Westgate Theatre

3131 Campbellton Road,
Atlanta, GA 30331

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Westgate Theatre

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Martin’s Westgate Cinemas was opened on January 28, 1965 with the Atlanta premiere of Walt Disney’s “Those Calloways” starring Brian Keith. It had two quite large auditoriums. It inadvertently became a triple around 1971 when a ‘head shop’ adjacent to the front auditorium went up in smoke. Rather than splitting this auditorium down the centre, it was partition off about at about the ¾ mark. I was told this arrangement allowed for additional time to repair damage done by the fire while keeping at least one of the auditoriums functional. This third auditorium had a screen only a few meters wider than a View Master.

Am interested in knowing what is the current status of this theatre.

Contributed by Jack Coursey

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

JackCoursey
JackCoursey on March 9, 2006 at 12:45 pm

Here are a couple of photos of the Westgate from the Stan Malone collection.

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on January 10, 2007 at 2:00 am

whats up with this location ……….still empty

JFBrantley
JFBrantley on April 22, 2008 at 1:36 pm

I remember seeing “Gone With The Wind” with my family during the late 1960’s. I don’t know why but my father wanted to sit in the smoking section.

This was not palace but in the 60’s and 70’s was not a bad place either. In the 1970’s this was a vibrant shopping center with a huge disco, Mr B’s Figure 8. Also in the 1960’s Lester Maddox’s Pickwick Restaurant was located here.

When they split the auditorium, It looked almost as dinky as when they split one of Old Dixie’s auditoriums. Still the big auditorium was good to see a movie.

The last time I went, I saw a treasure called “Deadtime Stories.”

Like I said, it was not a palace but before they split one auditorium, it was a good place to catch a movie.

StanMalone
StanMalone on August 19, 2008 at 8:53 am

I was never aware of this place when it was a twin. I do know that it was opened by the Martin chain in 1965 (January I think) on the same day that they also opened the Village and Eastgate. The Eastgate was later renamed Suburban Plaza. All three were later purchased by Georgia Theatre Company.

On occasion it would do good business over the years, but for the most part GTC would put most of their booking efforts into the 1100 seat Greenbriar Mall theatre across the Lakewood Freeway, especially after the Greenbriar was twinned. It was fairly common for the bigger attractions to open at Greenbriar and later move across to Westgate.

The biggest year I can remember for the Westgate was 1974. During the spring and summer Westgate opened The Sting the day after it left its exclusive run at the Georgia Cinerama and The Exorcist the day it went wide from its run at the Phipps Penthouse. Both of these locations were so far away from SW Atlanta that it was like getting these pictures first run. That, combined with an unusually strong slate of movies opening wide rather than exclusive run, made for big business here. Some of those other features were Mr. Majestic, Paralax View, My Name Is Nobody, and the prequel to Billy Jack reissue of Born Losers.

With its three screens, a megaplex in those days, a poor year at the Lenox, which was tied to the fortunes of the United Artists Pictures release schedule, and the fact that the Greenbriar spent some time closed for twinning, Westgate was one of the top grossing theatres for GTC in 1974-5. The EFC Ben Hill Twin just down the road was never much of a factor.

Since its closing the theatre has been a church, and amusement hall and even had a go as a nightclub following the demise of the famous Mr. V’s Figure 8 Disco with its trademark “Earthquake Sound.”

hiker
hiker on January 23, 2009 at 7:43 pm

I think the opening was more like 1963-64… i worked there for about a year before getting a job across the street at the (new)Greenbriar Mall when it first opened…

I was an usher/popcorn boy at Westgate— popcorn was made in a small room for that purpose upstairs next to the projection booth, and carted down, boxed, to the concession stand.

Based on this extensive experience, I was hired as the first employee at Greenbriar to be the head usher.

BTW— Lester Maddox’s store at Westgate was a furniture store… he was out of the restaurant business by then…. i used to get my hair cut at the barbershop at Westgate, and Lester would hang out there, telling stories of his ‘glory days’…. although he was yet to be governor at that time…

JFBrantley
JFBrantley on July 15, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Here is the Westgate now. I tried to look inside but the windows have been blacked-out.
www.flickr.com/photos/jfb57/4797764340/

stefankatlanta
stefankatlanta on January 4, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Some more pictures of the old Westgate Cinema 2011.
View link

JBrantley
JBrantley on January 12, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Stefan, your pictures bring back quite a few memories of how things were.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 2, 2011 at 12:39 pm

For charity'YOURS,MINE and OURS" is shown at the Westgate.Headed by United Artists booking Department.Boxoffice.sept 22,1974.

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