Village Plaza 5

141 South Elliott Road,
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

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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.

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 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.

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 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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

NightHawk1 on August 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Last comment should be: Ambassador’s largest current theater is Six Forks Station 6 in Raleigh – (not Mission Valley 5).

NightHawk1 on August 14, 2012 at 2:26 pm

I uploaded yesterday a 2002 photo of the Village Plaza 5 at night (the car in the foreground was mine). Raysson: your comments regarding the multiplex shenanigans in Chapel Hill are interesting. If Ambassador builds the new theater, it will most likely be eight screens or less – Ambassador’s largest current theater is the Mission Valley 5 in Raleigh. Carmike would likely put a 14-screen or 16-screen multiplex there, although it may cut into the Wynnsong 15’s business up the road in Durham. Still, I like the idea of Carmike re-entering Chapel Hill – it would be a thorn in the side of all those who pressured Regal not to build there. To the best of my knowledge it would be only the third Carmike built in North Carolina since they emerged from bankruptcy (Jacksonville’s 16-plex and Wilson’s 10-screen are the others).

raysson on August 13, 2012 at 12:10 pm

About to be mention here as well: Regal recently had plans to built a multiplex right off Fordham Boulevard at the intersection of Sage Road(where the former site which was Borders Book Store that closed its doors in early 2011)right next door to the Lowes Home Improvement Warehouse that was convenience to nearby Highway 15-501 and not far from where the original Village Plaza Theatres were located. Guess what?

Regal rejected that idea not to build a multiplex cinema on the site of the former Borders Book Store,not to even mention the environmentalists and the backward liberals who are on the board committee of the Chapel Hill Town Council and the upper management of the powers that be at Regal Entertainment who decided not to do so.

However,it is still up in the air,as Ambassador Entertainment(which is based in Raleigh under founder and CEO Bill Peebles that has three movie theatres operating in the Raleigh area plus the Lumina Theatres at Southern Village that is based in Chapel Hill) is looking to add another cinema on that section of town where the former Borders Book Store used to be! Also eyeing this is Carmike as well!!!

raysson on August 13, 2012 at 9:50 am

From 1970 to 2003,Eastern Federal Corporation operated this theatre. This was NEVER under Regal Cinemas. It closed in 2003 before Regal was to take over.

The Movies at Timberlyne 6 is the only theatre in Chapel Hill that Regal bought out from Eastern Federal…..

Other theatres that Regal took over from Eastern Federal:

-North Hills Cinemas 14

-The Movies at Brier Creek

Other theatres that Regal took over from Consolidated:

-White Oak Cinemas 14 in Garner

-Beaver Creek Commons in Apex

-Crossroads Cinemas 20 in Cary

raysson on August 13, 2012 at 9:44 am

A lot of good movies played here got first-run…….


“The French Connection”

“The Exorcist”



“The Poseidon Adventure” (1972)

“The Towering Inferno”

“Purple Rain”

“The Empire Strikes Back”

“Terminator 3: Day of the Machines”

“Dirty Harry”

“Mangum Force”

“Beneath the Planet of the Apes”

“Escape from the Planet of the Apes”

“Conquest of the Planet of the Apes”

“Battle for the Planet of the Apes”

“Blazing Saddles”

“Young Frankenstein”

“Live and Let Die”

“The Spy Who Loved Me”

“Stayin Alive”–[the sequel to Saturday Night Fever]

“Indiana Jones and the Temple Doom”

“Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”

“Harold and Maude”

“A Man Called Horse”


“Raging Bull”

“The Godfather:Part II”


raysson on August 13, 2012 at 9:38 am

A lot of good movies played here at this theatre first run…….


