Carmike Willowdaile Cinema 8

1501 Horton Road,
Durham, NC 27705

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Showing 21 comments

Lundjr on October 25, 2014 at 8:26 am

I don’t remember. But I do know the biggest auditorium was 300.

Chris1982 on October 23, 2014 at 1:33 am

Lund, do you recall what the total seating was for the theatre?

Lundjr on October 22, 2014 at 6:50 pm

The Willowdaile didn’t have a auditorium that would seat 500. The biggest auditorium it had was 300. I managed the theatre for 1.5 years.

raysson on February 11, 2014 at 1:15 pm

“TROIS” starred Blair Underwood and Kenya Moore.

“THE WHITE GIRL” was filmed on location in Durham and surrounding areas that was directed by media correspondent and talk show host Tony Brown. The film starred Troy Beyer and Tony Terry. Christopher Williams made his movie debut in this film(a year before New Jack City)..the world premiere was at Durham’s Willowdaile Cinema in 1990.

Also played here first-run at Willowdaile Cinemas….





and so much more……

raysson on October 16, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Mike and Chuck1231: I was THERE when the Willowdaile Cinema had the exclusive engagement showings of “TROIS” and the only showing in the Carolinas for Tony Brown’s “THE WHITE GIRL”. These were the type of movies that brought in HUGE black audiences!

raysson on July 24, 2012 at 7:25 am

Not only did THE GOLDEN CHILD played on two screens at the Willowdaile,but it also did BIG BUSINESS playing in it’s largest auditorium in DOBLY STEREO with a seating capacity of 500. It made have been a flop,but anything with Eddie Murphy drew in huge crowds on December 12, 1986.


“Beverly Hills Cop II”, “Beverly Hills Cop III”, “Another 48 Hours”, “Hook”, “Rocky IV”, “Rocky V”, “The Polar Express”, “All the James Bond 007 films with Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan played here from "The Living Daylights” to “Die Another Day”. “Home Alone II”, and more………

Durhamites: What were your best memories of going to the Willowdaile Cinema and what was your favorite?

raysson on July 24, 2012 at 7:19 am

THE OPENING ATTRACTIONS FOR THE WILLOWDAILE CINEMAS: From it’s grand opening on December 12, 1986.

-Showing on Two Screens: Chevy Chase and Dan Ackroyd
with Martin Short starring in “THE THREE AMIGOS”

-Showing on Two Screens: Eddie Murphy in DOBLY STEREO starring in “THE GOLDEN CHILD”

“JUMPIN JACK FLASH”-Whoopi Goldberg


“HEARTBREAK RIDGE”– Clint Eastwood

“TOP GUN”-Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer

“NOTHING IN COMMON”-Tom Hanks and Jackie Gleason


“STAR TREK IV”-William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy

“ENEMY MINE”– Louis Gossett,Jr. and Dennis Quaid


raysson on July 24, 2012 at 7:11 am

Mike, The Willowdaile Cinema 8 was located on the Northern end of the city at the corner of Guess and Horton Roads,and it was the first multiplex theatre operating under Carmike Cinemas. The theatre was in operation from 1986 until 2005(spanning 19 years). This theatre got the first-run blockbusters and it was also the first to show exclusive engagements not to mention this theatre got to show in 1990 the first-ever “NC-17” flick “Henry and June” to play at this theatre. It also got the exclusive engagement showing to several films that made there world premiere showings ever in North Carolina at the Willowdaile…..Tony Brown’s “The White Girl” played here first-run as well as the erotic thriller “Trois”. Other movies that were crowd pleasers..“School Daze”, “Toy Story”, “Home Alone”, “Titanic”, “Coming To America”, “Lethal Weapons II, III, IV”, “Die Hard I”, “Die Hard II”, “Die Hard III”, “Spider-Man”, “X-Men”, “Star Wars:The Phantom Menace”, “Attack of the Clones”, “Toy Story II”, “The Passion of the Christ”,and many more. The theatre closed on June 2, 2005 after more than 19 years and was demolished in early 2006 to make room for a 52,000 square foot Harris Teeter grocer that opened in November of 2009 where the movie theatre once stood.

raysson on June 27, 2012 at 12:14 pm

The Willowdaile Cinema 8 closed its doors forever on June 2, 2005. It was demolished to make room for a super 52,000 square foot Harris Teeter grocer that opened in mid-2009 where the cinema once stood in North Durham.

