Plaza Theatre

1049-51 Ponce de Leon Avenue NE,
Atlanta, GA 30306

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Showing 1 - 25 of 94 comments

LouRugani on January 5, 2024 at 6:51 am

(Joshua Skinner, WANF:) For more than 80 years, the Plaza Theatre has churned out reliable entertainment, complete with popcorn, soda, and, of course, movies. But it was during a November bathroom renovation that owner Chris Escobar discovered a different kind of story. “Once we started taking off the old tile, we discovered a little piece of the wall fell out here in this corner,” Escobar told WANF, showing where the discovery was initially made. “And then we see this space behind the wall that no one knew was there.” That space was a small closet attached to what used to be a manager’s office, now a separate bathroom. “That’s when we discovered this incredible, little historic find,” Escobar said. An item buried under brick and dust. “If you follow my shadow,” Escobar said, pointing to the far corner of the small closet. “It was back here under this pipe.” That little bit of history: a wallet from 1958, likely lost and stored in the manager’s office but never claimed by the owner. “I mean, this is a treasure trove of 1958,” Escobar said. Complete with credit cards for Davison’s and Rich’s Department Stores, family photos, gas receipts (10 gallons for $3.26), and a name: Floy Culbreth. But could Floy possibly be located 65 years later? Escobar enlisted his wife, who he calls an “internet sleuth” for the task. Within hours, Escobar had his answer. “Floy Culbreth was actually started as Floy Porter,” said Thea Chamberlain. Chamberlain is Culbreth’s daughter. The Escobars were to reach the family using social media. To their giddy surprise, Chamberlain lives less than 20 minutes from the theatre. What’s less of a surprise was learning her mother lost her wallet in the late summer of 1958. “To be honest, mother losing stuff would not have been a surprise,” Chamberlain laughed. Floy died over a decade ago. The Escobars and Chamberlains scheduled a gathering at the Plaza Theatre to exchange the wallet and pore through its contents. Escobar can’t be sure what film was showing at the Plaza that day (the theatre was just one screen at the time). However, newspapers from the summer of 1958 show 1956 Best Picture Winner “Around the World in 80 Days” playing at the Plaza. For Chamberlain, seeing receipts, library cards, and family photos she didn’t know existed brought her to the emotional edge. “It’s meant more to me than I realized it would,” she said. Adding another story for a theatre with a bit of history on the screen and in the walls. “Yeah, this theatre still has a number of stories to tell,” Escobar said. “It still surprises us.”

JackCoursey on July 5, 2023 at 10:49 am

For the first time in the Plaza’s history, it will be presenting 70mm! It along with it’s sibling, the Tara are about the only two theatres in the South presenting Oppenheimer in 70mm, which is way superior to IMAX.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on April 26, 2020 at 10:09 am

A recent exterior photo of the Plaza leads off the New York Times news article displayed here

50sSNIPES on July 25, 2019 at 4:23 pm

A 35mm Film Exists Of The Plaza Theatre’s Anniversary On August 25th-26th, 2003.

richgnoe on May 6, 2018 at 4:02 pm

We I was a kid in the early 60’s we used to collect Nehi Bottle Caps so we could get into the movies on Saturday morning. In high school went on my first date there. Lots of memories.

rivest266 on April 10, 2018 at 2:36 pm

Adult movies were shown 1970-1982.

rivest266 on April 10, 2018 at 2:29 pm

The Plaza Penthouse was opened on November 1st, 1985. Ad in photo section.

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on August 29, 2017 at 5:52 am

Dear Friends of the Plaza,

Four and a half years ago we started a journey to save and protect the beautiful Plaza Theatre. After losing money for a decade the Plaza’s fortunes were soon to change, in only 4 months the Plaza showed its first profit. Today the Plaza is financially sound and has a long bright future.

Over the years of my tenure at the Plaza we have achieved much together with a complete renovation of the facility, restoring the Plaza’s historic integrity while bringing state of the art technology. Our programming has been cutting edge all the while pushing the envelope.

Today I’m happy to announce that we have agreed in principle to sell the Plaza to Christopher Escobar this September. Christopher is well known in the Atlanta film community as the Director of the Atlanta Film Society and is a tireless advocate of the Plaza. I feel that our original goals when purchasing the theatre have all been met and it’s time to pass the torch so that Christopher can take the theatre to the next level.

Let me say to our patrons Thank you!!! With you we have seen a 500 percent improvement in attendance over the last four years, that’s an amazing accomplishment, your loyalty to the Plaza is what makes it so successful today.

Thank you to all the staff that helped us achieve these goals. Special thanks to my business partner John Brieger who worked so hard on the Theatre’s behalf. I would also be remiss if I did not thank Candace and the cast of Lips Down on Dixie who have always been there for the Plaza, their efforts have helped make the Plaza the success that it now is.

In 1939 the Plaza projected its first film and in 2017 the picture looks brighter than ever. And remember: movies were made to be seen in theaters.

Wishing you all the best,

Michael Furlinger
Furlinger Cinema Services
Plaza Theatre

terrywade on August 19, 2016 at 8:05 am

So nice they still use curtains that open and close. The screen in the large downstairs cinema has a slight curve to It.

