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Saw this when it was released on July 5, 1985 in Durham, North Carolina. However,it played on the other side on town at Northgate Mall at the Northgate Twin Theatres. The opening night this film played was sold out to capacity crowds that went to see it where the lines snaked from the side of Sears Department Store all the way towards the inside part of the mall all the way towards Roses Discount Store. “Back To The Future” came out when Michael J. Fox was at the peak of his career when at the time he was a bonafide TV star playing Alex Keaton on the 1980’s television series Family Ties.
Not to mention this film had one of the biggest hits of 1985…who remembers that theme song from Huey Lewis and the News Grammy winning song “Going Back In Time”…………….
“BACK TO THE FUTURE”-Played in Screen One
The other monster hit of 1985? “RAMBO:FIRST BLOOD PART II”-On Screen Two that also played at the Northgate to capacity crowds.
I saw an ad featured the Ritz Theatre in Wilmington showing “Carmen Jones”,and it was basically the only theatre in Wilmington and all of New Hanover County that showed this feature to African-American audiences. Other movies that played here were basically catered to black audiences when no other theatres in Wilmington would booked them……at the time the Downtown Wilmington theatres like the Bailey,the Manor,and the Colony were segregated.
The Ritz also played “Porgy and Bess”,“The World,The Flesh and the Devil”,“Sargeant Rutledge”,and “Nothing But A Man”,not to mention “Black Like Me” to name a few.
Was that the animated Disney feature ROBIN HOOD that was the opening attraction at the Merrimon in 1973? Showing in two auditoriums?
Isn’t Fayetteville Georgia part of suburban Atlanta?
I heard there were two drive-in theatres in Atlanta:
Was the Highway 85 Drive-In Theatre
The other was the I-85 North Twin Drive-In Theatre near Gwinnett.
1985…the summer of some great movies playing on 2 screens at the Northgate Twin Theatres at Northgate Mall in Durham.
Screen 1: “BACK TO THE FUTURE"
Screen 2: "RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II”
WHO REMEMBERS….. seeing in long lines and capacity crowds…..
“Superman:The Movie”, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, “Star Trek II”,
“Saturday Night Fever”, “E.T.”, and all of the Disney releases playing at this theatre?
In NORTH CAROLINA: The Raleigh-Durham area………….
“SUDDEN IMPACT” played at these theatres
Raleigh: Mission Valley (Litchfeld Theatres)
Durham: Center I-II-III (Plitt)
Chapel Hill: Village Plaza I-II-III (Eastern Federal)
“SCARFACE” played at these theatres when it was released in December,1983.
Raleigh: Cardinal Theatres I & II (Plitt)
Durham: Northgate Twin Theatres (Carmike)
Chapel Hill: Carolina Blue and White Theatres (Plitt)
**SCARFACE when it ended its run in mid-January of 1984 in Durham continously played until April of that year at the Riverview Cinema.
Steven Spielburg’s 1975 hit JAWS played at the Green Hills Theatre during its official run enagement on June 20, 1975.
Was this called Asheville Mall 1 & 2 aka Mall 1 & 2 Theatres at Asheville Mall?
JAWS was one of the several theatres in North Carolina that released the film during its initial release on June 20, 1975.
It did played here at the Tryon Mall Cinema when it a twin theatre.
It was however re-released later on that year at either the Capri or the Park Terrace or maybe the Charlottetown in late-1975 or early-1976.
Again Michael,great article.
I remember seeing JAWS about three weeks into its first-run at the Yorktowne Theatre in Durham in June of 1975. I do remember that the theatre had a 7:00 evening show and it was on a Sunday night,and it was sold-out within the first twenty minutes. The lines snaked all the way around the cinema(which at the time was still a single screen theatre with a seating capacity of 800)since the parking lot was already full…folks had to either park in the lot of the Hutton Building at the corner of Bedford Street and Chapel Hill Boulevard or some folks just parked their cars alongside Chapel Hill Boulevard which stretch from on end of the street to the other. Some folks like my parents had to park in the Shrimp Boats parking lot and take a risk crossing a dangerous street like Chapel Hill Boulevard to get to the theatre[Parking has always been a problem at this theatre too]
The 7:00 evening show was sold-out and every seat was packed to capacity including some folks who had to stand in the aisle or alongside the curtains of the auditorium or sit on the floor because there was no more seats available which was a problem for those who brought tickets earlier on. I mean capacity crowds for a Sunday evening show. The place went nuts during the boat sequence with Roy Scheider,Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss facing the sheer terror of the shark. In all a great movie,but where this played at was even bigger than the management of the Yorktowne even thought of.
