Village Plaza 5

141 South Elliott Road,
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

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Plaza Theater 5, Chapel Hill, NC - Spider-Man/Men in Black double feature

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Plaza Theatres 1 & 2 opened on October 16, 1970 as Chapel Hill’s first-ever twin theatres. Located in the Kroger Plaza Shopping Center at the corner of Elliott Road and East Franklin Street that was owned and operated under Eastern Federal Corporation. At the time of it’s opening the premiere attractions for the grand opening of the Plaza Theatres 1 & 2 were the Triangle engagement of “Patton” starring George C. Scott and “Monte Walsh” starring Lee Marvin. By 1973,a third auditorium was added to its expansion to screen 70mm presentations and later on a Dobly Stereo System was added for its bigger features.

Two more screens were added in the mid-1990’s when the second auditorium and its third auditorium were split into two sections, creating shoebox auditoriums with smaller screens. By the late-1990’s, auditorium one was split down the middle as well creating two shoebox size auditoriums. It closed in 2003, and was demolished in mid-2004 to make way for construction of a new ten screen by the same name which would feature stadium seating and digital sound, something the old Plaza was not equipped for, that was to be operated under Eastern Federal.

The proposed ten-plex for this site fell through when Regal bought out Eastern Federal which lead to other factors that made Regal Cinemas not to build the proposed theater. The lot where the Village Plaza Theatres once stood is now vacant.

Contributed by raysson

Recent comments (view all 22 comments)

raysson on November 14, 2012 at 4:36 pm

March 13,1974…Showing at the Village Plaza Theatres,aka Plaza 3…

William Friedkin’s THE EXORCIST….No Passes Accepted-Rated “R”

WARNING: Due to the frank and graphic nature of this motion picture,the management of this theatre has recommended that No One Under 17 Years of age will not be admitted without parental consent. Identification for admission to this feature will be asked.

raysson on December 14, 2012 at 8:48 am

Nighthawk1: About Ambassador Theatre or Carmike’s decision to build another movie theater in Chapel Hill where the former Borders Book Store used to be at the intersection of Sage Road and Fordham Blvd.(15-501) near Lowe’s Home Improvement……

That deal was rejected….the former Borders Book Store has been taken over when administrative officials with UNC Health Care and North Carolina Medical Systems decide to open a medical office there. The decision to put a movie theater there would be a striking blow to Carmike’s involvement of opening another multiplex there. So the deal is off. The only two mainstream movie houses in Chapel Hill are on the Northern end of the city is the Timberlyne 6 under Regal Cinemas,and the Lumina Theatres on the Southern end of the city under Ambassador Entertainment.

NightHawk1 on November 20, 2013 at 1:04 am

Carmike won’t be retuning to Chapel Hill anytime soon. A new 13-screen multiplex is planned for University Mall, replacing Dillard’s (which is pulling out of Chapel Hill). According to the new theater will be operated by Silverspot Cinema, a South American-owned chain.

Crossroads on January 2, 2014 at 4:19 pm

FYI – Dolby Stereo was installed in third auditorium prior to 1978 “Grease” release, rather than “Empire Strikes Back” although the latter used the same auditorium/system a year or so later.

Coate on January 2, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Dolby’s install records from the summer 1978 period (when “Grease” opened) make no reference to this theater, suggesting the install took place during a later timeframe, the records are incorrect, or a Dolby-compatible competitor format system was what was installed.

Crossroads on April 12, 2014 at 5:14 pm

That’s right. The system was actually in place in time for the premier of “Alien” in Spring ‘79.

raysson on April 25, 2014 at 12:45 pm

FYI-A Dolby Stereo System was installed in the cinema’s third auditorium in the Spring of 1978 prior to the opening of “Grease” which played here in Dolby Stereo during the summer of 1978. “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” played here in the fall of 1978 as a re-release issue in Dolby. The system was already in place for the Triangle showing of “Alien” which played here on June 22,1979 in Dolby Stereo. It was already up and running in time for the Triangle showing of “The Empire Strikes Back” on June 20,1980 in Dolby Stereo. Also to point out it did show a lot of films with Dolby Stereo presentations…among them “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”, “Purple Rain”, “The Goonies”, “Extreme Prejudice”, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”.

Crossroads on May 4, 2014 at 7:34 pm

Foggy memory here. I originally thought it was spring of 1978 – I was actually involved in the install but could not remember the exact date(s). I was pretty sure the installation happened before Grease.

Coate on May 5, 2014 at 8:02 am

raysson’s latest comment contradicts my comment from January 2nd. Per his request, I recently sent him some information pertaining to early Dolby installations in North Carolina, but, unfortunately, it would appear he has misinterpreted that info. What I had mentioned to him in regard to this theater was that Dolby’s records suggest a timeframe of no earlier than December 1978 and no later than July 1980 as when this theater first had installed a Dolby cinema processor. If, however, he insists a Dolby unit was in place in time for “Grease” (June 1978), well, let him prove it!

(raysson: How is “Dolby” handled in the Chapel Hill newspaper ads for “Grease”? Is there explicit text indicating a Dolby presentation and/or new sound system installtion? If it’s merely the Dolby logo embedded into the ad, then I hardly think that qualifies as an indicator this theater ran “Grease” in Dolby Stereo.)

Crossroads on August 10, 2017 at 7:28 pm

The Dolby system was indeed installed prior to the release of Grease in 1978. As I stated earlier, I was personally involved in the installation, overseen by William Shearer, company engineer from Atlanta. We tested the system – holy cow it was nice and sounded great for Grease. The only proof I have is first hand experience and at least one other guy involved in the installation. No big deal really. I managed this theater for a time – trained there as well during which time the install took place – early 1978 without a doubt.

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