Center Theatre 4

2000 Chapel Hill Road,
Durham, NC 27707

Unfavorite 1 person favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 37 comments

rivest266
rivest266 on November 3, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Waiting for the time capsule to open at the end of 2016.

raysson
raysson on February 28, 2013 at 6:53 pm

“THE EXORCIST” played here to capacity crowds on March 1, 1974.

“CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND” was the BIG Christmas attraction on December 16,1977.

raysson
raysson on December 13, 2012 at 2:08 pm

This theatre in its heyday played GONE WITH THE WIND numerous times during it’s re-release….I remember seeing it in 1980 to packed audiences in DOBLY STEREO

raysson
raysson on December 13, 2012 at 2:06 pm

David Lean’s LAWRENCE OF ARABIA played at the Center Theatre,aka The Lakewood Center Theatre in 1971 as a re-release.

raysson
raysson on November 12, 2012 at 10:10 pm

David Dymond:

Carmike basically had total control of all indoor moviehouses in the Durham area. This was Carmike’s decision to closed The Northgate Twin in 1985,not to mention the closing of the The Yorktowne Theatre on Chapel Hill Blvd. in 1996,and the Ram Triple in Chapel Hill in 2000.

When the Center 4 closed in 2001 only three moviehouses under Carmike Cinemas remained opened…The Carmike Cinemas 7(off Avondale Drive which closed in 2004),and the Willowdaile Cinemas 8(off Guess Road in North Durham closed in June of 2005)

In 2001,the Wynnsong Cinemas in Durham REMAINS the only Carmike operated movie theatre between Durham and Chapel Hill. And to this day is still operational.

raysson
raysson on November 7, 2012 at 7:02 pm

David Dymond: I loved and grew up going to the Center Theatre at Lakewood as a kid. I basically don’t know how many movies I saw here,but before the perceived area became a rough neighborhood,this theatre was a showpalace of great movies which had one of the largest auditoriums in the state….It was a magical place in its heyday…..It originally opened on November 24,1966(under Wilby-Kincey) as the Lakewood Center Theatre. Was twinned in 1971(under ABC Theatres) and later was triple and quad by 1983 and 1986(under Plitt Southern and Cineplex Odeon).

The theatre really went downhill during the mid-1990’s when this theatre became a discount house where you had a high level of crime activity,and became a haven for whatever came through…..I never worked there,but I saw a lot of second run movies there…..Carmike Cinemas closed it in 2001. The building is still there BTW….but I do know about that time capsule from 1966 that is on the left side of the box-office. The reason why it closed is that the building became a surplus store for Duke University which closed in 2009. Nowadays,the building has been turned from what I heard is now a strip club…a total disgrace to a once great movie palace that became the heart of Durham.

DavidDymond
DavidDymond on November 7, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Oh my beloved Center 4 Theatres!! Visited these theatres many many times in DURHAM!! Yes, the area was perceived to be rough, but never had any problems there! Outside this building, on the left hand side of the boxoffice is a time capsule from 1966, the year this theatre was built. Probably built for Wilby-Kincey, (A Paramount Theater associate), later operated by ABC. and then Plitt Southern followed by Cineplex-Odeon, maybe operated by Carmike Theaters for a while (Yeeccch!!)

raysson
raysson on November 7, 2012 at 6:22 pm

I saw THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK opening day at this theatre on June 20,1980. It was indeed a fantastic moviegoing experience with the lines snaked around the cinema. All five showings of the film were eventually sold out that whole weekend including additional late shows too(which were sold out!)…Tickets for this went on sale in advance,and you had to lucky to get one!!! The film played on its largest screen(CENTER II) with the seating capacity of 650.

Screen 1 had John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd in THE BLUES BROTHERS that on CENTER I(which was the original auditorium with the 180 degree Ultravision screen)that had the screening capacity of 800,which was one of the largest auditoriums in the Carolinas.

raysson
raysson on April 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm

I saw THE RETURN OF THE JEDI opening day at this theatre in DOBLY STEREO. It was a fantastic moviegoing experience especially those who ditched school to see it the day it opened. I was junior in high school back in 1983 when me and some buddies saw it during the 11:30am early matinee with the lines snaked around the cinema.

raysson
raysson on August 8, 2011 at 2:54 pm

A lot of great movies played here at the CENTER…. Not only did the “The Sound of Music” played here during its exclusive engagement,but films like “PATTON”,“THE FRENCH CONNECTION”,“DIRTY HARRY”,“THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK”,“THE RETURN OF THE JEDI”,“GANDHI”,“REDS”,and the re-releases of “BEN-HUR”,“MY FAIR LADY”,“LAWRENCE OF ARABIA”,and “DOCTOR ZHIVAGO” brought in record crowds.I got to see “THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE”,and “THE TOWERING INFERNO” where it played at the CENTER. A lot of blaxploitation flicks played here as well…from “COFFY”,to “SLAUGHTER”,and even “SUPER FLY” and to the others like “NEW JACK CITY”,and “BOYZ IN THE HOOD” brought in massive crowds. Its best films played during the 1970’s in its largest auditorium until the 1983,when the theatre was split down the middle giving it a really bad impression to a once great cinema showplace.

raysson
raysson on July 5, 2011 at 6:35 pm

FYI: There will a photo of this theatre posted soon. The theatre is still standing,and it looks great in its condition.

