Capri Theater

3500 East Independence Boulevard,
Charlotte, NC 28205

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Capri Theatre - 1966

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The Capri Theatre opened on October 16, 1964, with 995 seats. The opening film was Polly Bergan “Kisses For my President” It was a single screen theatre owned and was operated by Charlotte based Stewart and Everett Theatres. The theatre itself was a real showplace and it was the second moviehouse to open that year (the other was the Park Terrace Theatre which opened in May). It was also the second cinema along Independence Boulevard (the other was the Charlottetown I & II, owned and operated by General Cinema, which opened in 1963 as one of the first twin theatres to be established in North Carolina).

The overall decor of the Capri Theatre (with its ‘upside-down’ pyramids overlooking the front entrance) were impressive state of the art features of its interior, that were revolutionary for its day, and Charlotte loved it. The seating was plush, rocking chair seats and it had brilliant widescreen projection that was capable of showing both 35mm & 70mm films.

The Capri Theatre became the first to show premiere engagements, that were exclusive to North Carolina. The Rex Harrison, Audrey Hepburn musical “My Fair Lady” had its North Carolina Premiere engagement here in 1964 where it played to capacity crowds during its exclusive roadshow run. Other N.C. Premiere’s that played the Capri Theatre were “Thoroughly Modern Millie” in 1967, as well as the documentary feature “Stockcar” in 1967 when it was still a single screen theatre.

The theatre was ‘twinned’ in the mid-1970’s, when a second building was constructed that had 400 seats. By the early 1980’s, the original auditorium was split into two screens down the centre, making it a triple screen operation, now with a total seating capacity for 1,286. By 1986, the theatre was acquired by Carmike Cinemas, and by 1996, the Capri Theatre was closed.

Contributed by muray, raymond

Recent comments (view all 65 comments)

PatriciaCarol
PatriciaCarol on March 3, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Don’t know how busy it was in 1982 with “E.T.” – I left in 1975 – didn’t remember that picture playing first run there either. About the ads – do you mean you have the tear sheets? (from the newspaper) Or do you mean you have the actual paste-ups? I’ll email you.

Jay Morong
Jay Morong on July 26, 2012 at 8:19 pm

I am working on a project on “Lost” Charlotte Movie Theaters for UNC-Charlotte where i am a faculty member. Would love to get in touch with anyone who as insight into this theater (stories, pics, whatever). You can send me an email at and hopefully we can talk about your interest or info on the lost theaters of Charlotte. – Thanks

NightHawk1
NightHawk1 on September 3, 2012 at 3:18 pm

In my opinion the Capri was the best looking theater Stewart & Everett ever built; S&E apparently never used the Capri’s design for any other location – this was obviously S&E’s flagship until they opened the Town Cinema 6 in the 1980s (The Town Cinema was cloned several times, unlike the Capri). Under Carmike the Capri and Village theaters were run as dollar houses; the Village closed first (about 1989) and the Capri closed after Carmike took over Cineplex Odeon’s NC theaters (Park Terrace and Matthews Festival 10 in the Charlotte area) in 1990. The Capri Theater closed long before 1996; AKA Capri 1 & 2, Capri 1-2-3, and finally Capri Triple.

tccox
tccox on January 25, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Nighthawk1 The Capri was a single screen , 995 seat theatre from the time it opened until I left in 1974. Second and third screens were added after 1974

raysson
raysson on March 4, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn in THE LION IN WINTER played here as a reserved seat engagement at Charlotte’s Capri Theatre on February 12, 1969. It was the ONLY roadshow presentation that played within the two Carolinas with two performances during each showing.

Jay Morong
Jay Morong on July 5, 2013 at 11:06 pm

In doing some research on this theater i have found out that the theater actually opened on October 16th, 1964 and not on November 2nd as listed above. Not a huge deal but thought it would be good to post. I will post a picture of the opening night ad that proclaims the theater as “a new concept in theatre design” and also a blurb about the opening of the theater in the photo section.

raysson
raysson on July 10, 2013 at 2:38 pm

THE RESERVED SEATING CAROLINA ENGAGEMENT SHOWINGS @ CAPRI

“Thoroughly Modern Millie”-June 14,1967

“My Fair Lady”-January 27,1965

“The Agony and the Ecstasy”-January 26,1966

“The Hallelujah Trail”-October 7,1965

“The Lion In Winter”-February 12,1969

binchwb
binchwb on July 6, 2016 at 8:14 am

I love that one of the pictures online is of “Star Trek – The Motion Picture” playing at the Capri – saw it there multiple times. Back when the movie was released, McDonald’s ran a Happy Meal tie-in campaign. What made it more special is if you brought your empty Star Trek Happy Meal box to the Capri, they would fill it with popcorn for free. I had a stack of those boxes (all legitimately purchased), so I honestly don’t recall how many times I saw that picture, maybe 3 or 4.

I saw many, many movies at the Capri through the 70s and 80s. At the moment, only “Star Trek – TMP,” “Superman III,” “ and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” are springing to mind. I remember very well that one of the auditoriums had a stage. I only ever saw maybe someone during a radio station promotion on that stage, though.

I had a very, very brief work experience at the Capri in the late 80s, when it was a second-run house and sadly on it’s way out. I worked at the Town Cinema 6 over by UNCC and they were both run by Carmike at the time. We frequently ran supplies back and forth to each theater (CO2 tanks, popcorn oil drums, etc.), so we were all familiar with each other. After a management change, a buddy of mine at Town Cinema, where we were both assistant or relief managers, was asked to come over and help manage the Capri.

At that time, the Capri was run by a family (or at least the manager had employed her son), and I think higher management wanted someone (competent) to come in and help them – don’t mean to step on any toes, but the manager was an older lady and her adult son kept sidling up to me saying “Mama is gonna clean house.” Guess they had additional staff issues, but he didn’t elaborate.

I went over one evening with some sort of delivery and my buddy gave me a tour of the place (not the stage area – didn’t even think of it at the time). I had gotten used to having a popcorn popper in the concession area, so seeing that the Capri’s was upstairs by the projector booth was strange to me.

When a show was about to start that night, I jumped behind the concession stand to help (I don’t think they needed me to, but I was trying to justify hanging out there – I always liked the place). No one warned me, but their butter pump had a heck of a kickback. One pump and I was wearing the oil when it splashed all over the top of the popcorn. Oh well, it was still fun. I wish I had hung out more there while it was still in operation. A great old theater!

raysson
raysson on July 6, 2016 at 3:55 pm

binchwb: You probably worked there when they showed “E.T.” too which brought in capacity crowds in 1982. Also played here was the original “Lethal Weapon” movie in 1987.

binchwb
binchwb on July 6, 2016 at 4:26 pm

Well, no. I did see E.T. at the Capri, but I was 11 at the time. Saw Lethal Weapon at a General Cinema in Pineville that had just opened. We had Lethal Weapon 2 at Town Cinema 6 in 1989 while I was there. Talk about capacity crowds, “Friday the 13th Part VII – The New Blood” sold out on Friday, May 13th 1988 at TC6. That was a wild crowd.

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