Southbrook Theatre

1260 E. Shelby Drive,
Memphis, TN 38116

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Southbrook entry

The UA Southbrook 4 Theatre was constructed, along with the mall surrounding it, in 1972. It was a very compact theatre which occupied the back section of its mall. The main entrance to the mall, in its center, led directly to the entrance to the theatre. The lobby was low-ceilinged as the booth for all four auditoriums was on top. Small flights of steps led up into each auditorium, a total of 1,148. The theatre was later expanded by three screens far removed from the main entrance, actually another tiny triplex with its own concession stand but using the same box office. The exits on either side of the screens opened into long service hallways and the capacity became approximately 1,400. It is possible that5 Elvis Presley attended or rented this theatre.

Opened by United Artists, it was closed under Regal’s banner and all equipment was removed. The mall, unused for many years, is undergoing a rebirth and reopening the cinema, even restoration, is part of the overall plan. Roof damage has caused many water problems, mostly in the original section but a clean-up is underway in 2013.

Contributed by Jack Coursey

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

Scott Neff
Scott Neff on February 23, 2012 at 2:04 am

And that would be East Shelby Dr.

vastor on March 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Southbrook Mall still exists but I wasn’t able to go inside the day I was nearby. I took a photo of the exterior which hasn’t changed much.

vastor on December 10, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Yes, that is the Southbrook. I have also seen a photo of the entry somewhere else on the web.

robpra87 on May 12, 2013 at 9:55 am

I remember seeing Bebe’s Kids Here and Home Alone 3 and many other movies.

robpra87 on August 12, 2013 at 6:13 am

Do anyone have classic photos from inside the mall.

vastor on August 17, 2013 at 4:12 am

Got inside today, roof damage caused a lot of water leaks but the auditoriums look very much the same. The lobby is a shambles but the new mall management is looking to re-open the theatre after renovating. The original UA Southbrook 4 Theatre was expanded to 7 screens (really another tiny separate theatre using the same box office) and was last operated by Regal.

spotlope on October 31, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Me, my best friend from high school, my wife, and at least two of my siblings worked here in the 1980’s. I still have fond memories of the place. A couple of years ago, I stopped by to see what was left. At the time, the lobby was walled off, but there was a makeshift hallway leading through it to the theater’s bathrooms, which were being used at the mall’s restrooms. Things were in a pretty sorry state, but I could still make out patches of that hideous burnt orange carpet showing through here and there.

Good times…

Logan5 on May 21, 2015 at 6:53 am

There seems to be a bit of a conflict here between the Whitehaven Theatre (on Laudeen Drive in Memphis) and the UA Southbook. Both theaters are claimed as the last venue in which Elvis Presley saw a movie. An excerpt from the September 1977 issue of (City Of) Memphis Magazine reads: “It was Monday evening, August 15th, at the Graceland Mansion… the previous Wednesday he had taken a party to see The Spy Who Loved Me, the latest James Bond offering, at the UA Southbrook 4.” Incidentally, one of the few Memphis-are theaters selected to show the feature film “This Is Elvis” was the UA Southbrook 7 Theatre when it went into wide release on Friday April 10, 1981. Apparently the Southbook had expanded to 7 screens by that time.

staylor066 on August 17, 2017 at 3:12 am

My babysitter took me and her son to see the first Star Wars movie at this place. I was only like 4 yrs old but I still recall an arcade and watching the movie twice back to back during a late showing. Of course, I couldn’t stay awake through the 2nd showing. Not sure what she was thinking but guess she liked it too. Also, wasn’t there a Service Merchandise next door that connected into the mall and a Fred Montesi’s grocery on the opposite end? I always thought those were a lot of letters they put outside on the store front for both Southbrook Mall and Service Merch. lol

Iceberg on July 3, 2018 at 9:45 pm

THE SPY WHO LOVED ME began its first Memphis run at three locations on July 22, 1977: UA Southbrook 4, Malco (Highland) Quartet and Malco Ridgeway 4. It did not play at the Whitehaven 2 (General Cinema). By Friday, August 12, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME was in its “fourth exclusive week” at the three theaters stated above. At that point, the Whitehaven Cinema was showing THE BAD NEWS BEARS IN BREAKING TRAINING on one screen and THE RESCUERS on the other. When Elvis rented theaters after hours, he often saw movies that were not actually playing at the theaters at the time. However, it would seem that since the Southbrook was showing THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, it would have been easier to just see it there instead of having a print supplied for the Whitehaven 2. Of course, these are theaters under different chains/ownerships, and maybe only one was willing to stay open after hours for him on the day in question.

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