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.

The AMC North DeKalb Mall 16 now operates from this address.

Contributed by Jack Coursey

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

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
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.

WHITEFIELD
WHITEFIELD on July 20, 2015 at 4:20 pm

I grew up in Decatur, don’t remember Cineplex Odeon four-plex. Where are you saying it was located.

StanMalone
StanMalone on July 21, 2015 at 6:21 am

Like most first generation malls, North DeKalb underwent a rebuild in the mid 80’s. The theater wing was torn down and what stores of the original mall were left were remodeled as was the surviving mall area. (The theater was never actually part of the mall but had an outside entrance just outside the southern entrance to the mall area.) The Cineplex quad that was located in a newly built area on the west side of the mall was not officially one of their “Jewel Box” designs but looked a lot like them.

It was at this point that the mall was renamed Market Square probably because the mall was located in almost dead center DeKalb County and had two newer malls located to the north within the county limits. When it was built as the Atlanta areas first enclosed mall in the early 60’s it may have been located in the northern part of the population map, but by the mid 80’s it was central DeKalb in all respects. Some marketing expert probably came up with the new name which did not last long. Everyone likely to shop there knew where North DeKalb Mall was and before long the name was changed back to North DeKalb.

I do not know how long Cineplex stayed there, but I would guess that it was at the same time that they closed their Jewel Box theaters which were all 6plexes that AMC took over this location. I think that it was still a quad then and AMC increased it to eight. Later they doubled it again to 16. To answer you question Dennis, the Cineplex quad was located somewhere within the footprint of the existing AMC 16.

PS: Thanks Dennis for that great picture you posted on the Suburban Plaza page.

joshmassey
joshmassey on July 21, 2015 at 7:05 am

Actually, the Cineplex Odeon at Market Square (four theaters) was not in the existing theater’s footprint. It was at the far back corner of the mall, in a space I now believe is just a blank wall on the outside. (I may drive by later to confirm). I’m pretty confident the opening was in 1987, based on what I remember seeing there. The last movies I remember seeing there were in 1993 (True Romance, Falling Down), and I’d be surprised if it lasted to the end of that year. AMC Phipps (1992 opening) may have been the nail in its coffin.

StanMalone
StanMalone on July 21, 2015 at 10:50 am

Josh, thank you for the correction. Since I have not attended a movie at North DeKalb Mall since Freebie And The Bean in March of 1975, when the theater on this page was still a single, I will yield to your superior knowledge. Actually, all of my information regarding Cineplex and AMC came from a conversation with an employee of the AMC 16.

If I am correct about the CT policy, the Cineplex quad should have its own page separate from this one and the AMC 16 since it occupied a different space even though it is in the same mall. Just like the two Phipps Plaza theaters have their own page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 21, 2015 at 2:17 pm

StanMalone: I’ve never been to Decatur, but I believe the quad you are referring to is the one listed here as the Market Square Cinema 4. That’s the impression I’ve gotten, anyway. There’s not much information on its page.

StanMalone
StanMalone on July 21, 2015 at 2:39 pm

You are absolutely correct Joe. I don’t know why I did not notice that. Not only that but there are not one but two pages for the current AMC 16 and to make matters worse I actually commented on one of them, something I have no recollection of. Guess that is what too many hours of listening to film click through the gates does to your mind. I never worked at any of these theaters and never was inside the quad or the 16, so my only information comes from my memory of the newspaper ads (back when there were ads in the paper) and talking to someone who once ran the booth for AMC.

Raymond Stewart is pretty knowledgeable about theater history in Atlanta and he seems to think that the space of the Cineplex was incorporated into the AMC. Maybe Josh can confirm this one way or the other. In the meanwhile I will let someone else clean up the mess regarding the duplicate pages and the question of having a separate page for the Market Square. While I only know a little of the history of the theater on this page, I know nothing dependable about the other two.

Maybe I should spend my time checking to see if there are any other rogue comments of mine out there.

joshmassey
joshmassey on July 22, 2015 at 1:28 pm

Ok, I drove by the theater today. Raymond was right – the footprints do overlap, at least from what I could tell. (Of course, the AMC is a LOT larger.) Whether or not the old Market Square theaters still exist inside, I don’t know – but it would be a little surprising, as I’d assume they’ve gone to all-stadium seating. I have added a picture of what used to be the box office onto the Market Square page.

StanMalone
StanMalone on July 22, 2015 at 2:27 pm

Thanks Josh. My second hand story told to me by someone who was not there at the time was that AMC took over the old Cineplex and expanded it to an 8. He did not know if they just split the auditoriums or expanded the space. They certainly expanded it when they went to 16.

I hope the CT people will leave the pages as they are. Market Square should qualify as a different theater and have its own page. Otherwise they might just list it as an AKA on this page. The problem with that as with many other locations on this site is that the search engine does not recognize AKA names so anyone typing in the former names gets a no listing found message.

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