3110 Roswell Road NW,
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Buckhead Theatre (Official)
Previously operated by: Affiliated Theatres, Cinema 'N' Drafthouse, McLendon Theaters, Weis Theatres
Architects: Russell L. Beutell, Sydney S. Daniell
Firms: Daniell & Beutell
Functions: Concerts, Special Events
Styles: Spanish Baroque
Previous Names: Capri Theatre, Cinema 'N' Drafthouse, Coca-Cola Roxy Theatre, Roxy Theatre
Originally opened as the Buckhead Theatre on June 2, 1930 with Nancy Welford in “Gold Diggers of Broadway”. Seating was provided for 800 in the orchestra and 256 in the balcony. It was later operated by Affiliated Theaters, a subsidiary of McLendon Theatres as a second run neighborhood theatre.
On June 29, 1962 it was renamed Capri Theatre after it and the nearby Fine Art Theatre were taken over by Ruth and John Carter under the moniker Carter Theaters. The interior was renovated, seats replaced and it reopened with a new policy of showing first-run event movies with longer runs than the first-run theatres downtown, such as “El Cid” and “Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines”. In the late-1960’s the Carters sold both locations to the Weis Company out of Savannah. This marked the entry of Weis into Atlanta and for the next ten years they were a major player in the first-run market with these locations to be added to the chain:Broadview Theatre, Weis Cinema (the old Peachtree Art), Peachtree Battle (the old Peachtree Battle Mini Cinema), and the Broadview II Theatre. The last big unqualified hit to play the Buckhurst Theatre was “The Godfather” in 1972. Thanks to aggressive blind bidding Weis continued to draw large crowds here with movies like “Papillion” and “Earthquake” but given the big ‘up front’ advances, they were only modestly profitable and certainly not enough to cover the losses of such monumental flops such as “Gable and Lombard”, “Lost Horizon” & “Seven Percent Solution”.
After Weis left town the Capri Theatre name was dropped in favor of Cinema Gallery when George Ellis briefly moved his Film Forum operation here before moving on to the smaller Fine Art Theatre. For a brief period this became a live performance venue before being acquired in 1980 by James Duffy. This location finished out its days as a regular movie theatre as one of the dollar house Cinema ‘N’ Drafthouse locations. After that it was converted into a live performance center under the name Coca Cola Roxy before returning to its original Buckhead Theatre identifier.
The Roxy Theatre was closed in 2009. By spring 2013 it had reopened as the Buckhead Theatre presenting concerts and special events.
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Recent comments (view all 38 comments)
This reopened as the Capri theatre on June 29th, 1962. Grand opening ad in the photo section.
Closed as Capri in 1977. More to come.
This reopened as the Buckhead Cinema ‘N’ Drafthouse on July 18th, 1980. Small ad posted.
Stan Malone, you’re right about the extended runs at the Capri. I think they often used the term “road show” for those extended runs. The Capri had numbered seats … and I think some of these “road shows” were possibly reserved seats.
“The Taming of The Shrew” with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor was a 1967 run. I reached a point where I was repeating dialogue from “Shrew” and “To Sir, With Love” after seeing them so often. I also worked some shifts at The Fine Art in ‘67 while “A Man For All Seasons” (6 Oscars including Best Picture, Director and Actor) was playing.
I remember riding the bus from Hapeville to Buckhead to see movies when this was the Capri. The first movie I saw here was “Funny Girl.” I remember seeing “Earthquake” and “Roller Coaster,” both in Senserround. “Roller Coaster” was the last movie to play at the Capri.
LOST HORIZON played for quite a while at the Capri. I remember the big lit up marquee for it. I wonder if anyone took pictures of the Capri’s marquees back then. I would love to see it.
Why wasn’t the Capri part of the first run showplaces of the 1970s? It was in the heart of Buckhead and would have been ideal for big screen epics. Don’t recall their ever being a 70mm film being presented there. There was also talk of “twining” it just before it morphed into the Cinema & Drafthouse.
To the contrary, from the years 1968-1977 the Capri was one of if not THE top presenter of first run films in Atlanta. Of course no theater can get all of the hits, but for those years the Capri had more than any other. Every Christmas and summer you could count on the Capri to offer a big, highly anticipated movie. Because these bookings required big, upfront advances that required runs often exceeding four or five months it may have seemed like this was not a consistently major player, but it was. Among those attractions were Funny Girl, To Sir With Love, Out of Towners, Love Story, The Godfather, Poseidon Adventure, Pappion, Earthquake, and others that could certainly be described as showcase attractions. Even when not showing what is now referred to as tent pole movies, the bookings were strong with such as New Centurions, Oklahoma Crude, Dollars, and If.
There seems to be some sort of misconception that if a film was not presented in 70MM, assuming that it was even available in that format, then it was not a prestigious booking. If that were true then Atlanta was a cinema backwater as there were comparatively few 70MM engagements in that period. Such 70MM worthy movies as Fiddler on the Roof, Camelot, Lion In Winter, Thoroughly Modern Milly, That’s Entertainment, Ryan’s Daughter, Patton, Scrooge, Deliverance, Rollerball, Star Wars, and Funny Lady just to name a few played in 70MM equipped theaters for the most part but were run in 35mm usually 35mm mono. The fact that in those days many of the big theaters still had union contracts that called for two projectionists or time and a half pay for one on 70MM presentations gave theater owners little incentive to run a 70MM print even if one were available. It was not until 1978 when the Fox Theater reopened with its summer movie series using the 70/35mm projectors purchased from the Loews Grand that most of the 70MM releases from this era were finally shown in that format in Atlanta.
As for the Capri, that is a moot point as it never had 70MM equipment anyway. While none of its lengthy list of “showcase” worthy hits, or a shorter list of failures like Gable and Lombard or Lost Horizon ran in 70MM that did not mean that it was not a major player in the first run movie business of those years.
I agree with Stan Malone. The Capri was a first-run theater in the 70s. 70mm, like Cinerama, was rare. The number of screens became more important as multiplex theaters grew. With multiple screens and staggered showtimes, management could keep staff busy. Theaters like single-screen Phipps Plaza, were split into two screens. With competition from quality, home-theater systems, streaming options, and hybrid releases (theater/streaming), what draws moviegoers to theaters? … Marvel Universe, Avatar, Top Gun: Maverick, etc.?
I sit corrected! I do recall seeing the Out of Towner’s playing there. I guess what threw me off was never having to wait in a long line to get tickets as was the case at Phipps and Lenox. So glad that the Buckhead and the Marietta Strand have so far missed the wreaking ball.