North Dekalb Theatre

2050 Lawrenceville Highway,
Decatur, GA 30033

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The North Dekalb Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened as a single screen theatre in July 1965. Sort of the twin or younger sibling of the Emory Theatre in they were both part of the Storey circuit, kinda resemble one another and generally booked what I call “Miramax caliber” films (Woody Allen’s “Manhattan” showed exclusively at the North Dekalb when it opened in Atlanta). In May 1976, the North Dekalb Theatre was sliced down the middle during those crazy twining days in the 1970’s.

The theatre was demolished in the mid-1980’s and a Cineplex Odeon four-plex opened where it fell. Alas, this quad would suffer the same fate as its predecessor, being leveled in less than five years after opening.

Contributed by Jack Coursey

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

Cliff Carson
Cliff Carson on July 10, 2009 at 1:38 am

I was so crushed when I went back to Atlanta to find this theatre torn down. I remember vividly seeing many wonderful movies there. The two greatest movie going experiences I had was seeing OLIVER! there in it’s “popular prices” run. Every Saturday my Mom would drop off a me and a friend to see OLIVER! Later it would be WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. I saw that many times there too. Throughout the years I saw many others too, including THE HINDENBURG. I didn’t like it when they turned it into a twin theatre. That was the beginning of the end for that wonderful theatre. I think the last film I saw there was THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY.

joshmassey on July 13, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Has anybody created a page for the Cineplex Odeon Market Square theater that opened in North DeKalb Mall?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 2, 2009 at 11:15 pm

Boxoffice of August 9, 1965, said that “Lord Jim” had opened at Storey’s new North DeKalb Theatre in Decatur. That must have been the premier feature at the theater, as the August 23 issue of Boxoffice mentioned that the house had opened “Two weeks ago….”

Two small photos depicting the North DeKalb’s marquee and lobby appeared in Boxoffice of April 17, 1967. The article was about the Storey circuit’s new Lakewood Theatre in Atlanta, and said that both the Lakewood and the North DeKalb had been designed by the same architects, the Atlanta firm of Finch, Alexander, Barnes, Rothschild & Paschal, which was fairly active in theater design about this time. Each of these theaters had 900 seats, according to Boxoffice.

The June 21, 1976, issue of Boxoffice reported that the North DeKalb Twin had opened the previous month, bringing the total number of screens operated by the Storey circuit to 21. The twinned house had 450 seats on each side, according to Boxoffice, so given that the single-screen configuration had also provided 900 seats, and some space must have been sacrificed for the new dividing wall, the new seats must have been somewhat smaller.

StanMalone on November 3, 2009 at 2:35 pm

Joe, Many thanks for all of your comments relating to Boxoffice. I never worked for Storey, and never attended this theatre after it was twinned, but I would doubt that new seats were used to keep the total number at 900.

The single screen layout had three section seating with two off center aisles, and I am sure that they just built the wall down the center and the aisles became single center aisles with two section seating. I worked at several theatres that were twinned in this way and the only ones to relocate the center section seats so that they pointed at the relocated twin screens were the Tara and South Dekalb. Since the new screens were much smaller most theatres just added the surplus seats in front of the old front row. I think that the old North Dekalb had a small stage a couple of steps off of the floor in front of the screen. They may have taken this out to give them more room to add new front rows thus allowing them to keep the 900 seat capacity.

I never found quality of presentation to be a concern when twinning theatres was underway. The public never seemed to care so why should the owners?

DaveNewton on December 9, 2009 at 2:55 pm

I’m just seconding Joshmassey’s post. I can’t find a listing here for the AMC North Dekalb Mall 16 theater. I’d love to know the history of the place, if anyone could put together a page about it.

joshmassey on December 9, 2009 at 3:23 pm

AMC North DeKalb Mall 16 opened in 1996. The first movie I saw there was “Scream,” but it had been up and running for a few months by then. But actually, the theater I’m referring to was in the same mall, but a different location. It was a four-house Cineplex Odeon theater called Market Square 4.

The first movies I remember seeing there were “La Bamba,” “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “Throw Momma From the Train,” so it must have opened in 1987. If I had to take a stab at a closing date, I’d guess 1994.

DaveNewton on December 9, 2009 at 3:59 pm

Interesting, thanks for the info on the AMC North DeKalb Mall 16. The first movie that I remember seeing there was Alien: Resurrection in late 1997 (it was the second date with a woman I dated for almost 11 years, who passed away last year). We saw a lot of films there over the years, and I have a lot of sentimental memories of the all the good times we had there. Its also the closest theater to where I now reside.

I was wondering about the Cineplex Odeon name that you mentioned in your earlier post, thanks for explaining that.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 2, 2011 at 3:36 pm

For Charity “BOY OF TWO WORLDS” was Shown here.Sept 22,1974 BOXOFFICE.

Mike Durrett
Mike Durrett on May 25, 2011 at 9:19 am

Thanks everyone for the Storey North DeKalb information, some of which clarifies and corrects my comments. A summer 1965 opening for the theatre would be on target, although the BOXOFFICE dates should be taken with a grain of salt. As with most magazines, the publication dates would often be after readers had the pages in their hands. I do recall LORD JIM at the theatre and it feels right as the opening film. I have the recollection it was also playing at Storey’s Rhodes at the same time.

The 900 seats matter feels a bit inflated, as theatres often do. I’m thinking the total was closer to 850 seats. For years, the mall marquee at the front entrance of the parking lot said, I believe, “850 Rocking Chair Seats” from the theatre’s opening until the twinning.

I had forgotten the Cineplex Odeon incarnation. Never went there because it was a Cineplex Odeon.

galateasca on July 9, 2013 at 9:33 pm

I am pretty sure you are correct about the Market Square 4 opening in the 86-88 time frame. The guy I was dating during those years lived close to North Dekalb/Market Square and we went to a big grand opening when the mall was re-launched and went to the theater there a few times. Nothing remarkable that I can remember.

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