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“May 25,1979 when Fox opened ‘Alien’ it was only at 70mm houses.” (RobertR, Jun 15, 2005)
This is only partially correct. Most of the initial engagements were 70mm, including all of the NYC area showings. San Diego showed it in 35mm, and other markets had 70mm and 35mm showings. This is explained in detail in this article:
Re the Criterion, there are photos from the the “Alien” engagement on the “Alien Quadrilogy” DVD.
Theater opened August 1, 1963 by Skouras. Debut attraction was “55 Days At Peking.”
“I’ll clear up one matter which I have mentioned on other sites.
My neice was visting me and playing on the Dell under my name andsaw the listing of my book so she said she’s give a review. It wasoriginally poster under her name but then for whatever reason, it was changed to my name. At first I thought it was amusing but then gotnegative feedback from it so I’m glad it was removed. Other reviews by her are listed under her name elsewhere I believe. So much for that.” (Richard W. Haine, Jun 18, 2005)
Yeah, right! And James Bond is a virgin.
“The last movie to play the Paramount was ‘Thunderball’ which…played continuously 24 hours a day for the first three weeks.” (Orlando, Feb 27, 2004)
“ ‘Thunderball’ was released in December, 1965, nearly a year and a half after ‘The Carpetbaggers’ closed at the Paramount. I don’t recall ‘Thunderball’ playing there…” (Warren, Feb 27, 2004)
“Could it have been ‘Goldfinger’ not ‘Thunderball’, you were thinking of? Because ‘Goldfinger’ had special 24 hour a day screenings when it opened in the city. And it was released a year earlier than ‘Thunderball’.” (William, Feb 27, 2004)
“I remember ‘Thunderball’ having a special engagement at the Paramount.” (p7350, Feb 27, 2004)
Consulting The New York Times on microfilm can help sort this out….
Both “Goldfinger” and “Thunderball” had special 24-hour round-the-clock Manhattan screenings.
“Goldfinger” opened on Dec. 22, 1964 exclusively at the DeMille and the Coronet. Between Dec. 23, 1965 – Jan. 2, 1965, the DeMille featured round-the-clock screenings.
“James Bond Now In Action 24 Hours A Day — Due to the incredible crowds that stormed the doors of the DeMille Theatre yesterday, opening day, the management announces that the following extraordinary, unprecedented schedule is now in effect for the showings of ‘Goldfinger’: The DeMille Theatre will remain open 24 hours a day…so that all who wish to follow the latest exploits of Agent 007 will have unlimited opportunity to do so.”
As for “Thunderball,” this opened Dec. 21, 1965 on a United Artists Premiere Showcase simultaneously in nearly 30 greater New York City area theaters. The Manhattan engagements were held at the Paramount, Sutton, and Cinema II. The Paramount stayed open 24 hours a day to show the movie round-the-clock.
If you’re remembering your opening day experience as being “high-fidelity” then this would suggest a stereo presentation, and “LOUD!” would suggest six-track magnetic from a 70mm print. Perhaps.
But… I’ve performed a considerable amount of research on the topic of this movie and the results of this work suggest to me that, contrary to the memories of many, many folks, most presentations of “Star Wars” in 1977 were mono.
My reasons for believing the Cine Capri began showing “Star Wars” in mono are due to the following:
1) No presentation format notations present in the Phoenix area newspaper advertisements.
2) Beginning in September 1977, four months after the release, notations for a 70mm and six-track Dolby Stereo presentation began to appear in the newspaper ads.
3) Access to Dolby Labs' installation records reveal an install date of September 1977 for a Dolby CP100 unit.
4) A Dolby trade ad which reproduced a list of the original opening engagements and their opening-day box office tally included check marks next to those engagements presented in Dolby Stereo. The Phoenix entry was left unmarked.
5) Trade press during the initial weeks of the movie’s release indicated the availability of eight 70mm prints. I have the original newspaper ads specific to each market for each of the 43 original engagements and the 70mm notations add up to eight…and they were booked into theatres in the Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco markets.
6) I’m unaware of any stereo sound systems that were compatible with Dolby prints having been available in spring 1977. Perhaps there were some, but basic business sense would question why there would be competition for a yet-to-be-successful company.
7) With the exception of the optical mono prints that circulated, I’m unaware of any non-Dolby-encoded 70mm prints made available for this movie for the U.S. If there were in fact non-Dolby 70mm prints, that is what the Cine Capri may have received and what you may have experienced. But then the print number reference in the trades would not be correct AND why wouldn’t the theatre advertise a 70mm and/or stereo presentation AND why would the Cine Capri four months later tout how their presentation was “Now in 70mm…”?
8) I understand that the genuine mono prints were not available until a few weeks after the film’s release. So, this would suggest the initial mono presentations were from a Dolby print. In other words, I am under the impression that the Cine Capri received a 35mm optical Dolby Stereo print…but not having the ability to play it in stereo through a Dolby processor since they had not yet installed such a unit. Perhaps one of the projectionists or Plitt engineers fussed with their system and somehow managed to derive some form of stereo out of it. Just a guess, but that explanation seems to be the only way both of us can be correct.
You’re welcome regarding the article.
As for George Lucas fleeing to Hawaii to escape the “Star Wars” mania, this is often referenced as having been during the movie’s opening weekend. I’m no sure if that is correct as by several accounts they were still working on the sound mix on opening day. Plus, as I pointed out in the Hawaii Cinerama thread (/theaters/359/), Honolulu didn’t open the movie until its third week. By then, Lucas had probably already returned to the “mainland” as Hawaiians like to call it. But then, Baxter’s (error-ridden) Lucas biography places Lucas on Oahu during the movie’s release and claims it opened there the same time as the mainland. Whatever.
