Northlake Mall I II III

3230 Northlake Parkway NE,
Atlanta, GA 30345

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The Northlake I II III and the Southlake I II III shared more than the same suffix. Both were identical theatres on opposite ends of the metro Atlanta area. Even the strip malls in which each resided were almost indistinguishable. Regretfully, nothing really remarkable about either cinema. Both the Northlake and Southlake (located in Morrow, GA) were part of General Cinema’s foray into the Atlanta area in the early-1970’s, the Northlake Mall I II III opening on June 25, 1976.

Each cinema consisted of three shoebox auditoriums that appeared to all have identical seating capacity and each was adorned in a blue and white colour scheme. Both the Southlake I II III and Northlake I II III were closed in 1992.

Contributed by Jack Coursey

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 10, 2011 at 11:41 am

Russell,I don’t think I ever heard that story.It would have to rate as one of the top Stories told by a manager.I know Anderson and Zack got into it,must have gotten a few names wrong.

RussellSmeak on February 9, 2011 at 4:48 pm

I remember another couple of theater stories, so, since this is the place to share them, Ima sharin'! Soon after I started working there, I had to hire a good number of staff. I was really done hiring and had everyone lined up, so I didn’t need anyone else. This one cute little girl came in for an interview..she was recommended by someone I had just hired..and I told her I was sorry but I didn’t really need her. Our conversation turned more personal and I asked her where she was from. As soon as she told me her family had just moved from Augusta, I told her she had the job!! A girl from my hometown, and I’m not gonna hire her?? Another of the concession girls I hired told me, when I brought out a bunch of candy cases from the storeroom, that she had the same cases of candy at home..her Dad worked for the candy distributor. She asked me if I wanted her to bring any cases from home to work, and I told her “Hell no!!!”! That’s all I needed was to get linked to some candy-conspiracy! Going back to my previous post and how I had put in my resignation…the morning the company auditor was there to check me out, he was upstairs counting while I was downstairs. I told them I didn’t have anything to hide and they could count without me..that’s how sure I was of my count. Anyway, I sat downstairs with the crazy division manager talking about stuff. I guess he was trying to tell me a story about good versus bad management. He told me a story about a restaurant called Wiener King that was beside the place he used to work at when he was young. He said that as soon as the manager of Wiener King left the place on an errand, he could look in and see the employees jumping on the counter, throwing stuff at each other, and just acting like idiots because the manager wasn’t there. I turned to my soon-to-be-ex-boss and asked him with a serious face, “Hey, do you think Wiener King is hiring?”! I thought that was the highlight of our relationship! Hey, again, thanks for letting me air out my old memories!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 16, 2011 at 2:10 pm

LOL Russell,and I thought I knew YOU.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 1, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Three good features.we had two of them at Georgia Square GCC in Athens, 007 went to the Palace twin downtown.wish the picture was a bit clearer.

treadway on August 23, 2014 at 10:29 am

I saw a few movies here. Northlake was my Mom’s favorite place to go shopping. I didn’t like the theater, so once I started driving I never went there again.

StanMalone on October 27, 2016 at 3:54 pm

By no means was this the first GCC theater I worked in, but it was the first one that I had a “permanent” position in. In the fall of 1984, the new GCC Gwinnett Place 6 opened and the two projectionists from Northlake were picked as the opening duo there. To replace them the company chose one of the projectionists from Southlake who was looking for a shorter commute, and me. I had worked a lot of relief in GCC booths but I was happy to finally have a regular job.

I was also happy to be at Northlake. When I had worked there as floor staff it had been a huge moneymaker since it opened in 1976 with Murder By Death. That Christmas Goodbye Girl was another massive hit with countless sellouts for what seemed like weekend after weekend. I did not work there after 1979 and lost track of things, but I know that they were one of the theaters to get ET in the summer of 1982. I thought I had it made working in a good first run theater for a big company and pulling in what seemed like a fine living at $7.50 per hour.

But, things are not always as they seem. In May of 1984 AMC had opened their Northlake Festival 8 almost across the street and GCC Northlake had become a ghost town. The big movies we ran that fall were Give My Regards To Broad Street, Razors Edge, and something called Windy City which often played to empty houses and drew all of 12 people on Thanksgiving Day. You know your theater is in trouble when your big Christmas pictures are Mickey and Maude and Johnny Dangerously.

The next summer things improved a little with Cocoon, Silverado, and European Vacation. However, the duds far outnumbered even these modest hits, and in the fall of 1986, GCC cut the booth hours down to one projectionist and dumped the rest of the hours on the manager, at no extra pay of course. I was off to Akers Mill until they did the same thing there in fall of 1987 and then to Perimeter Mall where they did the same thing in the spring of 1988.

I decided to give another company a try and that went well until 1995 when I came back to GCC and an opening at the new Parkside 8. For the next 5 years I split my time between there and Perimeter until GCC finally closed up in 2000. However, I did continue to work Parkside for the new owner, George Lefont, from 2004 until they went digital a couple of years ago.

As for Northlake, I loved working the booth there. It was the last theater in Atlanta built with reel to reel operation, 2 35MM Century projectors per screen with the old push button Dolby in the #1 house. However, the presentation was terrible with the long 400 seat shoebox theaters, fixed masking which left the sides of the flat picture raw, and those awful two position seats that some GCC people are so fond of. The most fun I had there was running the kiddie shows which did so well we used all three houses. We would use the 20 minute reels and start the shows 30 minutes apart, walking, or biking as they used to call it, the print from house to house to house one reel at a time. Even though there were no carbons, it really gave me the feel of running an old time booth.

One other note on the booth. It was equipped with the Cinemation Mark 3 pegboard automation system. This great piece of equipment, hated and feared by those who would not take the time or trouble to learn what it could do for them was the best automation system I ever worked with. If you put the pegs in the right hole and the tape in the right spot it never missed a cue. When Northlake was closed and demolished in 1992, four of the six projectors and two of the platters were sent to Perimeter Mall to replace the very poor conditioned projectors there and to get the booth to an all platter operation. So, for five years I got to run some of my old equipment even though the old Northlake was long gone to the landfill.

joshmassey on October 27, 2016 at 8:40 pm

Summer ‘84 couldn’t have been all bad – y'all had both Ghostbusters and Gremlins. And, um, Irreconcilable Differences. (Why I remember this I’ll never know.)

StanMalone on October 29, 2016 at 7:22 am

In those days at least, GCC had a strong relationship with Columbia so we ran a lot of their stuff. Our Christmas ‘85 feature was White Nights, another mediocre draw. I mean we even ran Ishtar, so that may account for G'busters. They also had that and Gremlins at Southlake where I did a couple of turns covering vacations that summer. I well remember one rainy Sunday where G'busters sold out every show except the last one. That may have been the last good summer since Northlake 8 soon took over. I looked up my record, and when I started in October the features were Razor’s Edge, Little Drummer Girl, and Broad Street.

One thing I forgot to mention in my previous comment was the conversion of the booth to platters around 1988. I did not even know that had been done until I was called in to work one day of relief. Since the manager was covering the booth Monday – Wednesdays, they did that to cut down on the missed changeovers. That is why they were able to send platters to Perimeter when Northlake closed.

For the record, the intro to this theater should say 1200 seats (three houses at 400 seats each), opened in 1976, and closed in 1992. Perimeter Mall opened in 1973 and was the first GCC in Atlanta. Northlake followed in 1976, Akers Mill in 1977, and Southlake in 1978. After that it was Gwinnett Place in 1984, Merchants Walk in 1986, Parkside (later renamed Sandy Springs) in 1987 and Hairston in 1988.

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