A Franklin Street icon, the recently renovated Varsity Theatre has entertained audiences and cineastes for more than 50 years with screenings of current blockbusters, cult flicks, indie films, and classics. A vintage marquee beckons audiences to file into comfy seats as 35mm and digital projectors project movies onto screens. Along with regularly scheduled showings, The Varsity also holds special events such as film forums, dinner-and-movie specials, or interviews with John Wayne's neckerchief. Groups can rent out the theaters for birthday parties, corporate functions, or special events, with multiple media services and catering options available.
One of the few original theaters in Durham to remain in operation, the Carolina Theatre has endured more than 85 years of history in its quest to entertain. The venue's main room, Fletcher Hall, rose in popularity during World War II, when soldiers from Camp Butner arrived by bus to watch films on its colossal screen. In the last three decades, ongoing renovations have restored the venue to its original glory while propelling it into contemporary times with the addition of modern accoutrements, including two upstairs movie screens, stage-level dressing rooms, and landing pads on the roof for skateboard hovercrafts.
Stadium 10 at Northgate's theaters transport audiences into the worlds of first-run movies with immersive picture and sound, comfortable stadium seating, and ample snacks. Plush, high-backed chairs prop up viewers against the torrent of crashes, booms, and Wilhelm screams blasting from the DTS digital-sound systems as they ogle current releases. Handfuls of fluffy Orville Redenbacher's popcorn keep bellies full, and frothy sodas keep tongues wetted while guests stare agape at epic action scenes. Screens also glow during showings in RealD 3-D, giving landscapes, set pieces, and two-dimensional action stars a feeling of depth.
At Raleighwood Cinema Grill, mid- and second-run movies flicker across a full-size screen with HD Digital Projection, brought to life with enhanced Dolby Digital surround sound. Yet what sets the theater apart is the experience off the screen. Instead of stacking seats into rows or demanding patrons stack into human pyramids to cram as many bodies in as possible, Raleighwood cultivates a relaxed atmosphere. Patrons lounge on cushioned, swiveling chairs at cabaret-style tables with a beer or glass of wine while servers lay out a menu of burgers, pizzas, and appetizers. Comedies, dramas, and family films enhance the flavor of dishes and the calendar of special events and food specials.
Palace Pointe is the definition of a one-stop entertainment complex. A typical visit might include a matinee showing of a first-run movie at one of the center's eight theaters followed by a round of bowling on one of 20 lanes. After that, visitors can head to the roller-skating rink or the arcade, where they can try their hand at more than 80 video and redemption games. Seven billiards tables round out the gaming options, and an onsite diner and bar fuel competitions with pizzas, sandwiches, and classic finger foods.