“Michael Todd and his ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ made a big splash at this Boardwalk theatre here in August of 1957” (veyoung)
The “80 Days” opening day advertisements I have from The Newark Star-Ledger and Asbury Park Press are dated July 11, 1957.
“There is a difference in the address listed above and the address listed on the web site for the Bardavon, the web site lists the address as 35 Market St. Which is the correct address?” (CharlesVanBibber)
I have a few Poughkeepsie Journal newspaper ads from 1966 & ‘67 for the Bardavon’s engagement of “The Sound Of Music,” and the address given is 35 Market Street. At any rate, it looks like the address has already been corrected at the top of the page.
If you wish to count newspaper ads, additional AKAs for this theater used during the late-70s include “RKO Paramus” and “RKO-Stanley-Warner Triplex Paramus.”
“The Route 4 theater was one of only 3 in New Jersey, and 32 nationwide, to open "Star Wars” on May 25, 1977.“ (Damien Farley)
There were four New Jersey theaters included in the original 5/25/77 limited market launch of “Star Wars.” They were located in Edison, Lawrenceville, Paramus, and Pennsauken.
I bet you got your reference to three NJ theaters from the list posted on the starwars.com website. A more comprehensive list appears here:
“In the (possibly 1950’s and) 1960’s, they showed three strip Cinerama/Cinemiracle … and just a few years ago they were the first theater in the state to present the digitally projected Star Wars Episode I.” (Robert MacLeay)
I’m not aware of any Cinerama engagements at this theater.
Clarification on the digital cinema comment: this theater was among the first to be equipped since “The Phantom Menace” played simultaneously at two NJ venues, this and the Loews Meadows Six in Secaucus.
The Uptown was among the theatres included in the original limited-market launch of “Star Wars.” The Uptown’s 5/25/77 opening-day gross, as reported in Daily Variety, was a house record $12,896.
The UA Cinema 150 was among the theatres included in the original limited-market launch of “Star Wars.” The UA Cinema 150’s 5/25/77 opening-day gross, as reported in Daily Variety, was a house record $8,300.
The Americana was among the theatres included in the original limited-market launch of “Star Wars.” The Americana’s 5/25/77 opening-day gross, as reported in Daily Variety, was a house record $11,532.
“I saw the movie "Tommy” there. That was when Dolby stereo first came out.“ (brian74)
“Tommy” was released in a variety of sound formats, including an early version of Dolby Stereo. Dolby Stereo was installed at the Americana in May 1977 for “Star Wars.” The theater upgraded to a 70mm six-track Dolby Stereo presentation of “Star Wars” in November 1977. In December ‘77, they began their 70mm run “Close Encounters Of The Third Kind” at which time the exclusive Detroit area 70mm showing of “Star Wars” moved to the Northland.
Other AKAs for this entry not included at the top of this page are Americana I-II-III (1972-), Americana I-II-III-IV (mid-70s), Americana Complex (late-70s/early-80s), and Americana 8 (1986-1990).
I have a 1967 Poughkeepsie Journal newspaper ad for “Doctor Zhivago,” which the theatre began showing the day after the New York City roadshow run ended. Address given is, simply, “Route 9, Poughkeepsie.” Theatre was equipped for 70mm presentations.
“I believe the Cine Capri opened in 1961 with El Cid.” (acmeron)
“The Cine Capri was built in 1965 and 66' as a roadshow hard ticket theatre. It opened in the spring of 1966 with THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY.” (eadkins)
“eadkins” is correct. I have a photocopy of the grand opening newspaper ad and can confirm a spring 1966 opening (March 31 for those who care about such details) with the debut attraction being “The Agony And The Ecstasy.” Charlton Heston attended the grand opening event.
The St. Louis Park was among the theatres included in the original limited-market launch of “Star Wars.” The St. Louis Park’s 5/25/77 opening-day gross, according to Daily Variety, was a house record $6,149.
The Cooper was among the theatres included in the original limited-market launch of “Star Wars.” The Cooper’s 5/25/77 opening-day gross, according to Daily Variety, was a house record $7,966.
The Cine Capri was among the theatres included in the original limited-market launch of “Star Wars.” The Cine Capri’s 5/25/77 opening-day gross, according to Daily Variety, was a house record $6,518.
“One of my fondest childhood memories is waiting outside the theater in line for what seemed like hours to see the original "Star Wars”. Even at age 9 I thought it was really cool to be seeing a movie THERE. I’m from Minnesota, and my dad lived in San Diego at the time. I’m not quite clear on how or why we happened to be there right then, but I’m so glad we were. It’s a cool story to tell as an adult, especially now with the release of “Revenge of the Sith”, and people talking about their own “Star Wars” memories…“ (MaraC”
A link to a cool “Star Wars” memory article:
The Eastwood was among the theatres included in the original limited-market launch of “Star Wars.” The Eastwood’s 5/25/77 opening-day gross, according to Daily Variety, was a house record $5,638.
The Avco was among the theatres included in the original limited-market launch of “Star Wars.” The Avco’s 5/25/77 opening-day gross, according to Daily Variety, was a house record $12,816.
The Chinese was among the theatres included in the original limited-market launch of “Star Wars.” The Chinese’s 5/25/77 opening-day gross, according to Daily Variety, was a house record $19,358.
The Coronet was among the theatres included in the original limited-market launch of “Star Wars.” The Coronet’s 5/25/77 opening-day gross, according to Daily Variety, was a house record $16,462.