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on November 1, 2015 at 3:33 pm

Plaza total restoration completed in 2015 with new seats in the upstairs theatre . This was the last project to be completed.

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on December 27, 2014 at 10:58 am

First theatre in the nation to announce there playing The Interview .

Mikeoaklandpark on December 24, 2014 at 10:43 am

Three cheers for opening The Interview tomorrow. Freedom of speech wins again

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on December 22, 2014 at 2:45 am

Well it’s official today’s our Birthday – 75 years young today ……. Happy Birthday Plaza theatre !

You’ve come a long way baby !

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on December 17, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Michael Furlinger, president of Atlanta’s Plaza Theater, may have been the last man standing. Early on Wednesday he pledged not to deviate from his scheduled Christmas Eve premiere. “I’d never stand for something like that,” he said. “As an independent we have more flexibility.” Ultimately, it wasn’t his decision. “I hate this,” he said after the final announcement. “This is blackmail.”

Atlanta’s Plaza Theatre planned to go ahead with its plan to screen “The Interview” until Sony decided to cancel the project altogether.

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on April 28, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Credit: Moses Robinson / Getty Images Like many of the country’s earliest movie palaces, the Plaza Theatre has gone through a series of incarnations in the 75 years since it opened, from an Art Deco gem in the 1930s to a 1970s porn palace to a restored repertory theater in the 1990s. In 2012, The Plaza – Atlanta’s oldest continuously operating cinema – was purchased by a new owner, who has since reverted its programming back to a nice mix of new indie films, contemporary classics, and regular midnight screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Why It Stands Out: In 2012, Michael Furlinger – who previously revamped Charleston’s Terrace Theatre – purchased the Plaza Theatre and has been dutifully working to upgrade the facilities (Including giving it plush chairs, gourmet concessions, and digital projection) while keeping popular community events intact.

rechols on April 17, 2014 at 1:06 am

Great to hear this great theater is getting the recognition it deserves!
Thank you longislandmovies for taking care of her.

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on April 16, 2014 at 7:16 pm

Plaza # 5 best movie theater in the world .
Men’s journal

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on January 27, 2014 at 10:59 pm

2014 the Plaza celebrates 75 years as Ga oldest operating movie theatre!

galateasca on July 9, 2013 at 9:50 pm

We had the pleasure of taking our son to see a showing of “Rock and Roll High School” at the Plaza- we were so happy to be filled with nostalgia that we didn’t care that the film print was dark and that the place needed a good cleaning. It was just nice to be back in a kinder, gentler time. Can’t wait to go and see the renovation!

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on March 20, 2013 at 2:32 pm


Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on March 20, 2013 at 2:24 pm

July 1st to 25 th — We are presenting 25 days of Bond—– all Bond films will be played with the first film starting on the first of the month and so on.

Mikeoaklandpark on December 3, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Congradulations Longislandmovies on purchasing the theater.

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on December 2, 2012 at 4:10 pm

1049 Ponce De Leon Ave., Atlanta GA 30306 | 20th November 2012


Starting December 27th the Plaza Theatre will be operating under new ownership. Michael Furlinger has had his eye on the Plaza for many years in the hopes of one day owning and operating it. Having spoken with him a few times over the last 6 years we have decided it will be best for the Plaza’s survival to pass the torch to him. He has 30 years experience in the cinema business and has worked as an owner/operator as well as a film booker. He took his last theatre, the Terrace Theatre in Charleston, South Carolina from a struggling enterprise to a huge success with deep ties to the community. Furlinger’s plan for the Plaza Theatre is to use his expertise in film booking and close relationships with the studios to strengthen the feature programming while continuing the current popular special events such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Silver Scream Spookshow, Splatter Cinema, Taboo La-La, The Room, and Wonderroot’s Local Film Night. The Plaza Theatre will also remain home to the revered Atlanta Film Festival, continuing their programming and workshops throughout the year. Furlinger has big plans for substantial renovations including new state of the art DCP digital projectors, brand new seats, and gourmet concessions. 35mm film is quickly being phased out and very soon the only way to show a movie in the theatre will be DCP so we are excited he is willing to make these investments to help the Plaza Theatre secure a place in the future of Atlanta.

As far as the Plaza Theatre Foundation is concerned, we are currently working with the Atlanta FIlm Festival and Michael about how that will still be able to contribute, but for now your memberships and passes will continue to be honored under the new ownership. Those of you who purchased stars for our Star Wall, I will be taking those stars and mounting them to plaques to give to each of you. The few of you who made donations to our buy a seat campaign, I can return your donation.

Thank you all so much for your support! It has been our honor to be a part of the Plaza’s history and we hope you feel the same way. We’ve accomplished what we originally set out to do which was to save the Plaza from becoming a drug store or something else and we couldn’t have done it with out you all. We wish Michael the best of luck and we hope you all will continue to be supporters of the Plaza. We can’t wait to see Atlanta’s oldest cinema not just survive, but thrive!

Jonathan & Gayle