Gem Theatre

111 W. 1st Street,
Kannapolis, NC 28081

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Showing 1 - 25 of 77 comments

DavidZornig on August 22, 2017 at 8:39 pm

1970 photo added courtesy of the Cannon Mills, Kannapolis, NC 1887-2003 Facebook page.

QualityGEMsNC on January 22, 2015 at 9:10 pm

I’ve been working at the GEM Theatre for 8 years coming up in February, and it is an awesome place to be at. My first major movie that I worked was “Ghost Rider” with Nicholas Cage in early 2007. Many of the relics of the past still accompany the theater, like the older style curtains, the art deco over the side speakers, and the old Century projector. I have been a projectionist since late 2007-early 2008 and I have seen the projection equipment change over time from 35mm to full digital. Right now we are using a digital projector, which has a beautiful picture with full 5.1 surround sound. I like the new projector for it’s automation and computer capabilities, but I miss the simplicity of the 35mm Century projector and how each different projectionist had his own way of making the transitions work.

The info on this site is a little behind, but you can find out all you want to know from our website at and I will provide some of the info as well. We are no longer cash only, as we do accept credit & debit cards from Visa, MasterCard, and Discover. Movie Prices before 6PM are $4 for everyone, after 6PM $4 for children 2-12 (children under 2 are free) and seniors 55+ and $5 for adults. Summer Movie Matinees will be cheaper, but usually aren’t new/first run movies. You can preorder tickets online from or from our website at and we have an easy to use mobile site as well! Concession prices are as follows: Fresh and Delicious GEM-Theatre Popcorn: $1.75 Small, $2.50 Medium, $4 Large. Pepsi soda drinks: $1.75 Small, $2 Medium, $2.50 Large. All Candy are $1 each. Siberian Chill slushies are $2.50 Small and $3.50 Large. Bottled Water, Gatorade and Green Teas are $2 each. NEW DippinDots icecreams are $4 per pouch.

I grew up in this theatre, I’ve worked in thins theatre, I’ve brought dates to this theatre. It’s the greatest theatre in my opinion because it’s affordable and we get the majority of big releases. I hope all of you can visit and enjoy your time at Kannapolis' Jewel, the GEM Theatre!

buffalodavid on March 6, 2012 at 11:51 pm

I was an usher there in the late sixties. The first movie when I worked there was The Dirty Dozen. There were trap doors and hidden passageways everywhere. I’ve been told that the hidden telephone booth is still on the second floor, and is still hidden. I used to change the marquee, and rearrange the letters , just for a few minutes. Then change them back. Once, the movie was , A Man Called Dager. It was supposed to say “ A Secret Agent You’ll Get Stuck On”. For a few minutes it said … You Can Suck On.

Once, we showed “ Nobody’s Perfect” and I put the P in backwards. I got caught, but Clyde, the manager liked it and told me to leave it in.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 20, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Might have been for small towns,Hope the print was decent.still wish I would have kept that one-sheet.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 22, 2011 at 5:17 pm

I loved that one-sheet on “OSTERMAN WEEKEND” we played it 1983 I think,so by the time they got it it must have been second run.I wish I would have kept the one-sheet instead of giving it away.Great pictures.

towelcitycanon on January 10, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Hello, Cinema! Nice to see this site. My hometown, Kannapolis, NC’s Gem Theatre, boasts lots of history and it’s very nice to see others throughout this country and the diversity the offer. I’m a photographer and graphic designer here and try to capture images as often as I can. Please visit, to see my gallery. Thanks!

kenbob62 on April 22, 2009 at 5:20 pm

Also have a picture of the Colonel here

View link

kenbob62 on April 22, 2009 at 10:21 am

Here are a few old photos of the Gem from a book I have.

View link

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kenbob62 on April 22, 2009 at 5:53 am

The Gem is my farorite theater I have gone there my whole life and I belive it will be open for a long time.

View link

kenbob62 on April 22, 2009 at 5:10 am

The site of the Colonet theater is here

View link

kenbob62 on April 21, 2009 at 7:26 am

Yes and there was one other that I don’t have a picture of called the colonel that was on north Main st. that burned down 10years after it closed. It is now a parking lot.

kenbob62 on April 20, 2009 at 5:38 pm

The Dixie is no longer there it was demolished to build a bank.

kenbob62 on April 20, 2009 at 5:36 pm

The YMCA theater was across the street from where the Gem is now. the GEM was built to replace that theater and it was planned by Charles Cannon CEO of Cannon Mills to be the show place of show places in that part of the world. The Gem had the same projection cameras and sound system as Radio City Music hall and every thing was built to make what was then and still is the show place of Kannapolis. As for the other theaters in Kannapolis here are the pictures of the buildings of the remaining movie house still standing.

