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Francis Ford Coppula’s THE GODFATHER played here first-run on March 22,1972 at the Cinema Theatre.
This theatre operated as a first-run movie house from its opening in 1940 until its closing in the early-to-mid 1980’s when it was under the Stewart & Everett chain. From 1940 thru 1955 it was the Harnett Theatre and from 1955 until its closing in 1987 or 1990 was the Stewart Theatre. From 1940 until 1975,it was in fact the only single screen indoor movie theatre in town,and the only movie house in all of Downtown Dunn and Harnett County. The Plaza Twin theatres changed all that by 1975,not to mention the town had the only drive-in theatre too which is NOT listed on the Cinema Treasures site. By the late-1980’s or mid-2000’s it changed hands with it became The Harnett Regional Theatre.
If you think “Passion of the Christ” was the only movie that was a sell-out,you may want to look back further into this cinema’s history. Since its opening in 1975,a lot of blockbuster movies that played here did very well,and were sell-outs in there own right. The original STAR WARS movie played here first-run as well as RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK as well. What else played at the Plaza? A lot of scary movies not to mention the run of Disney flicks too. But back in 1975,before the Plaza opened,the only theatres that were in town was the Stewart Theatre(now the Harnett Community Theater),and at one time to the town’s only drive-in theatre(which is not listed on the Cinema Treasures site) But when THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST played here,all boxoffice records at this cinema were broken in 2004..opening day when it sold-out all performances and even all matinee showings are packed to capacity(due to the audience of church groups and all the above,since this was at the time the only movie theatre in town). Since its closing in 2008,the only way to see a movie is to drive to the nearest towns for a movie screening..either going down I-95 towards Fayetteville or heading down South on U.S. 421 towards Clinton or even as far as Wilmington to catch a blockbuster movie.
Interesting. It reminds me of the Lakewood Center Theatre in Durham that opened in November of 1966,that was anchored by a W.T. Grant’s Department Store and was anchored by two supermarkets too(Winn-Dixie and Kroger!)
The Golden East Crossing Cinemas were located on the food court section of the shopping center and it also had a mall entrance accessible to the theatre. It was the only 4-plex cinema in town until 2003.
The Cardinal Theatres is NOT listed on this site. NOR is the Englewood Theatres I & II. Both theaters were located in Rocky Mount and NOT listed on the Cinema Treasures site(but will be soon)
The Cardinal was originally operated under ABC Southeastern Theatres,and later on was part of the Plitt Theatres chain before it was Cineplex Odeon and later under Carmike Cinemas.
The Englewood Cinemas I & II were owned and operated under Charlotte based Stewart and Everett(which controlled all of the movie houses in Eastern North Carolina)until 1986 when Carmike took over.
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF when it played as a roadshow engagement at Charlotte’s Park Terrace Theatre on March 24,1972 was the only showing of the film in the Carolinas. It was a Reserved Seat Engagement with advance tickets on sale before performances.
Other cities didn’t get FIDDLER ON THE ROOF until late-1972 or early 1973,even though the film was originally released on November 3,1971.
Walt Disney’s MARY POPPINS played at the Park Terrace Theatre on January 22,1965 as its only Exclusive Engagement Showing in the Carolinas.It was one of the Reserved Seat Engagements in several theaters in the South.
Other cities wouldn’t get the film until April or June of 1965 as a general release in both the Carolinas.
Just like the Daniel Village Theatre in Augusta,Georgia…………
The Northgate Theatre in Durham, NC (which opened in X-Mas of 62) would play a lot of Disney movies as well,and basically was the market for both Disney and MGM. It also played “Mary Poppins” as a general release on April 13,1965.
Wasn’t this theatre called “The Cinema”?
“Lawrence of Arabia” played at the Center Theatre on October 17,1963.
“West Side Story” also played here at the Center Theatre on October 18,1962.
“My Fair Lady” also played here around June or July of 1966 as a General Release.
Chuck1231:Wasn’t this theatre also known as “The Cinema” which is NOT listed on this site.
