Greenbriar Mall Theatre

2841 Greenbriar Parkway SW,
Atlanta, GA 30331

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Greenbriar Mall Theatre

The Georgia Theatre Company’s Greenbriar Mall Theatre was herald as the showplace of the south when it opened on October 15, 1965 with John Wayne in “The Sons of Katie Elder”. It retained this status at least in the south Atlanta area until it was twinned in the mid-‘. The auditorium was split down the middle with what must have been a thin sheet of drywall covered by drapes. This resulted in a large theatre with two tiny screens with a horrible sound system that permeated the thin wall between the two auditoriums. It was closed in 1996.

Loews later built a Magic Johnson theatre on the mall site that J. C. Penny once occupied. Does anyone know the current status of the original theatre?

Contributed by Jack Coursey

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

raymondstewart on May 13, 2005 at 6:28 pm

Last time I was at Greenbriar it had been walled off. The last operator had it going until just before Majic opened. Remember when Georgia Theater ran it and it’s off-site sister the Westgate Triple?

StanMalone on March 2, 2006 at 11:24 am

I never saw the Greenbriar as a single screen. I occasionally worked there as a projectionist starting in 1983 until about 1987. Even as a twin I could see how magnificent it must have been. As for the possibility of twinning by enclosing the mezzanine, it was probably too wide and shallow to be used as an auditorium. I have seen the balcony theatre Lefont put in the Plaza, and while much narrower it is still a pretty pathetic venue. Then there is the problem of the booth. Lefont used the original booth for the balcony theatre and had to add another one at the rear of the downstairs auditorium underneath the balcony. Since the balcony at the Greenbriar did not have an overhang, this would have meant sticking out into the seating area.

The old DeMille theatre in Times Square was tripled in a way that would have worked at the Greenbriar. They divided the balcony into a twin and left a gap between them for the booth to shoot the picture onto the downstairs screen. The balcony would have been large enough for a couple of 100 – 140 seat houses, but the booth would have had to have been expanded somehow. With the exception of the North Springs, it was the smallest one I ever worked in. It was probably OK when all they had was two reel to reel projectors, but when they put two platters in between them there was no possibility of putting anything else in there.

Given the right picture the Greenbriar was still doing well into the mid 80’s. I remember Friday the 13th 3D, (where the crowd literally broke down, or was pushed through, the front doors) Purple Rain, and one of the Star Trek movies doing heavy business there. I think that if the old Georgia Theatre Company had remained independent, instead of pimping themselves out to UA, they would probably have quaded the Greenbriar sideways just as they had done with the Cobb Center. I don’t think UA had any interest in any of the GTC locations except Lenox, and the 8’s at Shannon and Southlake, so Greenbriar was gone by the early 90’s. At least UA had the sense to move the boxoffice from the kiosk which was upstairs in the mall, down to the theatre entrance.

JFBrantley on November 24, 2008 at 11:32 pm

The Magic Johnson Theater is actually outside the mall. JC Penney closed and became an Uptons, then a Burlington Coat Factory.

I remember going to the Greenbriar theater quite a bit during the 70s and early 80s. Like Stan said, it was not the same after twinning the auditorium.

hiker on January 24, 2009 at 5:16 am

well.. first, you’re a bit wrong on your dates— the Greenbriar opened in 1965 i believe… I was the first employee after the manager, Randy Haynes.

I had been working for about a year at the Westgate Cinema across Campbellton Road when Greenbriar was built, and as soon as I heard about it, I applied. I got the job as head usher and got to wear a pukey-yellowish-green colored blazer with a “Georgia Theater Company” patch on the pocket instead of an orange/yellow “monkey suit” like the rest of the ushers.

Opening night was the Atlanta premier of the John Wayne movie, “Sons of Katie Elder.”

There was still lots of leftover contruction material around, and I managed to “liberate” enough of the orange leopard-spotted carpet to carpet my ‘55 chevvy with it!

And yes, it was magnificient as a large single-screen!

Smoking in the balcony only!

I worked there for about a year until I graduated high school and left Atlanta for college at UGA.

In later years I found myself at Greenbriar Mall again, after it had started it’s decline, but kept myself from going downstairs to visit the theater… i preferred to remember it from its better times.

stefankatlanta on January 2, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Heres some more old and new photos.
View link

rivest266 on April 14, 2018 at 11:01 pm

This opened on October 15th, 1965 and closed in 1996. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

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