Cardinal 3

1916 Stone-Rose Avenue,
Rocky Mount, NC 27804

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rivest266 on October 24, 2017 at 5:40 pm

For the record, It opened on November 2nd, 1972.

rivest266 on October 24, 2017 at 5:35 pm

November 1st, 1972 grand opening ad in the photo section and below:

Found on

Viper652 on December 23, 2016 at 12:25 pm

Oldschoolman, could you send me those photos of cardinal at my email . Thanks

raysson on August 14, 2015 at 12:13 pm

Added on a second auditorium around late-1975 or mid-1976 when the Cardinal was under ABC Southeastern Theatres.

It remained a twin theater until 1985 when it added on a third screen under Cineplex Odeon/Plitt Theatres.

raysson on August 14, 2015 at 12:10 pm

THE CARMIKE CARDINAL 3 closed in October of 2000 as a second run discount theatre under Carmike Cinemas. The information posted about its closing is incorrect.

gvout on October 16, 2014 at 8:25 pm

I started at the Cardinal Theater in January 1976 as janitor, and worked my way up to Asst. Mgr. for 2 and a half years and manager for just over a year. Managers I worked under were Tom Rickards, Robbie Presnell, Loren Montgomery and Willie Lackey.

raysson on January 13, 2014 at 5:10 pm

“E.T.” also played first run at the Cardinal 1 & 2 in 1982 when it was still a two screen theatre. The film played in its largest auditorium to capacity crowds.

righter40 on January 6, 2014 at 8:57 pm

I managed this theatre from the summer of 1984 til the spring of 1985. “Karate Kid” was our big summer picture.

Viper652 on October 10, 2013 at 1:52 am

Thanks Raysson. I could have sworn I saw it at Englewood. I was just a toddler.

Must have been a 2nd run perhaps? I also remember seeing ET, Back to the future, and Goonies at Englewood.

raysson on October 8, 2013 at 11:53 am

Viper652: RETURN OF THE JEDI played first-run at the Cardinal in 1983 when it was a two screen cinema under Plitt Southern Theatres. It opened on June 24,1983. I have the original newspaper ad on where it played!!!! If you need to see it,please contact me at and I can sent it to you A.S.A.P!!!

ALSO VIPER…..Check the website Digital Bits too…. Retrospective article on the 30th Anniversary of JEDI And where it played first-run in North Carolina!!!

Viper652 on October 8, 2013 at 1:50 am

I remember seeing Return of the Jedi at the Englewood theater in 1983

NightHawk1 on June 22, 2013 at 12:28 am

Rocky Mount was apparently slow to embrace multiplex cinemas, as Tarboro got a three-screen cinema at Parkhill Mall in 1982. All of Rocky Mount’s operating indoor theaters in 1982 were twins. Rather odd of Plitt to keep the Cardinal a twin until 1985, as Plitt built the first quad cinema east of Raleigh in Greenville (Plitt Quad AKA Carolina East Center Cinemas) in 1980. The Cardinal eventually succumbed to triplexing and split its larger auditorium before Cineplex Odeon took over in 1987.

OldSchoolMan on April 9, 2013 at 6:16 pm

The Cardinal Theatre was a 2-screen theatre through the end of 1983. I know because I managed the theatre in 1983 before being transferred to another. (My best guess is that it became a triple screen around 1985.) The big auditorium played Return of the Jedi in the summer of 1983. We had long lines. Jedi actually opened up in Rocky Mount a few weeks after it opened in Raleigh. Employees wore Star Wars costumes and we cross promoted the film with Tarrytown Mall. I recall a coloring contest where we gave away Star Wars toys. We also had a torpedo style trash can painted like R2-D2. The smaller auditorium was added before 1983…probably the late 1970s. In 1983, we played first run movies (Jedi, Risky Business, Twilight Zone, Breathless, Krull, etc.) Also in the summer of 1983, we had kiddy movies every Tues-Thurs morning. We had a few late shows…mainly horror and Rocky Horror. The theatre was operated by Plitt Southern Theatres. Ushers wore red coats. The ladies wore smocks. I had a great staff that year. They were mainly high school kids. There was a marquee on the building and a sign at the top of the hill on Sunset Ave. Behind the theatre was an abandoned mini golf (Putt Putt) place. K-Mart was still operating. Next door was a chinese restaurant. A coin operated laundry mat was a few shops down the sidewalk. While in Rocky Mount in 2011, I stopped by the old theatre. It was abandoned. Trashy looking. I have a few photos of the theatre from 1983.

NightHawk1 on January 2, 2013 at 2:55 am

The former Cardinal 3 Theatres are still standing; they have not been demolished. I do not know if the bingo parlor that was in this building is still operating, but the building is still there.

NightHawk1 on September 11, 2012 at 2:37 pm

K-Mart (Crossroads) Plaza and the Cardinal Theatres 3 were on the opposite side of Wesleyan Boulevard (US 301) from Tarrytown Mall (now Sam’s Club). Stone Rose Drive led into Tarrytown Mall’s parking lot, making it possible to go from the mall to the Cardinal without getting onto Sunset.

NightHawk1 on July 11, 2012 at 9:23 am

The shopping center housing the Cardinal Theatres was renamed Crossroads Plaza after K-Mart moved to a new store on Sutters Creek Boulevard, next to Golden East Crossing.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 10, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Of course it was first run when ABC and Plitt had it,When Carmike comes on the scene the writing is on the wall, go to REMEMBERING PLITT THEATRES on Facebook for more PLITT info.

NightHawk1 on April 1, 2012 at 4:43 am

This theater was flooded by Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Nearly a year later Carmike reopened the Cardinal 3 (it had been a three screen theater since the early 1980s) as a dollar house, a format Cineplex Odeon tried there after opening the Golden East 4 (later the RM Cinema Grill). Carmike returned the Cardinal to first-run status after they bought Cineplex Odeon’s Carolinas theaters, moving second-run product in Rocky Mount to the Englewood and Oakwood Twins (former Stewart-Everett houses). Carmike had abandoned the twin theaters by the time Floyd hit Rocky Mount, and needed to get an edge on the newly opened UEC Premiere 12 (now 14) multiplex. Reopening the Cardinal was Carmike’s response to the Premiere 12; Carmike could charge full price at the Golden East 4 while undercutting Premiere’s prices with second-runs at the Cardinal. The second-run strategy for the Cardinal failed miserably. Carmike shut down the Cardinal 3 about a month after reopening it, as they were going bankrupt at that time. The Cardinal has since been used as a church and a bingo parlor.

raysson on April 1, 2012 at 12:28 am

The Cardinal was one of several “Ultravision” theatres that ABC Southeastern opened during the 1970’s. Last owned by Carmike Cinemas when it closed in 1999.

This was a nice theatre when ABC and Plitt had it.