South Square Mall Cinemas I, II, III, IV

4001 Chapel Hill Boulevard,
Durham, NC 27707

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raysson on September 29, 2014 at 9:13 am

Should be headed as 4001 Chapel Hill Boulevard Durham, NC 27707

raysson on November 4, 2013 at 11:37 am

This cinema closed in 1994 when Carmike Cinemas built a huge 10-screen multiplex theater located near South Square Mall at the intersection of Shannon Road and Martin Luther King Parkway that opened later that year.

raysson on November 4, 2013 at 11:34 am


1975-1987 CinemaNational Theatres

1987-1992 USA National Theatres

1992-1994 Carmike Cinemas

raysson on November 4, 2013 at 11:33 am

CORRECTION: The South Square Mall Cinemas officially opened on December 26,1975 as the Triangle’s newest modern design theater and Durham’s first multiplex cinema under CinemaNational Corporation and later operated under Boston-based USA Theatres. The seating capacity was 800.

The Opening Attractions for the Grand Opening of the South Square Mall Cinemas on December 26,1975 were:

Screen 1: Burt Reynolds in HUSTLE

Screen 2: Al Pacino in DOG DAY AFTERNOON

Screen 3: Michael Caine in THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING

Screen 4: Sidney Poitier in LET’S DO IT AGAIN.

Seating capacity for Screen 1 was 250

Seating capacity for Screen 3 was 250

Seating capacity for Screen 2 was 150

Seating capacity for Screen 4 was 150

raysson on November 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm

On The Marquee around Christmas 1980….. Screen III-“Raging Bull”-with Robert DeNiro-®

Screen II-“Walt Disney’s Cinderella”–(G)

Screen IV-“Flash Gordon”-with Sam Jones and Max Von Sydow-(PG)

Screen I-“Hardly Working”-with Jerry Lewis-(PG)

raysson on May 24, 2012 at 11:03 am

Don’t let the signs fronting Chapel Hill Boulevard fool you. The theatres are hidden in the back of the shopping center between Montgomery Ward and J.C. Penney,behind the lower level of the parking deck. This was the worst movie theater in Durham with it’s classroom size auditoriums that lasted in operation from 1975 until 1994. It closed in 1994. The mall itself was demolished in 2001.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 6, 2011 at 3:43 pm

I sure thought “Song of the South” was pulled out of release long before 1986,Interesting.

raysson on July 5, 2011 at 3:46 pm

FYI: If I had the “ad” from the Durham Morning Herald…. A lot of Disney re-releases(most of them Disney cartoons) played here at the South Square Mall Cinemas during the 1980’s and 1990’s “Lady and the Tramp” “101 Dalmations” “The Rescuers” “Sleeping Beauty” “Pinocchio” “The Sword In The Stone”

“Song Of The South”–(yes,and it played there for a week in 1986,when their were protests outside the cinema telling people NOT to see this movie and to boycott it!!! Only in Durham and at the height if the X-Mas Season! And this was a Disney flick that they re-released in theatres during the Holidays)

raysson on October 13, 2010 at 1:20 pm

***Cinema National which owned and operated the South Square Mall Cinemas from 1975 until 1984,operated many cinemas in the greater Syracuse,New York area and all of the New England and Southeastern states. The chain was bought out by Loews Incorporated(or Loews Theatres)in 1984. Boston-based USA Theatres(which took some of the theatres that Cinema National operated)took over the South Square Mall Cinemas' operations until the early 1990’s which Carmike Cinemas acquired the theatres' operations until it closing in either 1992 or 1994.

TLSLOEWS on July 2, 2010 at 1:38 pm

They must have been pretty good size classrooms if you look at the seating capacitys.No movie palace but not that small.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 2, 2010 at 12:51 pm

“ Theatres as small as Classrooms” Why would any theatre chain ever have a theatre that small.Usually,when all this multi-plexing went crazy in the 70’s,most theatre chains had decent qauds,like MASTERS 4 in Augusta,Even the two smaller theatres were big enough to enjoy any movie,except maybe, 2001.

raysson on June 2, 2010 at 3:00 pm

This will be corrected….The South Square Mall Cinemas opened officially on December 26, 1975 and it was Durham’s first-ever multiplex theatre located in Durham’s largest indoor shopping center off Chapel Hill Boulevard.

raysson on January 8, 2010 at 1:28 pm

“Home Alone” also played here on two screens in December of 1990. Reason? The lines were snaked around the mall opposite near the J.C. Penney department store,and the way the auditoriums were designed it wasn’t enough to hold the capacity crowds. One auditorium was about the size of school classroom with the screen that was barely to see the entire film which sucked not to mention once all the seats were full,it had to be standing room only due to the capacity space. It was no wonder The South Square Mall Cinemas was the WORST movie theatre in Durham.

raysson on June 30, 2009 at 11:04 am

I remember also seeing Kevin Costner’s Oscar winning epic “Dances With Wolves” in the early 1990’s…..
The seating was horrible,but the movie drew large crowds with it played here. The auditorium looked like a classroom setting instead of movie theatre.

raysson on February 24, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Was the smallest multiplex cinema in town,the seating was horrible. But in did tremendous business until its closing in 1992. The parking underneath the cinemas was very impossible,but sometimes you’ll had to park over near JCPenney to get a space cause the lines filled up early for showings watch your surroundings…believe me,when “Batman” played here,the lines were around the corner stretching from the entrance of the theatre all the way toward JC Penney.

South Square Mall Cinemas was owned and operated at one time by Cinema National Theatres,and also was under USA Theatre Group before it became part of Carmike Cinemas.

raysson on February 16, 2009 at 9:49 am

I remember seeing two movies here back in 1984…….
“Ghostbusters”,and “Gremlins” when it played to record breaking crowds. “Ghostbusters” however sold out in 10 minutes and the reason was that the auditorium that showed it did not have the seating capacity,and it was standing room only for those who could not get a good seat. I remember seeing “Poltergeist II” here as well as “Star Trek V:The Final Frontier”.

raysson on February 16, 2009 at 9:44 am

I remember seeing Tim Burton’s “Batman” when it played here in June of 1989 to record breaking crowds. The film was shown on 2 screens due to capacity of crowds that snaked around the other side of the mall. The auditoriums looked like a classroom instead of a movie theatre. The lobby area was very small.

This was the same theatre that also showed the sequel too:“Batman Returns” also directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton,Michelle Pfeiffer and Danny DeVito to record crowds. Seating capacity was very small and it was standing room only for those who couldn’t get a seat cause the auditoriums were very small. Ridicious. The South Square Mall Cinemas was the worst movie theatre in Durham. Period.

raysson on September 9, 2008 at 8:06 am

The theatre was on the lower level of the shopping center next to JC Penney.

raysson on July 8, 2008 at 10:52 am

The South Square Mall Cimemas was owned and operated by Cimema National Theatres,and later on by USA Theatres before coming part of the Carmike Cimemas chain. One critic once wrote,that the South Square Mall Cimemas was the worst theatre in Durham.