The Thruway Theatre opened on February 16,1969 with the Steve McQueen feature “Bullitt”.
Speaking of “The Godfather”,that movie didn’t play at the Thruway. It played at the Reynolda Cinema.
“West Side Story” played at the Winston Theatre on October 17,1962 as a Exclusive Engagement.
“Lawrence of Arabia” played at the Winston Theatre on
August 22,1963 was also a Exclusive Engagement Showing.
Not only did “The Sound Of Music” played here during its 44-week roadshow engagement between 1965 and 1966…..
But A Lot of Great Movies Played To Record Crowds at the Winston Theatre…….
From “Ben-Hur”, to “Spartacus”,to “How The West Was Won”
“West Side Story”-played here in October of 1962
“Lawrence of Arabia”-Opened at the Winston on 8-22-1963
“2001: A Space Odyssey”-in 1969
Charles Burnett’s KILLER OF SHEEP was one of several black oriented independent films that played here as an exclusive engagement back in 1977.
Sam Peckinpah’s THE WILD BUNCH played at the Yorktowne Theatre on July 2, 1969. It was one of a handful of Triangle theatres that booked the film’s original “X” rating to capacity crowds.
Francis Ford Coppula’s THE GODFATHER was one of two Triangle area theatres that booked the film’s original opening on March 22,1972 when the Yorktowne Theatre was a 780 seat single screen cinema.
“THE GODFATHER PART II” also played here as well as
“CHINATOWN”, “LADY SINGS THE BLUES”, “LENNY”
The Yorktowne Theatre also played first-run on July 1, 1977 the original STAR WARS movie not to mention had the privilege to booked on December 7, 1979 the original STAR TREK movie.
The Chapel Hill run of WEST SIDE STORY was a general release that played first-run at the Varsity Theatre for two weeks running from January 3, 1963 until January 17, 1963.(Source:The Chapel Hill Public Library Archives and the Wilson Library Microfilm Section at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
The Dilworth Theatre in Charlotte on June 21, 1962 was the only Exclusive Engagement Showing within both North and South Carolina where WEST SIDE STORY played first-run. Other cities within the Carolinas didn’t get the film until July or August of 1962(Durham, Asheville,
Greensboro and Winston-Salem didn’t get WEST SIDE STORY until mid-October of 1962,while Chapel Hill didn’t get WEST SIDE STORY until early January of 1963.
In North Carolina:
Only Exclusive Engagement in the Carolinas where WEST SIDE STORY played first-run was at the Dilworth Theatre in Charlotte on June 21, 1962. It was NOT a roadshow presentation.
The rest were general releases in order:
Asheville: Plaza (7-6-1962)
Durham: Carolina (7-18-1962)
Raleigh: State (7-20-1962)
Fayetteville: Carolina (7-25-1962)
Wilmington: Bailey (8-1962)
Greensboro: Center (10-1962)
Winston-Salem: Winston (10-1962)
Chapel Hill: Varsity (1-3-1963)
**These are just the large cities within North Carolina,and not the small town venues.
You said that Michael Coate’s comment was posted on October 19,2011. I don’t see it anywhere and was isn’t on here?
I typed in the website and its telling me that it doesn’t exist.
October 18, 1961 was the original opening release that was only shown in select cinemas when it first opened as reserved seat engagements(New York, Los Angeles were the roadshow openings).
COMING SOON TO CINEMA TREASURES:
There will be a complete listing of the film’s original roadshow engagement bookings as well as where the film was showed first-run. October 18 will mark the film’s golden anniversary. Not to mention additional information about film and its cast.
A lot of great movies played at the Terrace.
George Lucas' STAR WARS played here when it was still a single screen operation in 1977. Other movies like
“Close Encounters”,and “E.T.” also played here when it was still just a single screen theatre. It wasn’t twinned until the mid-to-late 1980’s(this will be updated!).
I have the ads for the showing of WEST SIDE STORY at the Dilworth Theatre in June of 1962. I also had the pleasure of finding the ads for the roadshow engagement of CLEOPATRA too. I will post them later.