Center Theatre 4

2000 Chapel Hill Road,
Durham, NC 27707

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Showing 1 - 25 of 42 comments

rivest266 on October 6, 2018 at 4:58 pm

October 24 and 29th, 1971 grand opening ads uploaded.

rivest266 on October 6, 2018 at 2:45 pm

BTW: did anyone opened that time capsule? I uploaded the grand opening ad.

raysson on November 23, 2015 at 1:33 pm

In it’s earlier days as a single screen movie house it was the reserved seat engagements of “Camelot” along with “The Sound of Music”, “My Fair Lady”, “2001” and the 70mm versions of “Gone With The Wind”, “Doctor Zhivago”,“Patton”,and “Ben Hur”(re-release)

raysson on November 23, 2015 at 1:30 pm

Drewmike: I saw not only “Back to the Future 2” here but also “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” in 1989…but the Center’s showing of “Boyz In The Hood” and “New Jack City” brought in capacity crowds in 1991…. Nobody knows that a time capsule was placed there for 2016…. November 24,1966 was the year this theatre opened replacing the Downtown moviehouse that closed….

Drewmike on November 13, 2015 at 1:10 pm

I saw back to the future 2 there in 1989. Lol I had no idea a time capsule was there for 2016. Ha ha 1 year after Marty McFly arrives.

rivest266 on November 3, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Waiting for the time capsule to open at the end of 2016.

raysson on February 28, 2013 at 3:53 pm

“THE EXORCIST” played here to capacity crowds on March 1, 1974.

“CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND” was the BIG Christmas attraction on December 16,1977.

raysson on December 13, 2012 at 11:08 am

This theatre in its heyday played GONE WITH THE WIND numerous times during it’s re-release….I remember seeing it in 1980 to packed audiences in DOBLY STEREO

raysson on December 13, 2012 at 11:06 am

David Lean’s LAWRENCE OF ARABIA played at the Center Theatre,aka The Lakewood Center Theatre in 1971 as a re-release.

raysson on November 12, 2012 at 7:10 pm

David Dymond:

Carmike basically had total control of all indoor moviehouses in the Durham area. This was Carmike’s decision to closed The Northgate Twin in 1985,not to mention the closing of the The Yorktowne Theatre on Chapel Hill Blvd. in 1996,and the Ram Triple in Chapel Hill in 2000.

When the Center 4 closed in 2001 only three moviehouses under Carmike Cinemas remained opened…The Carmike Cinemas 7(off Avondale Drive which closed in 2004),and the Willowdaile Cinemas 8(off Guess Road in North Durham closed in June of 2005)

In 2001,the Wynnsong Cinemas in Durham REMAINS the only Carmike operated movie theatre between Durham and Chapel Hill. And to this day is still operational.

raysson on November 7, 2012 at 4:02 pm

David Dymond: I loved and grew up going to the Center Theatre at Lakewood as a kid. I basically don’t know how many movies I saw here,but before the perceived area became a rough neighborhood,this theatre was a showpalace of great movies which had one of the largest auditoriums in the state….It was a magical place in its heyday…..It originally opened on November 24,1966(under Wilby-Kincey) as the Lakewood Center Theatre. Was twinned in 1971(under ABC Theatres) and later was triple and quad by 1983 and 1986(under Plitt Southern and Cineplex Odeon).

The theatre really went downhill during the mid-1990’s when this theatre became a discount house where you had a high level of crime activity,and became a haven for whatever came through…..I never worked there,but I saw a lot of second run movies there…..Carmike Cinemas closed it in 2001. The building is still there BTW….but I do know about that time capsule from 1966 that is on the left side of the box-office. The reason why it closed is that the building became a surplus store for Duke University which closed in 2009. Nowadays,the building has been turned from what I heard is now a strip club…a total disgrace to a once great movie palace that became the heart of Durham.

DavidDymond on November 7, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Oh my beloved Center 4 Theatres!! Visited these theatres many many times in DURHAM!! Yes, the area was perceived to be rough, but never had any problems there! Outside this building, on the left hand side of the boxoffice is a time capsule from 1966, the year this theatre was built. Probably built for Wilby-Kincey, (A Paramount Theater associate), later operated by ABC. and then Plitt Southern followed by Cineplex-Odeon, maybe operated by Carmike Theaters for a while (Yeeccch!!)

raysson on November 7, 2012 at 3:22 pm

I saw THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK opening day at this theatre on June 20,1980. It was indeed a fantastic moviegoing experience with the lines snaked around the cinema. All five showings of the film were eventually sold out that whole weekend including additional late shows too(which were sold out!)…Tickets for this went on sale in advance,and you had to lucky to get one!!! The film played on its largest screen(CENTER II) with the seating capacity of 650.

