Steven Spielburg’s THE COLOR PURPLE was one of three theatres in the state of North Carolina that was given the exclusive engagement showing of the film when it opened on December 20,1985. These are the theatres that were the exclusive engagement showings:
-Raleigh (Valley Theatres 1 & 2)
-Charlotte (Park Terrace)–[In Dobly Stereo]
Other theatres didn’t get the general release of the film until February or March of 1986. Only Raleigh, Charlotte and Greensboro were the exclusive engagements.
ABOUT THE HISTORY OF CRABTREE VALLEY MALL IN RALEIGH:
The Convenience Center opened in early 1971 with the opening of several stores that was part of the strip plaza that was facing the corner of Glenwood Avenue and Blue Ridge Road. This was anchored by a Big Star grocer and several speciality shops were added including a Singer Sewing Store, Pier One Imports, Catherine’s Women Store, a United States Branch Post Office, a Laundromat and Dry Cleaners.
A Crabtree Valley Barber Shop and Beauty Salon,and a Hardees Restaurant. Not to mention a Shoe Store and other specialty shops. The Valley Theatres were on the opposite end of the Plaza facing Blue Ridge Road right across from the Good Year Tire and Auto Center that was basically across the street from the convenience center.
The shopping mall itself,CRABTREE VALLEY MALL didn’t officially opened to the public until August 8,1972. It was in fact prior to its opening the Triangle’s first-ever megaplex shopping center and was the largest indoor shopping center in the state and in all of Eastern North Carolina. CRABTREE VALLEY MALL was Raleigh’s second indoor shopping center after the huge success of North Hills which opened in 1966 as Raleigh’s first-ever mall,and after Cameron Village which was Raleigh’s first-ever suburban shopping center that opened in 1949.
The mall was anchored by three major department stores:
-HUDSON BELK-which was the largest Belk store in Eastern North Carolina that opened on August 8,1972.
-SEARS ROEBUCK AND COMPANY
With the supporting stores:
-MILLER AND RHOADES
-G.C. MURPHY COMPANY
With more than 200 stores and services
From Mike Rogers' (7-13-2010) comment: Mike is right!
“Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” was released in 1970 by 20th Century-Fox that actually played in first-run theatres and not some slutty adult movie house. By the way,this picture was in fact Rated “X” for a reason!!! During it’s run,the film did huge business despite the criticism it got for it’s graphic subject matter. Also,the theatres here in Raleigh and in Durham did played this as part of their “late shows” on Friday and Saturday nights……The Valley Twin Theatres was in fact the only movie theatre during it’s showing of the film did played it as a later matinee…very risky for its time in 1970.
THE COMING ATTRACTIONS TO THE VALLEY THEATRES 1 & 2:
Raleigh Exclusive Engagement Showing! “PATTON”
-Dustin Hoffman and Faye Dunaway in “LITTLE BIG MAN”
-The Monster Hit of 1970-“MAS*H”
–“BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS”–
-Gene Hackman in “THE FRENCH CONNECTION”
–“ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES”
-Ruth Gordon in “HAROLD AND MAUDE”
The Valley Theatres 1 & 2 opened on February 9,1971 as Raleigh’s first-ever twin theatres under Schneider-Merl.
AUDITORIUM ONE: “THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT” starring George Segal and Barbra Streisand.
AUDITORIUM TWO: “RIO LOBO”-starring John Wayne and Richard Boone.
The bigger and larger Sun Valley Cinemas 14 in Indian Trail replaced the Union Square 8 in Monroe,which closed it’s doors in July of 2012
This was the theatre that replaced the Union Square 8 in Monroe that closed in June of 2012. The Sun Valley 14 is the ONLY megaplex and only movie palace that is between Monroe and Indian Trail and basically the only locally owned movie house serves the entire area of Union County and surrounding areas.
The Reynolda Cinema opened on January 18,1967 as a 750-seat single screen theatre under Stewart and Everett Corporation. A second auditorium was added that was adjacent to the original auditorium that had a seating capacity of 304 that opened as the Reynolda Cinema 1 & 2 on Friday March 15,1974 with the premiere attraction DAY OF THE DOLPHIN starring George C. Scott. By the 1980’s,the original auditorium’s 750 seat was split into two sections creating two shoebox auditoriums with smaller screens and was renamed the Reynolda Triple Cinemas until it closed in 1996.