JAWS played at the Yorktowne for a mere 21 weeks from June through mid-September of 1975,and it for the first two months it played to capacity crowds. However,construction was already started on the second auditorium too that opened in mid-June of 1975 for the showing of FRENCH CONNECTION II that had a 545 seat capacity to even boost bigger business for both films.
Great article,Michael. You have outdone yourself again this time around. Glad that you mentioned the theatres in North Carolina.
JAWS here in North Carolina only played in selected cities during its initial opening run on June 20,1975(Raleigh,Durham,Greensboro,
Other cities didn’t get it until July of 1975 or later till August.
Chapel Hill: Carolina Theatre
Burlington: Terrace 1 & 2
Southern Pines/Aberdeen: Town and Country 1 & 2
Jacksonville: Cardinal Theatre
Rockingham: Cinema 1 & 2 aka Richmond Plaza Cinema
Henderson: Embassy Theatre
Roxboro: Person Drive-In Theatre
Dunn: Plaza 1 & 2
Other cities in North Carolina didn’t get the film until late that year somewhere between September of October of 1975 and into early 1976.
A Walgreens Drug Store opened in 2009 that was put in the original building where the Carolina Theatre used to be. The same location was also a retail store The Gap which closed in mid-2007.
The Ram Theatres closed in 2000 as a discount theatre.
It was transformed into a nightclub in 2002 and that closed in 2008. The building where the Ram was located and the nightclub used to be is now vacant or someone else has brought the property.
It was the only movie theatre in the town that specialize in a variety of films,some short subjects,documentaries,independent and foreign films from different cultures and genres and showings of classic films.
There are only 4 movie theatres in Chapel Hill:
The Lumina(In Southern Village off Highway 15-501 on the Southern end of Chapel Hill just before the entrance toward the Chatham-Orange County Line which is a five-screen theatre that shows mainstream films and some independent features)
The Movies at Timberlyne(Located on the Northern end of Chapel Hill at Timberlyne Village off Weaver Dairy Road that is a six-screen cinema that showcases mainstream films and family features of interest. Owned and Operated by Regal Cinemas which was formerly part of Charlotte-based Eastern Federal Corporation[that also operated the now closed/demolished Village Plaza Theatres]).
The Chelsea(Also located in Timberlyne Village off Weaver Dairy Road is a three-screen cinema that showcases independent and foreign films and mainstream features).
The Varsity(is the only movie theatre that remains in Downtown Chapel Hill on Franklin Street that now operates as a discount theatre showing film classics and second run features. It was at one time showing foreign films and independent features before it closed in June of 2009 and reopened later that year.
At one time there were three movie theatres in Downtown Chapel Hill:
-The Carolina Theatre [closed in 2005]
-The Ram Triple Theatres [closed in 2000 as a discount theatre]
-The Varsity Theatre[the only movie theatre still in operation]
Is the Universal City Cinemas still opened? I heard it is the largest megaplex theatre in the United States.
“2001” was re-released numerous times during the late 1960’s and throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s.
I saw it once when it was re-released as a exclusive enagement showing at the LAKEWOOD CENTER THEATRE in Durham,where it was presented on the large screen in 70MM-Six Track Stereophonic Sound.
It blew my mind away!
The Booker-T Theatre and the Regal Theatre were the only two moviehouses during that catered to African-Americans in Durham.
There was also,which is not listed in Cinema Treasures a drive-in theatre that also was owned by Bijou Amusements that catered to African-Americans too(which was the one of two drive-in theatres in Durham that welcomed African-Americans between the 1930’s until the early to mid-1960’s)
This will be corrected….The South Square Mall Cinemas opened officially on December 26, 1975 and it was Durham’s first-ever multiplex theatre located in Durham’s largest indoor shopping center off Chapel Hill Boulevard.
PATTON when it played at the CENTER II was presented as a roadshow enagement as was presented in 70MM-Six Track Stereophonic Sound during its release. However,it was re-released too. The CENTER also re-released other roadshow enagements like “My Fair Lady”,and “2001: A Space Odyssey”(presented in 70MM as a Durham-Chapel Hill Area Exclusive),“The Sound of Music”,“Doctor Zhivago”,and “Hello Dolly”.
