Carmike Willowdaile Cinema 8

1501 Horton Road,
Durham, NC 27705

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Carmike Cinemas

Styles: Spanish Renaissance

Previous Names: Willowdaile Cinema 8

Nearby Theaters

Willowdaile Cinemas

Opening on December 12, 1986, the Willowdaile Cinema became the second multiplex theater to open in the greater Raleigh-Durham area, and the first 8-screen theatre to open under Carmike Cinemas. The theatre was located in the northern section of Durham at Willowdaille Shopping Center at the intersection of Horton Road and Guess Road. The theatre consisted of two large auditoriums with a seating capacity of 500, with full Dolby Stereo Sound and widescreen projection for bigger presentations. The premiere attractions for its grand opening were Eddie Murphy in “The Golden Child” and Steve Martin in “The Three Amigos” which played each in two auditoriums along with other showings.

The Willowdaille Cinema was the place to come and see some of Hollywood’s best as well as exclusive engagements and premiere showings that got first-run billing.. By the early 2000’s, the Willowdaile Cinema had fallen on hard times due to the increased number of newer, more sophisticated mulitplex cinema that were being built that had changed the demographics on the section of town, not to mention the lengthy road widening road project on Guess Road that took five years to complete. By June 2, 2005, after more than 19 years of serving the greater Durham and surrounding communities, the Willowdaille Cinema 8 closed its doors forever. It was demolished in mid-2006 to make way for a Harris Teeter grocer that opened in mid-2009 on the site where the Willowdaille Cinema 8 had once stood.

Contributed by Jimmy Storey, raysson

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

raysson on June 18, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Mike Rogers, The Willowdaile Cinemas opened to the public on December 12, 1986 and it became Durham’s second multiplex theatre since the opening of the South Square Mall Cinemas in December of 1975. The opening attractions were “The Three Amigos”,but the crowds really showed up for the screening of “The Golden Child” starring Eddie Murphy for it’s official opening playing in the largest auditorium with a seaing capacity of 500 and with full Dobly Stereo Sound.

raysson on June 27, 2012 at 12:14 pm

The Willowdaile Cinema 8 closed its doors forever on June 2, 2005. It was demolished to make room for a super 52,000 square foot Harris Teeter grocer that opened in mid-2009 where the cinema once stood in North Durham.

raysson on July 24, 2012 at 7:11 am

Mike, The Willowdaile Cinema 8 was located on the Northern end of the city at the corner of Guess and Horton Roads,and it was the first multiplex theatre operating under Carmike Cinemas. The theatre was in operation from 1986 until 2005(spanning 19 years). This theatre got the first-run blockbusters and it was also the first to show exclusive engagements not to mention this theatre got to show in 1990 the first-ever “NC-17” flick “Henry and June” to play at this theatre. It also got the exclusive engagement showing to several films that made there world premiere showings ever in North Carolina at the Willowdaile…..Tony Brown’s “The White Girl” played here first-run as well as the erotic thriller “Trois”. Other movies that were crowd pleasers..“School Daze”, “Toy Story”, “Home Alone”, “Titanic”, “Coming To America”, “Lethal Weapons II, III, IV”, “Die Hard I”, “Die Hard II”, “Die Hard III”, “Spider-Man”, “X-Men”, “Star Wars:The Phantom Menace”, “Attack of the Clones”, “Toy Story II”, “The Passion of the Christ”,and many more. The theatre closed on June 2, 2005 after more than 19 years and was demolished in early 2006 to make room for a 52,000 square foot Harris Teeter grocer that opened in November of 2009 where the movie theatre once stood.

raysson on July 24, 2012 at 7:19 am

THE OPENING ATTRACTIONS FOR THE WILLOWDAILE CINEMAS: From it’s grand opening on December 12, 1986.

-Showing on Two Screens: Chevy Chase and Dan Ackroyd
with Martin Short starring in “THE THREE AMIGOS”

-Showing on Two Screens: Eddie Murphy in DOBLY STEREO starring in “THE GOLDEN CHILD”

“JUMPIN JACK FLASH”-Whoopi Goldberg


“HEARTBREAK RIDGE”– Clint Eastwood

“TOP GUN”-Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer

“NOTHING IN COMMON”-Tom Hanks and Jackie Gleason


“STAR TREK IV”-William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy

“ENEMY MINE”– Louis Gossett,Jr. and Dennis Quaid


raysson on July 24, 2012 at 7:25 am

Not only did THE GOLDEN CHILD played on two screens at the Willowdaile,but it also did BIG BUSINESS playing in it’s largest auditorium in DOBLY STEREO with a seating capacity of 500. It made have been a flop,but anything with Eddie Murphy drew in huge crowds on December 12, 1986.


“Beverly Hills Cop II”, “Beverly Hills Cop III”, “Another 48 Hours”, “Hook”, “Rocky IV”, “Rocky V”, “The Polar Express”, “All the James Bond 007 films with Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan played here from "The Living Daylights” to “Die Another Day”. “Home Alone II”, and more………

Durhamites: What were your best memories of going to the Willowdaile Cinema and what was your favorite?

raysson on October 16, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Mike and Chuck1231: I was THERE when the Willowdaile Cinema had the exclusive engagement showings of “TROIS” and the only showing in the Carolinas for Tony Brown’s “THE WHITE GIRL”. These were the type of movies that brought in HUGE black audiences!

raysson on February 11, 2014 at 1:15 pm

“TROIS” starred Blair Underwood and Kenya Moore.

“THE WHITE GIRL” was filmed on location in Durham and surrounding areas that was directed by media correspondent and talk show host Tony Brown. The film starred Troy Beyer and Tony Terry. Christopher Williams made his movie debut in this film(a year before New Jack City)..the world premiere was at Durham’s Willowdaile Cinema in 1990.

Also played here first-run at Willowdaile Cinemas….





and so much more……

Lundjr on October 22, 2014 at 6:50 pm

The Willowdaile didn’t have a auditorium that would seat 500. The biggest auditorium it had was 300. I managed the theatre for 1.5 years.

Chris1982 on October 23, 2014 at 1:33 am

Lund, do you recall what the total seating was for the theatre?

Lundjr on October 25, 2014 at 8:26 am

I don’t remember. But I do know the biggest auditorium was 300.

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