South Dekalb Cinemas 12

2801 Candler Road,
Decatur, GA 30034

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South Dekalb Cinemas 12

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Built as a twin cinema in 1971 by the Georgia Theatre Company, each of the auditoriums were split in the 1970’s to allow for two additional screens which gave a total seating capacity for 1,312. Later operated by United Arts, then Regal Cinemas. The theatre was closed and gutted remaining empty for several years.

Years later, an addition was built on the back-side of the mall, adjacent to the old theatre. The original theatre space then became part of a new cinema complex, known as the De Kekalb Cinemas 12.

Contributed by Jack Coursey

Recent comments (view all 20 comments)

StanMalone on November 30, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Dmorg: Thanks for that nice write up of your memories of the South Dekalb. Maybe I saw you on your first visit since on my first day as manager we were running Herbie and Crazy Mary Dirty Larry. This was a very enjoyable theatre to work in and even when busy was easy to run since you could stand in front of the box office and see almost the entire operation. The only time things got hectic was when you had to line people up in the mall for #1 or outside for #2.

Your memories of what type of movies played on which side may be correct, but content had nothing to do with it. During cold weather, we usually tried to put the busy movie in #1 so we could line people up inside the mall. This was always a problem as the line would get confused with the people in the mall and it was too easy for people to hang around the mall entrance and break in line once we started to let the people in. Whenever the weather permitted, the busy movie would be in #2 so we could run the line up the hall and outside.

Of course this all changed when they split the two houses. Then, things got too hectic with different showtimes and exit times so you just had to do the best you could and when possible stretch out the intermissions. On some movies like Jaws 2 and The Muppet Movie, and the Bo Derek Tarzan of all things, the crowds were so large you would have an entire sellout lined up while the previous movie was still on. No amount of intermission could solve that.

I have always thought that the original twin theatre was the nicest theatre combined with the best presentation of any theatre I ever worked in. Glad to see someone else noticed.

dmorg on December 14, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Stan, thanks so much for responding. You may have seen me there with my Mom and sister for sure! When did “Herbie Rides Again” play? ‘74 or so? Anyway, I remember the crazy lines when it was quadded.

I have to say again, I loved the narrow and long carpeted hallway to the box office. Very unique, it was almost like an art gallery.

I also remember going to the Candler Mini Cinema every once in a while, (the few times they showed a Disney movie, with soft-core porn playing in the next house! ah, the ‘70’s!) a midget compared to SD. Wonderful memories, thank God for this website.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 18, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Stan and all of you guys I could read your stories and relate so much.“THE FEEL ON YOUR FINGERS FROM CARRYING FILM CANS.” Pure theatre employee stories.Somehow the union didn’t want no part of carrying them to the booth!

StanMalone on July 16, 2010 at 2:52 pm

View link

This is a picture of the old South DeKalb Twin building sticking out the back of the mall with the new addition to the right that turned it into a 12.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 18, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Oct 15 1988 these movies are playing; “MESSENGER OF DEATH” one of Bronson’s last movies,“TOUGHER THAN LEATHER” “DANGEROUS LOVE” and “ALIEN NATION”.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 6, 2010 at 5:36 pm

Yes Stan, Daniel Village theatre a GTC had no doors leading into the theatre if you didn’t set middleways or up front you heard popcorn popping or the girls at the concession talking.Never realised they had other theatres like that,Very stupid design.It wasn’t until it was Twinnned that doors were put up.Great Story.

jeterga on September 5, 2010 at 8:50 pm

The 72,808-square-foot building will house a 12-screen multiplex attached to the mall. It will be triple the size of the mall’s old cinema

The $13 million cinema was made possible when DeKalb County approved a $2.8 million tax package in May 1998 to help seed the project.

South DeKalb Mall has been without a cinema since 1997, when the old cinema was closed. The Theaters will seat 3,600 in stadium-style seats.

jeterga on September 5, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Tene Harris, the mall’s general manager, said that work crew had guttied the old cinema which will be replaced with a12-screen theater with stadium seating.

The new complex will also have a jazz bar and a small arcade inside. She said the bar would be only admit patrons who are 21 years and older.

It will be the second Atlanta cinema for American Screen Works, which also operates a cinema at Memorial Drive and South Hairston Road the former general cinema 8.

The 30-plus year-old mall used to have a cinema but it closed in the mid 1990s because of disrepair.

The new complex comes five years after a deal between the mall’s previous owner, O'Leary Partners, and Magic Johnson Theatres to build a 12-screen cinema at the 800,000 square-foot mall fizzled.

The 40,000 square-foot theatre complex , which will include digital sound in all auditoriums, advanced ticket pick-up and an enhanced food and beverage menu, is part of the mall’s redevelopment program

Atlanta-based American Screen Works, whose parent company is the Restaurant Entertainment Group, has been in the movie business since 1979. It operates 32 cinemas in cities like Orlando, Denver, Washington DC, Seattle, Cincinnati and Minneapolis

jeterga on September 5, 2010 at 9:33 pm

American Screenworks will be opening its new $10 million cinemas at the Gallery of South DeKalb on April 20, and the Atlanta-based company and mall management are expecting the throngs to come.

Sayed Raza, American Screenwork’s operations manager, said construction crews are working round-the-clock to have the 42,000-square-foot facility at the rear of the mall ready for Opening Night.

“It will be ready,” he said Friday as crews unfurled acres of green, orange and black print carpet and painters added final coats of paint and a slew of women swept and vacuumed construction dust from the cinema’s 12 auditoriums.

The new cinema replaces a smaller old asbestos-laced 24,000-square-foot cinema that closed in the 1990s.

American Screenworks stepped in to build the cinema when a deal with Magic Johnson Cinemas fell through under the mall’s previous owners.

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