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“Jaws” was one of two Triangle area theatres that booked the film’s original opening on June 20,1975.
The Yorktowne was still a single screen theatre when “Jaws” officially opened. The original auditorium where it played had a seating capacity of over 800 that included a super widescreen that was capable of showing both 35mm and 70mm films. However,the opening weekend showings brought in record capacity crowds which had it showing at the Yorktowne for 26 weeks.
At the time “Jaws” opened,the second auditorium was under construction and basically almost completed for its 325 seat auditorium for the Yorktowne II’s official opening in late June of 1975 for the opening of “French Connection II”. The only problem the Yorktowne had was the availability for parking which was limited for the cinema’s lot and around back but for additional parking you had to go across to used the parking lot over at the Hutton Building and from there had to walk across the street to the theatre.
Great movie theatre,but had a serious problem with parking there
There was also a African-American drive-in theatre located on either Cheek Road or Fayetteville Street that cater to black audiences during the 1940’s and 1950’s that is not listed on this site. During the 1940’s,the 1950’s and part of the early to mid 1960’s,several theatres in Durham were segregated,and most of the theatres along Pettigrew Street and in other section of the city catered to blacks.
All that changed in 1963,when Durham integrated all theatres and businesses.
The Village Theatre remained a single screen cinema until 1975. On June 20,1975,the Cameron Village Theatres were twinned with the original 750 seat auditorium still intact,and adding another side that expanded the seating to over 900.
The opening of Steven Spielburg’s 1975 blockbuster “Jaws” was the featured opener for the Village Twin that opened to capacity crowds in Screen 1. Screen 2 played a Disney flick “Escape To Witch Mountain” that lasted one week before it booked another flick “The Other Side Of The Mountain” a week later. “Jaws” however was the potential sell-out and crowd pleaser each week where it played at the Village for 26 weeks.
The Northgate Theatre was twinned on June 12, 1975 with the opening features “The Other Side of the Mountain”,and the family feature “Pippi Goes On Board”.
It was owned and operated by Fuqua Theatres Group,which was a subsidiary of Consolidated Theatres before Martin Theatres took over operations in early 1976.
“Home Alone” also played here on two screens in December of 1990. Reason? The lines were snaked around the mall opposite near the J.C. Penney department store,and the way the auditoriums were designed it wasn’t enough to hold the capacity crowds. One auditorium was about the size of school classroom with the screen that was barely to see the entire film which sucked not to mention once all the seats were full,it had to be standing room only due to the capacity space. It was no wonder The South Square Mall Cinemas was the WORST movie theatre in Durham.
Soon to be reopened as the Anson/Wadesboro Community Theatre,formerly the Ansonia Theatre.
By the late 1960’s,and throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s,and into the 1990’s,there were only three movie theatres in Rockingham:
-The Strand Theatre(Downtown on East Washington Street-closed in the late-1960’s or early 1970’s,and was reopened as the Richmond Community Theatre
-Cinema 1 & 2(Richmond Plaza Shopping Center)
-Plaza Twin(Broad Street Shopping Center-Closed/Demolished)
-Rockingham Drive-In Theatre(aka The Highway 74 Drive-In Theatre)which is not listed on cinema treasures,but it was very popular during the 1950’s through the 1970’s,before it was closed forever in the early 1980’s,which has been demolished and clear in the mid-80’s for a car dealership and a seafood restaurant where the Rockingham drive-in theatre once stood.
The cinema sat on top of a hill facing North Roxboro Road.
The Riverview Cinema showed adult films/blaxploitation/and kung-fu flicks as a single screen theatre until 1986 when the original auditorium was split down the middle,thanks to the technique that made it into a twin cinema by 1986. By 1986,in Durham County if you wanted to see adult films in a theatre,you had no choice but go to the local drive-in theatres that catered it.
The name was changed to the Riverview Twin,which catered to showing second-run films and independent features not to mention exclusive enagements at discount prices that lasted until 1995. While in operation as a twin cinema,the Riverview showed first-run exclusives of several films in the Triangle,the last feature to play at The Riverview Twin Cinema was the Spike Lee flick “Drop Squad” starring Eric LaSalle.
1969-1973: Wilby-Kincey Corporation
1973-1976: ABC Southeastern Theatres
1976-1987: Plitt Southern Theatres
1987-1992: Cineplex Odeon Corporation
1992-1999: Carmike Cinemas
I worship this site…..I’ve been a huge fan of cinema treasures since 2007.
Oh yeah, I forgot “Monster’s Ball” that came out in 2002. The movie to gave Halle Berry the Oscar that year for Best Actress. Halle Berry made history that year becoming the first African-American female to win the Oscar for Best Actress.
“Training Day”, “The Hurricane”-Denzel Washington
“The Pursuit of Happiness”-Will Smith
“Kill Bill:Chapters I and II” from Quentin Tarantino
"Mr. and Mrs. Smith”
Best movie of the decade? THE DARK KNIGHT
"Star Wars-Episode III:Revenge of the Sith"
"Star Trek” (2009)
"Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull"
"The entire Spider-Man trilogy"
"Million Dollar Baby"
"Dreamgirls”-Beyonce made have been the star,but it was Jennifer Hudson that stole the show and the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
“The Last King of Scotland"
"There Will Be Blood"
"No Country For Old Men"
"Gone Baby Gone"
"The Lord of the Rings” trilogy
“King Kong” (2005)
“Munich” (Steven Spielburg)
“Letter from my Fathers” (Clint Eastwood)
“The Hurt Locker"
"The Polar Express"
"Disney’s A Christmas Carol"
"The Princess and the Frog"
From the previous comment:
“Lots of shopping centers around here now occupy Drive-In land. However,most of the shopping centers were built on these old drive-in spots today sit empty and falling apart,much like the drive-in’s they replaced”.