The theatre opened as a 800 seat single screen theatre on November 24, 1966(aka The Lakewood Center Theatre)

Expanded a second building in 1971 when it was a twin cinema(aka,The Center I and Center II) the second auditorium opened on October 24, 1971

Became a three screen cinema in 1983,when the original 800 seat auditorium was split down the middle,making two shoebox screens,keeping the second auditorium in tact until 1986.

The second auditorium(that was opened in 1971) was also split down the middle in 1986,making two shoebox auditoriums until its closing in 2001,after more than 35 years serving Durham and Chapel Hill.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 25, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Somehow we never played “LAWRENCE OF ARBIA” or “BEN_HUR” during my time in the business in the 70’s.We did get “RYAN’S DAUGHTER” “GWTW” “DR.ZHIVAGO” and my favorite of all time,“2001”.They all ran over three hours are darn close to it.We got the same four dang classics every year from MGM.

raysson
raysson on March 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Steven Spielburg’s THE COLOR PURPLE also played here.
But it was NOT one of the three theatres in North Carolina that showed it as an exclusive engagement showings. It did played here until January 17,1986.
The exclusive engagement showing of THE COLOR PURPLE
were in Raleigh,Charlotte and Greensboro only.

raysson
raysson on August 24, 2010 at 6:16 pm

While “My Fair Lady” played in 1971 as a re-released,the CENTER also re-released other classic films as exclusive enagements presented in 70MM. Among them “Lawrence of Arabia”,“Gone With The Wind”,“Ben-Hur”,
“Ryan’s Daughter”,and “Giant” to name a few.

raysson
raysson on August 23, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Potpie:
CENTER II’s featured attraction in October of 1971 was a James Garner flick called “Skin Game”. While CENTER I re-released “My Fair Lady”,and it was given the exclusive enagement run presented in 70MM. While “Skin Game” didn’t do well in the second auditorium,the next attraction “Billy Jack” for the CENTER II was a megahit when it played to record crowds in late-October of 1971.

Ewing
Ewing on August 21, 2010 at 8:33 pm

The second Center Theater (cleverly called the Center II) opened in the autumn of 1971.

raysson
raysson on June 1, 2010 at 6:52 pm

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.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 16, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Wouldn’t you like to see"PATTON" on that large screen today. I hate these 20 plexs!

raysson
raysson on March 16, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Also ended up as roadshow enagements at the Lakewood CENTER included
“Grand Prix”,“Far From The Madding Crowd”,and “Ice Station Zebra”,when it was a single screen theatre during the mid-1960’s.

raysson
raysson on March 16, 2010 at 3:11 pm

HISTORY:

1966-1971 Wilby Kincey

1971-1976 ABC Southeastern Theatres

1976-1988 Plitt Southern Theatres

1988-1990 Cineplex Odeon Corporation

1990-2001 Carmike Cinemas

raysson
raysson on March 16, 2010 at 3:10 pm

HISTORY:
The Lakewood Center Theatre opened on November 24,1966 as a single screen theatre with a seating capacity of 800. It remained a single screen theatre until 1970.
When it was a single screen theatre,the CENTER was the first to present exclusive roadshow enagements that included “My Fair Lady”,“The Sound of Music”,“Doctor Zhivago”,and “Battle of the Bulge”. Later would have other exclusive showings for “Camelot”,“Oliver!”,and
“Funny Girl”.

A second auditorium was constructed during the mid-1960’s and in 1970 the CENTER II opened with a seating capacity of 625 for the 12-25-1970 opening of “Patton"
starring George C. Scott and it was a Triangle roadshow enagement.

The Lakewood CENTER THEATRE also had re-released films that were shown as well during their exclusive enagements. Films re-released that played here were
“Gone With The Wind”,“The Ten Commandments”,“Gigi”,
“West Side Story”,“Ben-Hur”,and “Lawrence of Arabia”.

raysson
raysson on March 11, 2010 at 4:28 pm

THE NEW LAKEWOOD CENTER THEATRE opens it doors to the public on Thursday November,24,1966 to two grand opening events.

The first one was a private exhibition that was to be shown to prestigious guests and members of the Durham City and County Council and to the Mayor of Durham and it was by invitation only on Sunday,November 20,1966.

The theatre was opened to the general public at 1:00pm on Thursday,November 24,1966 with the Tony Curtis feature “Not With My Wife You Don’t!”

raysson
raysson on March 11, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Advertisement from the November 23, 1966 edition of the Durham Herald-Sun:

THE DOORS WILL OPEN TO THE BEAUTIFUL NEW LAKEWOOD CENTER THEATRE…MOVIEGOING WILL NEVER BE THE SAME!!!

The Center Theatre Will Bring Durham And The Triangle Area A Wonderful New World of Luxury And Comfort In Motion Picture Theatres.
-Luxurious Rocking Chairs
-Stereophonic Surround Sound
-Mammoth Cured(Ultravision) Distortion Free Screen
-A Sea of Front Door Parking!!!
-Startling Luxurious Surroundings

With a seating capacity of over 800 and convenient front door parking,the new Center Theatre will make movie going more convenient than ever. From the ultra-plush carpeting,the accoustically draped walls,roomy airflo rocking chairs,you will experience innovations that project you into a new world of moviegoing.

For the eye,the mammoth curved screen reproduces the sharpest distortion-free screen image yet known….

For the ear…full range stereophonic sound envelopes you in a feeling of participation. The latest in electronic air-conditioning insures consistent maximum comfort. From architecture to entertainment,the Center Theatre is an incomparable showplace.

raysson
raysson on December 17, 2009 at 3:10 pm

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.