Screen 1 had John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd in THE BLUES BROTHERS that on CENTER I(which was the original auditorium with the 180 degree Ultravision screen)that had the screening capacity of 800,which was one of the largest auditoriums in the Carolinas.

raysson on April 10, 2012 at 9:13 am

I saw THE RETURN OF THE JEDI opening day at this theatre in DOBLY STEREO. It was a fantastic moviegoing experience especially those who ditched school to see it the day it opened. I was junior in high school back in 1983 when me and some buddies saw it during the 11:30am early matinee with the lines snaked around the cinema.

raysson on August 8, 2011 at 11:54 am

A lot of great movies played here at the CENTER…. Not only did the “The Sound of Music” played here during its exclusive engagement,but films like “PATTON”,“THE FRENCH CONNECTION”,“DIRTY HARRY”,“THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK”,“THE RETURN OF THE JEDI”,“GANDHI”,“REDS”,and the re-releases of “BEN-HUR”,“MY FAIR LADY”,“LAWRENCE OF ARABIA”,and “DOCTOR ZHIVAGO” brought in record crowds.I got to see “THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE”,and “THE TOWERING INFERNO” where it played at the CENTER. A lot of blaxploitation flicks played here as well…from “COFFY”,to “SLAUGHTER”,and even “SUPER FLY” and to the others like “NEW JACK CITY”,and “BOYZ IN THE HOOD” brought in massive crowds. Its best films played during the 1970’s in its largest auditorium until the 1983,when the theatre was split down the middle giving it a really bad impression to a once great cinema showplace.

raysson on July 5, 2011 at 3:35 pm

FYI: There will a photo of this theatre posted soon. The theatre is still standing,and it looks great in its condition.

The theatre opened as a 800 seat single screen theatre on November 24, 1966(aka The Lakewood Center Theatre)

Expanded a second building in 1971 when it was a twin cinema(aka,The Center I and Center II) the second auditorium opened on October 24, 1971

Became a three screen cinema in 1983,when the original 800 seat auditorium was split down the middle,making two shoebox screens,keeping the second auditorium in tact until 1986.

The second auditorium(that was opened in 1971) was also split down the middle in 1986,making two shoebox auditoriums until its closing in 2001,after more than 35 years serving Durham and Chapel Hill.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 25, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Somehow we never played “LAWRENCE OF ARBIA” or “BEN_HUR” during my time in the business in the 70’s.We did get “RYAN’S DAUGHTER” “GWTW” “DR.ZHIVAGO” and my favorite of all time,“2001”.They all ran over three hours are darn close to it.We got the same four dang classics every year from MGM.

raysson on March 17, 2011 at 11:33 am

Steven Spielburg’s THE COLOR PURPLE also played here.
But it was NOT one of the three theatres in North Carolina that showed it as an exclusive engagement showings. It did played here until January 17,1986.
The exclusive engagement showing of THE COLOR PURPLE
were in Raleigh,Charlotte and Greensboro only.

raysson on August 24, 2010 at 3:16 pm

While “My Fair Lady” played in 1971 as a re-released,the CENTER also re-released other classic films as exclusive enagements presented in 70MM. Among them “Lawrence of Arabia”,“Gone With The Wind”,“Ben-Hur”,
“Ryan’s Daughter”,and “Giant” to name a few.

raysson on August 23, 2010 at 3:23 pm

CENTER II’s featured attraction in October of 1971 was a James Garner flick called “Skin Game”. While CENTER I re-released “My Fair Lady”,and it was given the exclusive enagement run presented in 70MM. While “Skin Game” didn’t do well in the second auditorium,the next attraction “Billy Jack” for the CENTER II was a megahit when it played to record crowds in late-October of 1971.

Ewing on August 21, 2010 at 5:33 pm

The second Center Theater (cleverly called the Center II) opened in the autumn of 1971.

raysson on June 1, 2010 at 3:52 pm

PATTON when it played at the CENTER II was presented as a roadshow enagement as was presented in 70MM-Six Track Stereophonic Sound during its release. However,it was re-released too. The CENTER also re-released other roadshow enagements like “My Fair Lady”,and “2001: A Space Odyssey”(presented in 70MM as a Durham-Chapel Hill Area Exclusive),“The Sound of Music”,“Doctor Zhivago”,and “Hello Dolly”.

It also presented other films that the CENTER show when it played as roadshow enagements as well. The World War II film “TORA! TORA! TORA!” was given the full roadshow treatment where it played for three weeks,both as an original and as a re-released. In the 1971 advertisement of the Durham Morning Herald,it was presented as a North Carolina exclusive in 70MM and Full 6-Track Stereophonic Sound with the advertisement stating..“70-MM Makes You Believe You Are There!” The roadshow treatment was given with reserved seating and three shows daily with special admission prices.

Also to point out as well….When DIRTY HARRY played at the CENTER II
during its original release on December 24, 1971, it was given also the roadshow enagement treatment and also as a exclusive enagement.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 16, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Wouldn’t you like to see"PATTON" on that large screen today. I hate these 20 plexs!

raysson on March 16, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Also ended up as roadshow enagements at the Lakewood CENTER included
“Grand Prix”,“Far From The Madding Crowd”,and “Ice Station Zebra”,when it was a single screen theatre during the mid-1960’s.