For one,here in Durham,the Starlite Drive-In Theatre off Club Blvd.
was built during the mid-1940’s and was one of the most popular drive-in theatres in town. It was second to another cherish Durham drive-in landmark,the Carolina-Duke drive-in(Off Chapel Hill Blvd.),and the Forest Drive-In(off Wake Forest Highway),and the Midway Drive-In(off Hillsborough Road between US 70 and I-85). By the late 1970’s through the early 1990’s,the Starlite survived thanks due to a reopening that occured during the late 1990’s and remained that way until its closing in 2007,under new management.
When they built that Super Wal-Mart where the entrance was,it marked the end of era in Durham. The Starlite was the last of the dinosaur drive-in theatres that were in operation throughout the surrounding Triangle area. The same can be said,about the South Square area,which opened in 1975 as one of the largest indoor shopping centers in Durham. All that change when Southpoint opened in 2002,and South Square was demolished,change the landscape of an area of land which was at one time,part of a drive-in theatre during the 1950’s(The Hope Valley Drive-In,which is not listed on the Cinema Treasures site)before it was erected into a huge shopping mall. Nowadays,the area once known as South Square is now a huge strip mall stretching from Shannon Road all the way to Westgate Drive and University Drive(which is anchored by a Super Target and a Sam’s Club Warehouse).
This will make an interesting sight for some of the Wilmington’s movie houses,not to mention some of the area drive-in’s that operated within Wilmington and greater New Hanover County.
Beats driving to Charlotte or Concord or even Salisbury to see movies. Our Town Cinemas will serve the communities of Davidson and nearby Davidson College.
When it opened in December of 1966,the Center was one of several movie theatres owned and operated under the Wilby-Kincey banner until the 1970’s when it was acquired by ABC Southeastern Theatres,and later on by Plitt Theatres Group and finally Cineplex Odeon Corporation. Carmike Cinemas was the last chain to operate the Center until its closing in 2001.
Speaking of the Superhero movies of the decade…..I’m surprised that G.I. JOE and TRANSFORMERS aren’t on the list……And coming soon……“Wonder Woman”, “Captain America”,“Thor”,not to mention Hanna-Barbera toons of the 60’s and 70’s turned into live-action motion pictures: “The Herculoids”,along with “Jonny Quest”,and “Space Ghost” are coming to a big screen near you!
COMING: “Thundercats”, “M.A.S.K.”, “He-Man And The Masters of the Universe”,and the live-action version of “Thundarr The Barbarian”.
Two of the biggest science fiction films were released in 1979:
THE ORIGINAL STAR TREK MOVIE (12-08-1979)
DISNEY’S THE BLACK HOLE (12-14-79)
In North Carolina…the movie was showed on widescreen in various theatres:
Imperial Theatres I-II-III-IV
Carolina Blue and White Theatres
Yorktowne Theatres I & II
Town and Country Theatres I & II
A lot of adult films played here at the Riverview Cinema,when it was a single screen theatre…..
“The Devil In Miss Jones”,and a XXX-rated movie called “Lilah” ran for a limited enagement during its run at the Riverview Cinema.
Most of the adult films would be offered as part of the theatre’s Businessmen’s Lunch Special and during its Midnight Showings under tight security during the 1970’s and early 1980’s when it was just a single screen cinema.
All of that change in 1986,when the Riverview Cinema was converted into a twin theatre.
The last picture show that played at the Riverview Cinema when it was a single screen theatre back in 1986 was an Eddie Murphy flick called “The Golden Child”,and for the midnight show was an adult flick starring either Seka or Annette Haven that was under tight security. After that,it was twinned until its closing in 1995.
Other theatre chains like some of these independent art houses sell alcoholic beverages to those under 18 years of age. But the prices these days…….outrageous in some of these megaplexes!!! A popcorn and drink is at $6.00 and a small thing of candy is around $4.00???
Its no wonder that you paid over $10.00 for the movie and another $8.00 for concessions. No wonder people are sneaking in their own food. At one time,folks were sneaking in bags of Kentucky Fried Chicken and Hamburgers from the local Hardees. They still do at the local drive-in.
By the way,if AMC and Regal are banning outside food from theatres,other megaplex chains like Carmike and Edwards Theatres are following suit. Instead of banning outside food….Let’s start banning those individuals who during a movie are texting their friends and calling folks on a cell phone….it really pisses me off when during a movie that you paid over $10 for and the person sitting next to you has a cell phone ringing during the show.
No matter how much hype this is going to be…AVATAR is not going to be the blockbuster that TITANIC was……
But you’ll never know…..probably smash boxoffice records…..opening day
In North Carolina…exclusive enagements of THE WIZARD OF OZ will opened for a limited showing in two cities on November 27, 2009.
CHARLOTTE: Ballentine Village
CHAPEL HILL: Varsity Theatre
The original STAR TREK:THE MOTION PICTURE had its World North American Premiere at the MacArthur Theatre. The film was shown in 70mm-6 Track Dobly Stereo. The premiere of this movie was in November before everyone else got to check it out nationally on December 7, 1979.
Other Premiere Enagements were in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston.