Akers Mill Cinema

2967 Cobb Parkway NW,
Atlanta, GA 30339

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rivest266 on April 9, 2018 at 2:29 pm

This opened on August 5th, 1977. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

jumboloan on November 3, 2017 at 7:09 pm

Akers Mill had a very strange configuration with the bathrooms upstairs. Everybody was always asking where they were. They also did not keep toilet paper but some sort of small napkins to do yer wipin'. Plus the popcorn was never popped fresh but kept for days, I know I got popcorn duty often. The walls were metallic so acoustics were god awful. The concession stand being right in the middle in front of the entrance blocked the flow of traffic so crowd control was tough.

galateasca on September 24, 2016 at 10:11 pm

I just remember the Akers as being claustrophobic and crowded. Funny how that stuck with me. The last thing I saw there was a revival of Yellow Submarine in the late 1980s. We used to go there a lot on date nights in the early 80’s. I can’t imagine driving to as many theaters all over the city now as we did at that time. I lived in Dunwoody, but we drove all over the city to see films. I miss those days.

StanMalone on January 9, 2016 at 6:19 am

Sounds like Steve did you a favor. I doubt that you would have had that much fun working at Akers Mill. Your comments about how much fun it was to work at the Promenade are so common to that era of mid 70’s to mid 90’s. When I was a teenager the theaters were all single screen locations with much smaller staffs. I don’t recall more than four or five employees working at the same time, and often that was about the total number on the staff. Not as much social activity together as a result.

Now, with the size of these megaplexes, the staffs are so large that all of the employees probably don’t even know each other. Some of these places have more managers on the staff than I had employees when I was managing theaters from ‘74 to '83. As Mike Rogers is fond of saying, “ours was a different era for sure.”

jumboloan on December 14, 2015 at 10:41 am

Yes, early 80’s summer of Flashdance, World According to Garp, and AC/DC movie.Larry hired me and let me lie about my age because I was too young. Crisp fired me because I could not work on Sundays because of school night so no love lost. Then went to work at Plitt Promenade with Mr. Mitcham and had the time of my life. I got to be the projectionist since they only had to keep one Union man for the area and he never came by so I ran them all as a teenager.

StanMalone on December 14, 2015 at 8:02 am

You must have worked there before 1986 since that is when they removed that island concession stand, put the new one against the wall and surrounded that mirrored post with game machines. I started working the booth in 1985, so if we were there at the same time then I accept the compliment. The projectionist belonged in the booth, not downstairs socializing.

As for Steve Crisp, he was a good manager and friend. I first met him in 1972 when he was managing the Capri in Buckhead (Buckhead Theater on this site) which was the flagship of the Weis operation here. In the late 70’s when Weis sold out and left town Steve followed me as manager of the Loews 12 Oaks. Loews left town a couple of years later and Steve moved over to Akers and GCC replacing Larry Anderson as manager. Larry, who had moved over from Perimeter Mall to open Akers became a DM. Steve left Akers in 1986 to open the new Merchants Walk 8. In 1995, against his better judgement, he was talked into moving to Parkside which had opened in 1987 and had failed to find a manager who could get the job done. The fact that the southeast division office was located upstairs at Parkside did not help.

By the end of the decade the theater business had changed a lot from what it was when Steve and I started. I finally left Parkside, where I was the projectionist, in 1999. I lost track of Steve when he left a few months later and moved to Ashville NC. I regret to say that Steve died of a heart attack a couple of years ago.

Steve was a good friend and a good man to work for. He had the ability to be even tempered even in the most stressful or aggravating times, and was good at balancing the duties of management while making his theater an enjoyable place to work without having the staff running wild.

jumboloan on December 13, 2015 at 5:09 am

Mr. Crisp was my manager and Mr. Bailey was the assistant. The concession stand was around the column in the picture and the four theatres off to the sides two on each. Upstairs were the bathrooms and offices and the infamous popcorn room. The projectionist was Union and we never saw him.

StanMalone on December 13, 2015 at 4:31 am

Dennis: Thank you for your comments. You know a lot more about GCC than I do since they only came to Atlanta in 1973 and I did not work for them until 1977. I can only speak for the Atlanta area, but we started getting shopping center theaters here in 1963 or so and those theaters had very large screens and much nicer seating, usually rockers, but even the stationary ones were better than those two position seats that GCC was still installing in 1978. I always thought that those two position seats were uncomfortable since the straight up position was too upright and the reclined position tended to make you feel like you were sliding forward. Maybe you had to be just the right size for them to feel right. Never the less, I never met a GCC manager or floor staff that did not hate the things since they all had to be pushed back upright during between show clean up.

As for the screens, I have worked in many theaters with shoebox auditoriums and small screens that were the result of twinning. However, as I said in my comment of 10/17/2005 (hard to believe that I have been writing on this site for over 10 years), Akers, as well as Southlake and Northlake, were built in this shoebox style by design and the poor presentation could not be blamed on twinning. By 1984 when the Gwinnett Place 6 was built they were beginning to make some improvements in auditorium shape and screen size and by 1986 with the Merchants Walk and Parkside 8’s they were finally building nicely designed theaters although there were still limiting their Dolby installations to two to four screens per location.

