Stadium 10. Photo by Lena Geller.

The Durham movie theater that bustled in the late aughts and kept life quietly thrumming in Northgate Mall, long after the retail outlets around it went dark, has shuttered, according to signs taped to its doors that read “are [sic] time has come to end.”

Located by the mall’s Gregson Street entrance, Stadium 10, which was previously called Phoenix 10, launched in 2006—the first theater at the shopping center since 1985, when the mall’s decades-old twin cinema was replaced with a department store. 

East Coast Entertainment, which owned and operated Stadium 10, was not able to be reached for comment; the company’s phone number and website have been deactivated.

Stadium 10 faced tough odds in its final years. Northgate Mall closed permanently at the onset of the pandemic, leaving the theater to reopen as a solo enterprise in the secluded concrete plaza of a deserted shopping center. Northwood Investors, the firm that purchased the 55-acre Northgate Mall parcel in 2018, announced plans, last year, to transform most of the site into a life sciences research campus that, presumably, wouldn’t include a movie theater. (Northwood Investors did not respond to the INDY’s request for comment.)

The HVAC system at Stadium 10 had also long been in disrepair, according to a host of online reviewers who described the theater as oscillating between two climates: “sub zero” and “sitting in an airplane before they turn the air on.” At one sweltering three-hour Oppenheimer screening in July—the hottest month in recorded history—staff provided viewers with cups of ice, a Reddit user disclosed, adding that the experience was “intense.” 

Still, the closure makes for an abrupt goodbye. On July 31, less than 24 hours before “closed” flyers appeared on its doors, the Facebook page of Stadium 10 was inviting followers to buy Barbie tickets.

Beloved buffet-style restaurant C&H Cafeteria—which opened the same week Stadium 10 did, in August 2006, at the Shops at Northgate outpost on Guess Road—similarly issued news of its closure in January via a taped-up sign the day-of, crushing regulars. Vegan restaurant Earth To Us and Wyatt and Dad, a cobbler shop, also shut down their Shops at Northgate locations in recent months, citing medical and staffing issues, respectively.

In February, Northwood Investors announced plans for the strip of shops to be renovated and left as retail. Neighbors from the nearby Walltown community have proposed alternative plans that use the Guess Road space for affordable housing as well as local retail.

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