It also presented other films that the CENTER show when it played as roadshow enagements as well. The World War II film “TORA! TORA! TORA!” was given the full roadshow treatment where it played for three weeks,both as an original and as a re-released. In the 1971 advertisement of the Durham Morning Herald,it was presented as a North Carolina exclusive in 70MM and Full 6-Track Stereophonic Sound with the advertisement stating..“70-MM Makes You Believe You Are There!” The roadshow treatment was given with reserved seating and three shows daily with special admission prices.
Also to point out as well….When DIRTY HARRY played at the CENTER II
during its original release on December 24, 1971, it was given also the roadshow enagement treatment and also as a exclusive enagement.
The exact location of the drive-in theatre was on Highway 64 West where the road splits. Highway 64 West and I think the road that goes into the business district is where the theatre was located and it would be to your immediate left facing U.S. 64 West. And it is before you reach the intersection where Highway 64 and Old U.S. 421
(basically,the U.S. 421 Business,which was the old 421 highway that goes into the business district of Siler City)meet and it would be still within the city limits.
Highway 64 West towards Ramseur you may have pass it. Ramseur is the next town that is right on the Chatham-Randolph County Line just a good 12 miles from Siler City. Go too far you’re end up in Asheboro and near the North Carolina Zoological Park.
I saw THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK in Durham on June 18, 1980 where it played at Durham’s Lakewood Center I & II. On opening day,the lines were snaked up and around the shopping center and folks were in line to crowd capacity around 10AM for the Noon show,and tickets were sold FAST within the first half-hour since the boxoffice didn’t open until 11:30AM that morning. It played in the biggest auditorium that had a 800 seat capacity where every seat was filled and seeing it on the huge widescreen was incredible and in DOBLY STEREO.
The Center Theatre in Durham was the only cinema in Durham that played both THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and THE RETURN OF THE JEDI,on the same huge auditorium!!!
I saw JEDI with several of my buddies during senior skip day when I was in high school and when we got there for the 11:30AM show,the lines were snaked around the theatre and also snaked all the way up the shopping center from the Kroger Grocer that is right next to the cinema all the way towards Kerr Drugs.
“The Empire Strikes Back” also played in theatres that had the widescreen but was shown in 35MM format and in Dobly Stereo. The theatres that shown it in the Durham and Chapel Hill Area & as far as Wilmington.
Center 1 & 2-(Plitt Southern Theatres)[Released On May 21, 1980]
Village Plaza I-II-III-(Eastern Federal)[DOBLY STEREO][June,1980]
Terrace 1 & 2-(Plitt Southern Theatres)
Plaza 1 & 2-(Martin Theatres)
Oleander Theatres I-II-III-(Stewart and Everett)–[DOBLY STEREO]
Henderson Mall Cinema-(Martin Theatres)
Town and Country Cinema 1 & 2-(Stewart and Everett)–[DOBLY STEREO]
The official opening of the Movies 1-2-3 was on October 3, 1975.
The opening attractions were:
Screen One: “The Master Gunfighter” starring Tom Laughlin
Screen Two: “Give'em Hell Harry” with James Whitmore/Robert Vaughn
Screen Three: “Bugs Bunny:Superstar”, an animated cartoon feature
The Coming Attractions that came to the Movies 1-2-3 were
“Three Days of The Condor”, “Mahogany”, “Cooley High”,
“Take a Hard Ride”,and a adult X-rated feature title “Fossie”
Carmike 7 sat in the haven of Northern Durham known as Bluefield and nearby Braggtown and Oxford Commons. Just off I-85 and Avondale Drive.
This theatre was also a haven for crime activity too.
Especially for that side of town as well,where police force were constantly hanging around the theatre to see if any suspicious activity was about to happen and usually it does. The Carmike 7 was also the scene of numerous indications with large crowds(mostly teenagers and rival street gangs)that were mostly a problem during the weekend showings of films. I attended a screening of “Menace II Society” one evening at the Carmike 7,when a brawl broke out during the movie with a capacity crowd in the larger auditorium. Cops were called to brake up the melee.
Sometimes you had to watch your back at this theatre since you’re going to see a movie on that section of town,never knowing what may happen and the unexpected does. The same incident also occured during a screening of “State Property” too. A lot of black oriented movies played here at the Carmike 7 when no one else didn’t want to show them.
The theatre opened in mid-1971 as a single screen theatre. This will be upgraded later.