Crown Cinemas at Hickory Plaza

577 U.S. Highway 70,
Hickory, NC 28602

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Fairlane-Litchfeld, Litchfield Theatres, United Artists Theater Circuit Inc.

Previous Names: Crown Cinemas I & II, Crown Cinemas I-IV, Crown Cinemas 6

Nearby Theaters

This theatre opened on May 2, 1975 as the Crown Cinemas I & II under Fairlane-Litchfield Theatres with a seating capacity of 800 (the largest auditorium in Cinema I seated 600, while the auditorium in Cinema II seated 200). It was Hickory’s first-ever indoor twin theatres with plenty of front door free parking. The opening attractions for the grand opening of the Crown Cinema I & II were on Cinema I was “The Godfather:Part II”. Cinema II showed “Doc Savage” with the coming attractions “Earthquake!”, “Death Race 2000”, and “The Prisoner of Second Avenue”.

By June 17, 1976, it expanded from two to four screens and it was renamed the Crown Cinemas I-II-III-IV under Litchfield Theatres (Auditoriums III and IV seated 300 and 150) with the grand opening premiere showings of “A Small Town In Texas”, and “Wild A Ride Pony” along with was showing on Cinema I “Ode To Billy Joe”, and on Cinema II “Eat My Dust” with the coming attractions “The Missouri Breaks”, “The Creature From The Black Lake”, and “The Omen”.

By 1988, the Crown Cinemas was bought by United Artists Theatres after its acquisition of Litchfield Theatres where it expanded from four to six screens and was renamed the Crown Cinemas VI under United Artists with (both new auditoriums seated 185 each). United Artists held operations for the Crown Cinemas until its closing in 2003. It has been demolished.

Contributed by raysson

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

rivest266 on November 24, 2013 at 11:14 am

Latest street and aerials show an empty site. I uploaded an aerial and older street-view photos.

Scott Neff
Scott Neff on November 25, 2013 at 7:44 pm

This theatre makes me sad. I had emailed the shopping center owner to see if I could get in to take pictures the week we went there for Cinematour. Turns out they had just demolished the theatre two weeks before my email. So sad. Could have been inside taking pictures of what I’m sure was a time capsule of a theatre.

raylearchive on June 29, 2015 at 2:46 am

This theatre is where I worked for 29 years (1977 — 2006). Floor staff, Projectionist, Assistant Manager, and finally General Manager (1994 — 2006). A few inaccuracies in the above text should be corrected: Seating capacity in Theatres 1 & 2 are correct (with the 600 seat #1 house also having a 45-foot-wide, curved silver screen), but the seating in #3 & #4 were 300 and 150 respectively. Also, theatres #5 & #6 were built in 1981 and seated 185 each. We were the first theatre in town to install Dolby Stereo with Surround Sound (4-channel) in 1978. Theatre #1 had two projectors and ran one-hour reels with a single changeover in the middle of the show to the other projector. All the other cinemas at the Crown had platters. I got to build the print of STAR WARS in June of 1977 ——– and I ended up projecting that same print (non-stop) for one-and-a-half years ! That length of run remained a record at the Crown till closing in 2006. (TITANIC only ran 8 months in 1998). The first films that I projected at the theatre (as a newly trained projectionist) in 1977 were JOYRIDE, BLACK OAK CONSPIRACY, Playboy’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND, and a reissue of ONCE IS NOT ENOUGH (with Kirk Douglas). What a selection for my initiation into film projection. Before I worked there, I took my high school girlfriend to this theatre to see MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL in 1975. Became an Assistant Manager in 1991 and the General Manager in 1994. Also not mentioned in the text above is that Regal Cinemas took over from United Artists in 2002 at the Crown. AND, the Crown stayed open until 2006 (not 2003). We closed the Crown’s doors in March of 2006. Why? Two reasons: a new 14-plex Carmike Cinema opened across town next to the big Valley Hills Mall (and took most of our business away), and, the building’s original tar-and-gravel roof had started leaking everywhere and needed to be completely replaced ——– to the tune of $70,000.00. Corporate cut their losses and closed the theatre. But, 29 years of great memories (with over a thousand employees that I either worked with or hired over those years) !!! I do miss it .

binchwb on July 1, 2016 at 12:53 pm

I have been in this theater many times (went to college in Hickory). The first film I ever saw there was the John Belushi bio-pic Wired, which was terrible, but that was the first of many. Tales from the Darkside – The Movie, Silence of the Lambs (religious protestors showed up at this one to preach something in a megaphone from the back of a truck to the people in line outside – no one could tell what they were saying), City Slickers, Christmas Vacation, Army of Darkness, and the night before opening of Batman Returns. Lots of great memories there. I only saw this place after it had 6 auditoriums, but you could tell a lot of it was added on – the layout was positively serpentine, but that was honestly part of the charm to me; you make a wrong turn and you could get a little lost. Great place.

MSC77 on October 8, 2020 at 1:54 pm

The original “Star Wars” played here 30 weeks. That’s a lengthy run by any measure but nowhere near the year-and-a-half duration claimed by raylearchive on June 29, 2015. (The longest run of “Star Wars” in North Carolina was a 64-week run at Janus in Greensboro.)

Element02 on December 22, 2020 at 5:40 pm

Raylearchive, If you are ever on this page again… I’d like to contact you about one of the coolest stories I’ve ever heard regarding your basement movie theater. Please respond to me here so we can get in touch sir.

rivest266 on October 18, 2023 at 12:42 pm

Grand opening ad posted.

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