raysson on June 18, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Mike Rogers, The Willowdaile Cinemas opened to the public on December 12, 1986 and it became Durham’s second multiplex theatre since the opening of the South Square Mall Cinemas in December of 1975. The opening attractions were “The Three Amigos”,but the crowds really showed up for the screening of “The Golden Child” starring Eddie Murphy for it’s official opening playing in the largest auditorium with a seaing capacity of 500 and with full Dobly Stereo Sound.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 7, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Thanks raysson you always have informative info.

raysson on April 5, 2012 at 6:05 pm

I have the original ads for this theatre. It originally opened in 1986 not 1985.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 16, 2010 at 4:26 pm

That makes sense cause in Augusta our first Twin hit in 1973 and i knew that area was larger, guess i misread it,Thanks raysson.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 16, 2010 at 4:06 pm

I find it hard to believe that the WILLOWDAILE was the first ever mutiplex to open in the city the size of Durham/Raliegh in 1985.That above statement about 1985 being the year the first muliplex hit that rather large area is hard to believe,but maybe this area liked single screens ,which by the way ain’t a bad thing!

raysson on February 24, 2009 at 1:38 pm

I recall seeing the lines stretched from the parking lot all the way toward Horton Road when “Home Alone” played here to record crowds. The same thing happen when “Home Alone 2” opened and broke boxoffice attendance records.

raysson on February 24, 2009 at 1:29 pm

the children’s christmas movie “The Polar Express” sold out seats for weeks at the Willowdaile when it played here in 2004 to record breaking capacity crowds.

raysson on February 24, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Other blockbusters that played here at the Willowdaile:
“Toy Story 2”,“Terminator 2:Judgment Day”,“A Time To Kill”,“Lethal Weapons 2,3,and 4”,“Die Hards 2 and 3”,
“Face-Off”,and “The English Patient” played to capacity crowds. The Willowdaile also showed the first-ever “NC-17” rated movie “Henry and June”,under tight security. Also played here were “Higher Learning”,
“Rosewood”,“Baby Boy”,and the remake of “Shaft”.

They also had another exclusive premiere here: When the movie “Trois” played here,it opened to capacity crowds. The premiere NC showing was a success…playing to packed houses every night. Tickets for this were sold out within minutes during every showing.

raysson on February 24, 2009 at 1:20 pm

A lot of great movies played here at the Willowdaile.
I too remember seeing “Die Hard” here. It sold out in minutes. But seeing this on a widescreen in Dobly Stereo sound was amazing!

The Willowdaile also had first-run exclusive enagement runs of several movies…I do recall seeing Spike Lee’s “School Daze” on opening weekend here….the lines stretched all the way back toward the parking lot…it played to capacity crowds and sold out shows every night. The other also had the premiere of Tony Brown’s unseen film “The White Girl” which was filmed on location in Durham,and had its exclusive premiere showing here at the Willowdaile 8. “Jurassic Park” and “Toy Story” had to shown on 2 screens due to the capacity crowds that snaked around the theatre.

raysson on October 16, 2008 at 12:46 pm

The Willowdaile Cinemas was one of several Durham theatres at the time(which included The Center,Carmike 7,Yorktowne,South Square Mall Cinemas 4,and the Ram Triple)that had evening shows only and matinees only on Saturday and Sunday. They also had(under Carmike Cinemas policy)matinees available on holidays.

raysson on July 15, 2008 at 10:44 am

The Willowdaile Cinemas was demolished in 2006 to make way for the construction of a 48,000 square foot Harris Teeter grocery store that is scheduled to open in late September of 2008 at the intersection of Horton and Guess Roads where the Willowdaile Cinemas once stood. The only multiplex that is still in operation that serves the Northern Durham area is the Movies at Northgate 10 which is owned and operated by Phoenix Theatres/East Coast Entertainment
that is in the Northgate Shopping Center where the former Belk’s Department Store once stood. However,the theatres that served the Northern Durham area like the Willowdaile,the Carmike 7,and the Riverview Cinema are history.

moviedawg27 on June 3, 2005 at 9:54 pm

As of last Thursday night, the Willowdaile Cinema is officially closed. The building is expected to be demolished before the end of the year.