North Dekalb Twin Theater

2050 Lawrenceville Highway,
Decatur, GA 30033

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Storey Theatres Inc.

Firms: Finch, Alexander, Barnes, Rothschild & Paschel

Styles: Colonial Revival

Previous Names: North DeKalb Theater

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The North Dekalb Theatre

Storey’s answer to the Lenox Square Theater opened by Georgia Theater Company two years earlier was this plush, living room style 850-seat rocking chair theater which opened as a single screen theatre on June 30, 1965 with Peter O'Toole in “Lord Jim”. Located in the new North DeKalb Mall. This was Atlanta’s first enclosed mall since the Lenox Square Shopping Center opened in 1959 which originally opened as an open-air plaza until it was enclosed in 1971. Located in what was then the very eastern edge of the metro area it did not play as many exclusive first run offerings as the more centrally located Lenox Square Theater, but it did get a few. It mostly ran movies on the ‘intermediate’ break which consisted of four or so theaters located around the city which picked up movies directly from their first-run engagements. At this time Storey also opened the almost identical Lakewood Theater in the Stewart Lakewood Shopping Center in the southeast quadrant of Atlanta.

In the spring of 1976, this nice looking theater with its big auditorium and fine wide screen fell victim to the twinning plague that swept Atlanta during the mid to late-1970’s. The resulting shoebox twins with slightly less than 400-seats in each were perfect examples of the bland long narrow house, tiny screen theaters twinned and even built new in the 1975-1985 era. Presentation wise, these were grim times indeed. With the end of exclusive run engagements in this market the North DeKalb Theater became a full-time first-run opening new movies as one of the six to eight theaters that usually constituted a first run opening.

Before long, slick new multiplexes with more screens, better auditoriums, stereo sound, and in some cases 70mm projection were built and the days were numbered. It closed on September 5, 1985 screening Walt Disney’s “The Black Cauldron” & Don Ameche in “Cocoon”. This once proud location was put out of its misery and demolished when the mall was renovated. A Cineplex four screen complex very much like their later Jewel Box locations was built in a new part of the mall. It was later taken over by AMC and expanded to eight and eventually sixteen screens as the AMC North DeKalb Mall 16 (which has its own page on Cinema Treasures).

Contributed by Stan Malone

Recent comments (view all 22 comments)

WHITEFIELD on July 20, 2015 at 7:20 pm

I grew up in Decatur, don’t remember Cineplex Odeon four-plex. Where are you saying it was located.

StanMalone on July 21, 2015 at 9:21 am

Like most first generation malls, North DeKalb underwent a rebuild in the mid 80’s. The theater wing was torn down and what stores of the original mall were left were remodeled as was the surviving mall area. (The theater was never actually part of the mall but had an outside entrance just outside the southern entrance to the mall area.) The Cineplex quad that was located in a newly built area on the west side of the mall was not officially one of their “Jewel Box” designs but looked a lot like them.

It was at this point that the mall was renamed Market Square probably because the mall was located in almost dead center DeKalb County and had two newer malls located to the north within the county limits. When it was built as the Atlanta areas first enclosed mall in the early 60’s it may have been located in the northern part of the population map, but by the mid 80’s it was central DeKalb in all respects. Some marketing expert probably came up with the new name which did not last long. Everyone likely to shop there knew where North DeKalb Mall was and before long the name was changed back to North DeKalb.

I do not know how long Cineplex stayed there, but I would guess that it was at the same time that they closed their Jewel Box theaters which were all 6plexes that AMC took over this location. I think that it was still a quad then and AMC increased it to eight. Later they doubled it again to 16. To answer you question Dennis, the Cineplex quad was located somewhere within the footprint of the existing AMC 16.

PS: Thanks Dennis for that great picture you posted on the Suburban Plaza page.

Josh Massey
Josh Massey on July 21, 2015 at 10:05 am

Actually, the Cineplex Odeon at Market Square (four theaters) was not in the existing theater’s footprint. It was at the far back corner of the mall, in a space I now believe is just a blank wall on the outside. (I may drive by later to confirm). I’m pretty confident the opening was in 1987, based on what I remember seeing there. The last movies I remember seeing there were in 1993 (True Romance, Falling Down), and I’d be surprised if it lasted to the end of that year. AMC Phipps (1992 opening) may have been the nail in its coffin.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 21, 2015 at 5:17 pm

StanMalone: I’ve never been to Decatur, but I believe the quad you are referring to is the one listed here as the Market Square Cinema 4. That’s the impression I’ve gotten, anyway. There’s not much information on its page.

StanMalone on July 21, 2015 at 5:39 pm

You are absolutely correct Joe. I don’t know why I did not notice that. Not only that but there are not one but two pages for the current AMC 16 and to make matters worse I actually commented on one of them, something I have no recollection of. Guess that is what too many hours of listening to film click through the gates does to your mind. I never worked at any of these theaters and never was inside the quad or the 16, so my only information comes from my memory of the newspaper ads (back when there were ads in the paper) and talking to someone who once ran the booth for AMC.

Raymond Stewart is pretty knowledgeable about theater history in Atlanta and he seems to think that the space of the Cineplex was incorporated into the AMC. Maybe Josh can confirm this one way or the other. In the meanwhile I will let someone else clean up the mess regarding the duplicate pages and the question of having a separate page for the Market Square. While I only know a little of the history of the theater on this page, I know nothing dependable about the other two.

Maybe I should spend my time checking to see if there are any other rogue comments of mine out there.

Josh Massey
Josh Massey on July 22, 2015 at 4:28 pm

Ok, I drove by the theater today. Raymond was right – the footprints do overlap, at least from what I could tell. (Of course, the AMC is a LOT larger.) Whether or not the old Market Square theaters still exist inside, I don’t know – but it would be a little surprising, as I’d assume they’ve gone to all-stadium seating. I have added a picture of what used to be the box office onto the Market Square page.

rivest266 on April 9, 2018 at 4:52 pm

Became a twin cinema on May 12th, 1976. Another ad posted.

rivest266 on April 13, 2018 at 4:35 pm

and closed in 1985.

50sSNIPES on November 28, 2023 at 3:56 pm

Closed on September 5, 1985 with “The Black Cauldron” at Screen 1 and “Cocoon” at Screen 2.

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