As I have said before on other GCC theater pages, I appreciated the presence of GCC in Atlanta as I made a good living working for them for a good many years. However, the first generation locations of Perimeter Mall, Northlake, Southlake, and Akers, had as poor a presentation as any theater I ever worked in. In Atlanta at least, those early locations were in very high profile places but by the time they were building the better quality theaters they were placing them either behind or on the back end of shopping centers or hard to find access roads.

All that said, the quality of the presentation never seemed to bother the public as they flocked to these shiny new GCC theaters for a good 15 years before the newer designs made them obsolete.

By the way, the DM’s in Atlanta in my time were Larry Anderson, Larry Pittman, Dave Pollard, and Jeff Lynn. Did you know any of them?

DENNISMAHANEY1 on December 12, 2015 at 4:17 pm


DENNISMAHANEY1 on December 12, 2015 at 4:15 pm

Want to say a word or two about the comment of basic and the chairs, these were the first line of shopping center theaters the chairs at the time were state of the art, push back seats no seat in front of the other, and the screens were not small they were large only after time when a theater was spit into a twin from a single did the screens get mall, G.C.C was the pioneer in shopping center theaters best of it’s day, the problem like all they stuck to it and did not look to the future, I started with them near the begging in Framingham Ma. in 1959 this became my career, and a good one at that.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 18, 2010 at 6:50 pm

96 Rock PURE ROCKn'ROLL MIDNIGHT MOVIES at Akers Mill were on Oct 15 1988, “ROCKY HORROR”, “BEETLEJUICE” {weak midnight movie selecion,starting to lose managers like me that knew midnight movie crowds} also “M-3D:THE MOVIE”.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 15, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Mr.Projector,Knows Robin.Tlsloews.

TLSLOEWS on June 14, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Thanks Mr.Projector.

jumboloan on January 5, 2010 at 11:59 am

I worked as a doorman and perpetual popcorn popper for this theater which would be sold to customers days later. I moved on to Plitt Promenade, a much better management experience. The movie halls were long and narrow, very poor experience. This theater did not have much to offer except very attractive carpeting and their opening jingle (do dat do, do dat do, do dat do…) . I do remember watching Flashdance, AC/DC Back in Black, and The World According to Garp endlessly during that summer.

I wish only the best for foxy Kim and Mr. Bailey!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 16, 2009 at 6:55 pm

Dave, it’s a pity you didnot get hired.I hope you got on with another theatre chain.I had the best years of my life at the theatres.I read about people on CT with such a love for the business,but alot of them never working at a Theatre.

DaveNewton on December 9, 2009 at 1:37 pm

The longest I ever waited in line to see a movie was at this theater, over 6 hours for the first STAR TREK movie. My friends and I kept taking turns going back to the car and ‘partying’ while other friends held our place in line, so we could barely stay awake when we finally were watching the movie. I applied for a job at this theater in 1979 or ‘80, but didn’t get it. Oh well!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on October 18, 2009 at 10:50 am

When I worked at GCC’s GEORGIA SQUARE MALL CINEMAS,I had to run up to AKERS MILL. I think THE TWILIGHT ZONE was Playing and i want to say OCTOPUSSY was also there. I did go over to the AMC,because I had never been to an AMC since ATHENS and AUGUSTA never had them. I was really impressed and could not believe AKERS MILL was still open.Wasn’t it in almost walking distance of AKERS MILL?

JackCoursey on November 12, 2008 at 2:35 am

I shutter at the thought that someone might, since it sat abandoned so long after it closed, deem it architecturally significant and make an effort to restore it. Definitely one of the worse cinemas to ever grace the landscape.

StanMalone on November 11, 2008 at 6:06 pm

Nothing but a dirt lot now.

sgbacks on May 22, 2008 at 9:50 am

From 1986 to 1988 my friends and I would go to the midnight movies on Friday and Saturday night at Akers Mill. Most of us worked next door at Toys R Us. We always had a great time, hanging out in the parking lot beforehand,etc. The Rocky Horror Picture Show played every weekend, of course. Other movies they showed quite a bit were Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Heavy Metal, Hellraiser 1&2, and from time to time a regular first run feature that was shown during normal hours. It was great to see the pictures of it on this site as I don’t live in the area anymore and probably haven’t seen that theatre in 16 years or so. They brought back alot of memories. Thanks,Jack for the photos.

longislandmovies on May 3, 2007 at 1:05 am


JackCoursey on January 6, 2007 at 4:29 pm

Here are photos from 2005 of what remained of the cinema: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

NancyDrew on November 19, 2006 at 6:07 am

Akers Mill was a functioning theatre at least until 1996 when I left for college, and I think right up until the time Parkway was finished in 1998/99. Thinking back, Akers Mill might not have been perfect but I loved going to the movies there. There was always a calm feeling about the place, probably because the lack of video games and lobby space eliminated it as a place to hang out. The people that worked there were always super nice. And there was always an excellent chance that if you went to a matinee you would have the theatre virtually to yourself. They also seemed to book art-y films that weren’t playing anywhere else in the area. Of course, I also remember taking my little brother to see one of Hulk Hogan’s movies there, so they obviously were playing a wide range of features.

