Center Theatre 4
2000 Chapel Hill Road,
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Architects: William Bringhurst McGehee
Firms: Six Associates
Previous Names: Lakewood Center Theatre, Centre 1 & 2, Center Triple
Located in the Lakewood Shopping Center, it opened on November 24, 1966 as the Lakewood Center Theatre. It was the Triangle’s first Ultravision theatre and the first modern design theatre that had rocking chair seating (with reserved sections), six-channel stereophonic sound and a 180-degree Ultravision widescreen that was capable of showing bigger presentations. The auditorium was huge and spacious with a seating capacity of 800. It was one of several designed by architectural firm Six Associates. By October 24, 1971, a second auditorium was built adjacent to the original, that was also a 180-degree Ultravision screen, and a seating capacity of 600. It was re-named Center 1 & 2 under ABC Southeastern Theatres. By 1983, the original auditorium was split down the middle into two sections creating two shoe-box auditoriums that had smaller screens and 400 seats in each when it was under Plitt Southern Theatres.
By 1986, the second auditorium was split down the middle into two sections as well, that made the auditoriums seem quite long and narrow with 300 seats in each, making this a four screen quad cinema complex, now run by Cineplex Odeon. Carmike Cinemas took over this theatre in 1991, when it still proved quite a draw for showing major blockbuster films when a screening of “Boyz In The Hood” drew record crowds.
The Center Theatre 4 remained the place of movie-going crowds. All of that changed by the mid-1990’s when newer and bigger multiplxes that were being built, and the Center Theatre 4 fell out of favor., and began to screen second-run films in order to stay afloat. Also, the surrounding area around Lakewood was losing business which didn’t help to draw in movie-goers to stay open. Carmike closed this theatre in 2001, and was later converted into a surplus store run by Duke University.
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