George Lucas' AMERICAN GRAFFITI played here as a limited release on August 1, 1973.
I have found the ad for the grand opening of theatre. This will be corrected and posted. Any questions concerning this please feel free to e-mail at
Opened in either 1953 or 1956 as the Highway 70 East Drive-In Theatre and it was a single screen outdoor drive-in with a car capacity of 390. At the time of it’s opening it was the largest outdoor drive-in in all of Alamance County and surrounding areas. It wasn’t twinned until 1969 when the name changed to the Twin 70 Drive-In Theatre until it closed in 1980.
The Church Street Twin Cinemas was never demolished. The theatre closed in the 1990’s as a discount theatre. The building is still there but it has been converted into a mega-church that basically took up that section where it was a shopping center that was anchored by a Zayre Department Store and a Winn-Dixie grocer.
This theatre was once the Trans-Lux In Flight Cinema that opened on March 23,1970. It was renamed the Janus Theatre by 1973 and was twinned by 1976 renamed the Janus 1 & 2. By 1983,it became the Blue Moon Adult Theatre that specialized in showing hardcore XXX-rated films until the late-1980’s or early-to-mid 1990’s. By the 1990’s it became a discount movie house under Janus Theatres and was renamed the Church Street Twin Cinemas until it closed in the late-1990’s. It reopened as a Spanish Language cinema that specialized in showing Spanish films for the huge Latino crowd. By either 2000 or 2001 it closed for good. It was converted into a church by either 2003 or 2004 that is still in business.
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK played here at the Janus Twin first-run in 1981.
Not only did THE GOLDEN CHILD played on two screens at the Willowdaile,but it also did BIG BUSINESS playing in it’s largest auditorium in DOBLY STEREO with a seating capacity of 500. It made have been a flop,but anything with Eddie Murphy drew in huge crowds on December 12, 1986.
OTHER MOVIES THAT PLAYED HERE:
“Beverly Hills Cop II”, “Beverly Hills Cop III”,
“Another 48 Hours”, “Hook”, “Rocky IV”, “Rocky V”,
“The Polar Express”, “All the James Bond 007 films with Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan played here from "The Living Daylights” to “Die Another Day”.
“Home Alone II”, and more………
Durhamites: What were your best memories of going to the Willowdaile Cinema and what was your favorite?
THE OPENING ATTRACTIONS FOR THE WILLOWDAILE CINEMAS:
From it’s grand opening on December 12, 1986.
-Showing on Two Screens: Chevy Chase and Dan Ackroydwith Martin Short starring in “THE THREE AMIGOS”
-Showing on Two Screens: Eddie Murphy in DOBLY STEREO starring in “THE GOLDEN CHILD”
“JUMPIN JACK FLASH”-Whoopi Goldberg
“PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED”-Kathleen Turner
“HEARTBREAK RIDGE”– Clint Eastwood
“TOP GUN”-Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer
“NOTHING IN COMMON”-Tom Hanks and Jackie Gleason
COMING SOON MORE BLOCKBUSTERS TO THE WILLOWDAILE 8:
“STAR TREK IV”-William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy
“ENEMY MINE”– Louis Gossett,Jr. and Dennis Quaid
Disney’s “THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE”
The Willowdaile Cinema 8 was located on the Northern end of the city at the corner of Guess and Horton Roads,and it was the first multiplex theatre operating under Carmike Cinemas. The theatre was in operation from 1986 until 2005(spanning 19 years). This theatre got the first-run blockbusters and it was also the first to show exclusive engagements not to mention this theatre got to show in 1990 the first-ever “NC-17” flick “Henry and June” to play at this theatre. It also got the exclusive engagement showing to several films that made there world premiere showings ever in North Carolina at the Willowdaile…..Tony Brown’s “The White Girl” played here first-run as well as the erotic thriller “Trois”.
Other movies that were crowd pleasers..“School Daze”,
“Toy Story”, “Home Alone”, “Titanic”, “Coming To America”, “Lethal Weapons II, III, IV”, “Die Hard I”,
“Die Hard II”, “Die Hard III”, “Spider-Man”, “X-Men”,
“Star Wars:The Phantom Menace”, “Attack of the Clones”, “Toy Story II”, “The Passion of the Christ”,and many more. The theatre closed on June 2, 2005 after more than 19 years and was demolished in early 2006 to make room for a 52,000 square foot Harris Teeter grocer that opened in November of 2009 where the movie theatre once stood.