The Main on N. Cannon Blvd. View link

The Swanee
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The Palace
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The Dixie
View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 27, 2009 at 11:57 pm

I’ve dug up a bit more information about the Colonial Theatre, subject of some discussion above, but there are still some gaps (such as no address and no original opening date) so if anyone has additional information about it, please post it at the Cinema Treasures Colonial Theatre page.

Also, although the Gem Theatre web site says that the YMCA Theatre was destroyed by fire in 1936, the May 8, 1937, issue of Boxoffice Magazine reported that, among the visitors to film row in Charlotte that week, was W.A. Powell of the YMCA Theatre in Kannapolis. Sounds like it was still open.

And then the January 8, 1938, issue of Boxoffice carried an item headed “Kannapolis Fire Costly” which said: “Fire destroyed the YMCA Theatre here recently, originating from causes as yet undetermined. The ‘Y’ and the theatre building were erected as one unit in 1922 by the Cannon Mills at a cost of $500,000.”

I’ve heard that time moves more slowly in the South, so perhaps it was still 1936 in North Carolina when the YMCA burned, but already rolling into 1938 in the rest of the world? But if that is so, what am I to make of the fact that the Cabarrus Genealogical Society tells me the Gem itself was built in 1938? Perhaps time isn’t slower in the South, but simply a bit eccentric?

Or was it the case, as later issues of Boxoffice reported, that it was the Dixie Theatre, not the Gem, which was built to replace the YMCA Theatre? Maybe somebody in Kannapolis could check the archives of the local newspaper to clear up this temporal confusion.

ERD on March 27, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Steve Morris looks like a very kind person. I hope the Gem Theatrre continues for a long time to entertain the area. It’s an attractive theatre.

pote1995 on March 20, 2009 at 5:12 am

Steve, I know you are being inundated with requests, but could you send me a photo of the Colonial? My e-mail is Thanks

Susan Walker
Susan Walker on March 20, 2009 at 4:58 am

Steve, could you send pictures of the Colonial to me as well? My e-mail is Thanks so much!

Alto on March 19, 2009 at 5:05 pm

Gem Theatre featured on “NBC Nightly News” Telecast

The “Making a Difference” segment on March 19th’s “NBC Nightly News” featured Kannapolis, North Carolina’s historic Gem Theatre. Its “Recession Buster” movie screenings, which made headlines in the Cabarrus County area, are now national news.

The shows, scheduled on Wednesday evenings, routinely sell out the theatre’s 900 seats with free admission and sharply-discounted concessions prices. According to the feature story, textile mills closed several years ago, resulting in a local unemployment rate as high as 10%. The Gem’s General Manager, Steve Morris, says it’s his way of giving back to a community that has supported the historic theatre for many years, through good times and bad.

The Depression-era, Art Deco showplace dates back to 1936, when movie entertainment routinely served as an inexpensive means of “escapism” during troubled economic times.

See mention of the telecast in the local print media:
View link

See video of the telecast:

Thomas2 on March 19, 2009 at 12:55 pm

To: Steve Williams, Hi. Could you email the Colonial picture to me at ? Thank you so much. Thomas

Thomas2 on February 26, 2009 at 5:26 pm

Thank you, Steve.

I can remember going on, I think, a Saturday morning when they offered a special admittance including a Popsicle for a nickel. It must have been very near the end of the Colonial. I am so grateful to you for providing the name.

steviliam on February 26, 2009 at 2:20 pm

I’m new to this wonderful site and I offer a belated answer to Thomas2:

The theater you remember was the COLONIAL, located on North Main Street in Kannapolis. It was the first Kannapolis theater to go out of business (1955). And, unlike the other closed theaters that were almost immediately converted to other business, the Colonial sat unused for many years. I have a picture taken about ten years after it closed. Perhaps I can post it if the add-a-photo feature gets up and running!

Patsy on February 13, 2009 at 11:49 am

In the recent Charlotte Observer (Feb. 13th) there is an article entitled A Gem of a Deal: Free Movies.

View link

longislandmovies on January 3, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Icant believe the numbers on this theater…..Very nice for 1 screen… 1 st run now,

Patsy on July 4, 2008 at 8:38 pm

EagleArt Gallery: Enjoyed the phone pictures of the Gem’s concession area. Thanks.