I agree that the building that houses the theatre probably isn’t long for this world.

StanMalone on October 27, 2005 at 4:47 am

The Akers Mill Shopping Center has undergone a complete exterior renovation up to the point just before the theatre frontage starts. It is pretty clear that the theatre part of the center does not figure in the future plans of the owner and it is probably only a matter of time before that part is demolished just as the southern wing of the center was to make way for Circuit City.

StanMalone on October 17, 2005 at 5:23 am

Jack’s first paragraph puts it pretty well. The only change I would make is in the demolition date. Northlake and Southlake were torn down about 1992 while the Perimeter operated until 1999 and was torn down in 2000.

Akers was the third of four GCC theatres built in the 1970’s following the Perimeter Mall 3, the Northlake 2 triple, and preceding the Southlake 2 triple. The next generation came in 1986 with Merchants Walk, 1987 with Parkside, and 1988 with Hairston, all 8’s.

While Northlake and Southlake were identical and very similar to Perimeter Mall, Akers Mill had several distinctive features. The concession stand was a complete island in the middle of the lobby. The lobby was smaller to begin with than these other locations, and it was almost impossible to hold a crowd of any size inside. The restrooms were upstairs although there was one unisex handicapped bathroom located in the back of the #4 auditorium. The four auditoriums were each 400 seats which made life easy for the projectionist as there was seldom any need to swap prints other than projector breakdowns and putting the new or busiest movie in the Dolby house. In addition to the rest rooms, the booth, concession storeroom (with popcorn popper) and offices were upstairs as well. In an odd move, the door to the offices was located directly off of the public area, a flaw which became evident after a couple of push in robberies.

The projection booth was just as bland as the rest of the theatre. Four Century 35’s with an Autowind 3 platter for each. The size and layout of the booth was almost identical to the one at Perimeter Mall after it had been quaded and converted to platters. Sadly, the Cinemation pegboard system was not used, probably because there was not as much need for it since there would be no changeovers. AM was the first GCC booth in Atlanta with platters instead of 6000 foot reels. In light of my Phipps / Close Encounters experience, I am hesitant to say this, but I think it was “Deer Hunter” which brought Dolby to this location, installed in the #1 house. This was the old push button style of Dolby rack which required the projectionist to be present to engage the Dolby sound following the previews and GCC policy. The Dolby never did amount to much here as all of the auditoriums were long narrow shoeboxes demonstrating the very worst aspects of 1970’s design without having the excuse of being the result of twinning.

Akers did pretty well during its early years due to the lack of competition in the area. It played most of the standard first run movies since by that time the days of exclusive run engagements were history. A year or two later, Plitt opened the Promenade Triple just up Hwy. 41, but there was still plenty of product to go around. In the early 80’s the new Galleria mall was opened next door to Akers Mill Shopping Center, and it included an AMC 8plex. A;though none of the AMC auditoriums were as large as the Akers, people preferred the shinny new theatre with its larger screens and much better sound, assuming they noticed such things. Above all they preferred the better movies which now went to the Galleria. No matter how hard you try, 4 screens just could not compete with 8 when it came to the 8 or even 12 week bookings required to get the better shows in those days. Akers still got the occasional hit such as “Aliens” and “Ghostbusters 2” and of course the great “Ishtar” (interlocked on two screens no less) but for the most part it was now left with the leftovers, and in many cases the moveovers, from the Galleria. There were several years in the mid to late 80’s when the Galleria was the #1 grossing theatre in Atlanta.

GCC did make an effort to compete by removing the island concession stand and installing the new GCC style stand against the right hand lobby wall. At the same time they remodeled the lobby and entrance and, one house at a time, removed the old two position GCC seats from the 70’s and completely refurbished and reseated the auditoriums. Still, bookings are the ultimate draw, and by the 90’s the Akers days were clearly numbered. The Plitt had already closed after trying the $ house route. When the old Eastern Air Lines Reservation Center just to the south of the Akers Shopping Center was torn down and replaced with yet another shopping center, GCC moved in there with the Parkway Point 15. The Akers was closed and stripped bare. The booth equipment was sold as a block to Kings Cinemas, the former Septum company which was running the Cobb Center 6 at the time.

As Jack said, the site is still there more than 10 years later looking just the way it did when GCC shut the doors. The marquee is still on the road, and the theatre entrance can now be seen since the row of stores that stood in front of it has been torn down and a Circuit City Store now sits on part of that area. I can not imagine this place ever being useful as a theatre again and it is only a matter of time before the land is needed for the next generation of shopping centers in this very busy and well to do area. When that day comes it will join all of the other theatres from the 60’s and 70’s in the landfills around Atlanta. Like Northlake, Southlake, and countless other sites from that era they were the ultimate in bland, featureless, movie viewing, and will be missed by no one other than those of us who enjoyed working there.