Center Theatre 1 & 2

1229 Hargett Street,
Jacksonville, NC 28540

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Center Theatre  1 & 2

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Center Theatre located in the New River Shopping Center on Hargett Street became Jacksonville’s first ever suburban cinema. It opened to great fanfare on April 26, 1956, some three years after the opening of the Iwo Jima Theatre that opened in 1953. The theatre faces the intersection of Hargett Street and Robinson Drive, not far from LeJuene Boulevard (a T-intersection that does not enter the shopping center). It was Jacksonville’s largest indoor theatre and had a seating capacity for 750 with luxurious lounge areas, comfortable living room seating with as extra smoking section. It also had the area’s largest indoor widescreen that presented films in CinemaScope and VistaVision formats.

The Center Theater was owned and operated by Stewart & Everett, who in 1977 twinned the theatre by giving it a ‘split down the middle’ technique that was used, creating shoebox sized auditoriums each with 375 seats.

Carmike Cinemas acquired the Center Theatre 1 & 2 in 1986 and ran it as a second run discount house until its closing in 1990. An independent operator reopened the Center Theatre 1 & 2 in 1992, but low attendance and management problems closed its doors forever by 1996. In 2015 the building remains vacant.

Contributed by NightHawk1, raysson

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

NightHawk1 on February 28, 2012 at 10:06 pm

This theater may have been built earlier than the mid-1960s. New River Shopping Center opened in 1952.

kingchimp on August 10, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Yes, it was built before mid 60’s. I’m not sure, but I’d say 61' or 62'. I remember my sister standing in line (which stretched around the theater) for the Beatles' “Help” in 1965. I had already been going there with my buddies and sat in our row on the right hand side, 5 rows from the front. We went there for the Saturday morning matinees. That was early 1960’s.

NightHawk1 on September 22, 2014 at 6:04 pm

The Center Theatre looks like it was built mid-to-late 1950s, a few years after the Iwo Jima; from aerial views it resembles a backwards version of Fayetteville’s Bragg Theatre. The Center was Jacksonville’s first suburban indoor cinema, followed by both the Cardinal and Northwoods theaters in 1969.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 22, 2015 at 2:24 am

The Center Theatre was listed in the 1963 city directory.

raysson on September 2, 2015 at 11:30 am

This theater got a LOT of the United Artists product and some Disney during the 1960’s and early-1970’s. ALL of the “Beatles”, “James Bond”,and “Pink Panther” films played here first-run at the Center.

raysson on September 28, 2015 at 2:19 pm

NightHawk1 and Joe Vogel: I have in my possession the newspaper ad from the Jacksonville Daily News on the April 26,1956 grand opening ad of the Center Theater. Please contact me at and I will sent it to you.

THE OPENING ATTRACTION FOR THE CENTER THEATER’S OPENING Was “MEET ME IN LAS VEGAS”– In Cinemascope and Color!!! Starring Dan Dailey, and Cyd Charisse on April 26,1956.


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