–“Gone With The Wind”

–“Lawrence of Arabia”

–“2001: A Space Odyssey”

–“Doctor Zhivago”


raysson on August 13, 2012 at 9:35 am

From May 2,2012: NightHawk was exactly right about this theatre. When it closed in 2003,the proposed multiplex(a ten-screener)fell through when Knoxville,Tennessee based Regal Cinemas bought out Charlotte-based Eastern Federal and it’s Movies at Timberlyne 6(that theatre opened in 1989 on the Northern section of Chapel Hill that is posted on the Cinema Treasures site),and two other locations in the Triangle that were also under Eastern Federal as well…Raleigh’s North Hills 14 and Movies at Brier Creek(that is now under Regal Cinemas). Most of Regal’s North Carolina locations came from four chains…Fairlane-Litchfeld(the second incarnation),and United Artists(which bought out the first incarnation of Litchfeld). Eastern Federal and Consolidated Theatres were the other two(its final incarnation as an all-stadium theatre chain). Regal also had a hand in buying out theatres that were once under Cineplex Odeon and also Carmike.

There were other factors leading to the cancellation of the ten-screen Village Plaza Theater which was set to start construction in 2004 after the old Plaza Theatre was demolished. One of the factors was the building contract that was pushed back by members of the Chapel Hill Town Council and other parties who had other plans for this theatre. There were plans to built a ten-screen multiplex right off Highway 15-501 on the site where a formerly auto dealership stood(the former Crown Honda and Volvo)…There were talks of building a 20-plex on that same site,but that fell through as well. But the backward liberals of the Chapel Hill Town Council blocked the idea of this too. Rent was also another factor as new stores were set to be built along that stretch of the Village Plaza Shopping Center…(the Kroger store closed in the early-1990’s and was replaced by a Whole Foods grocer and specialty shops). Regal simply chose not to build the proposed theater on that site where it remains vacant to this day as council members recently made the former Village Plaza site into an environmental park. Comments?

raysson on August 13, 2012 at 9:17 am

The re-release of George Lucas' STAR WARS played here at the Village Plaza I-II-III on August 11,1978.

raysson on August 13, 2012 at 9:01 am

This is what I found from the article that was featured in the Friday October 16,1970 edition of the Durham Herald-Sun and the Chapel Hill News about the theater….


THE VILLAGE PLAZA THEATRES 1 & 2 Located in the Kroger Plaza Shopping Center at the corner of Elliott Road and East Franklin Street. -Full Rocking Chair Seats For Maximum Comfort -Super Widescreen Projection in both auditoriums -Astounding stereophonic sound in both auditoriums -Huge Lobby Area and Super Concession Stand Available for your convenience! -ACRES OF FREE PARKING!!! -SUPER BARGAIN SHOWS WITH MATINEES EVERYDAY!!!!


PLAZA 1-Lee Marvin starring in “MONTE WALSH”

PLAZA 2-The Exclusive Triangle Engagement Showing in FULL STEREOPHONIC SOUND ON OUR SUPER WIDESCREEN!!!!
-The colossal hit of the year comes to the Triangle!!!!
George C. Scott and Karl Malden in “PATTON”


-The massive colossal hit of 1970- “AIRPORT” with an all-star cast that includes Burt Lancaster and Dean Martin.

-Dustin Hoffman and Faye Dunaway in “LITTLE BIG MAN”

–“BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES” with Charlton Heston.

-Jack Nicholson in “FIVE EASY PIECES”

-The Return Engagement of “GONE WITH THE WIND”

-Woody Allen in “TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN”

raysson on August 13, 2012 at 8:45 am

The third auditorium had a much larger widescreen that was equipped for 70MM presentations. A DOBLY STEREO system was installed in 1980 for the showing “THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK”(In Screen 3)during its initial run.

raysson on August 13, 2012 at 8:42 am

The Village Plaza Theatres was a Chapel Hill landmark for 33 years operating from 1970 to 2003. Located at the corner of Elliott Road and East Franklin Street in the Village Plaza Shopping Center(which was also known as the Kroger Plaza Shopping Center that was anchored by a Super Kroger Center and specialty shops). It opened in 1970 as a twin cinema and by 1973 a third auditorium was added becoming a triplex. Two more auditoriums were added in the mid-1990’s when it became a multiplex until it’s closing in 2003.

raysson on August 13, 2012 at 8:38 am

Lots of bureaucracy from 2003 regarding the closing of this theater…..