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Star Wars, in its original 1977 release, opened here day-and-date with North Park Cinema 4 in Oklahoma City. It played here for 20 weeks.
Some photos (vintage and contemporary) and newspaper ads of this theater can be found here.
Stan, et al…
Here is what I have been able to put together in reference to a chronological breakdown for the Atlanta area’s bookings of “The Sound of Music” during the 1965-69 period when Fox had the film in circulation. As you can tell, it kept coming back…and back…and back, which may explain why so many people recall it playing for so long. Finally, in summer 1969, Fox said enough is enough and pulled it from release. Of course, they re-issued it in 1973 and again in 1978, but that’s another story.
03.24.1965 … Atlanta â€" Martin Cinerama (90 weeks)
12.23.1966 … Atlanta â€" Lakewood (10 weeks)
12.23.1966 … Decatur â€" North Dekalb (10 weeks)
08.17.1967 … Smyrna â€" Miracle (5 weeks)
10.18.1967 … Atlanta â€" Hilan (2 weeks)
10.18.1967 … Atlanta â€" Westgate II (3 weeks)
10.18.1967 … Decatur â€" Belvedere (2 weeks)
10.18.1967 … Tucker â€" Village (3 weeks)
06.12.1968 … Atlanta â€" Bolton Drive-In (1 week)
06.12.1968 … Cartersville â€" North Starlite Drive-In (1 week)
06.12.1968 … Chamblee â€" North 85 Drive-In (2 weeks)
06.12.1968 … Decatur â€" Glenwood Drive-In (2 weeks)
08.28.1968 … Marietta â€" Martin Drive-In (1 week)
08.28.1968 … Smyrna â€" Smyrna Drive-In (1 week)
09.04.1968 … Atlanta â€" Rhodes (1 week)
10.16.1968 … Marietta â€" Georgia Drive-In (1 week)
11.06.1968 … Avondale Estates â€" Towne (4 weeks)
11.27.1968 … Atlanta â€" Westgate II (1 week)
12.18.1968 … Smyrna â€" Belmont (1 week)
02.05.1969 … Atlanta â€" Emory (1 week)
02.05.1969 … Atlanta â€" North Springs (1 week)
08.13.1969 … Atlanta â€" Emory (1 week)
<<< “No fancy screens or sound systems, just a basic neighborhood theater.” >>>
I believe at least one screen in the complex was equipped with 70mm projection and six-track Dolby Stereo playback, as well as being THX certified. So, if correct, I’d say that qualifies as having a “fancy screen and sound system.” Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) was among the films believed to have run here in a 70mm presentation.
Opening picture: 100 Rifles.
Source: Daytona Beach Morning Journal, April 24, 1969 edition, page 32.
<<< In the 1980’s, two more screens were added to the theater >>>
I think the additional screens were added earlier than the ‘80s.
<<< “Opened in May 1969” >>>
The Big Tree opened on April 24, 1969.
The Astro Twin’s engagement of Star Wars lasted 22 weeks. An impressive run for a city the size of Greenville.
The 1969 re-issue of “Ben-Hur” mentioned in several recent comments actually began in February 1969, though it didn’t open in New York until June 18. “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” premiered on November 5, 1969.
<<< “Metro Park 8 Theatres opened in 1977” >>>
This theater did open in 1977, as claimed, but certainly not as an 8-plex. (I bet the number of 8-plexes in existence in 1977 can be counted on one hand.) I believe it opened, as a twin, on December 23, 1977, with the debut features being “Oh, God!” and “The Choirboys.”
<<< “The Metro Center Cinema III opened in 1980” >>>
The Metro Center Cinema I-II-III opened several years before 1980. The mall in which the theater was located opened in 1973, and the theater opened shortly thereafter (either 1974 or 1975).
<<< “This theater opened as a twin” >>>
No, it didn’t! It opened as a single.
<<< Ballou Park 4 (Also known as Ballou Park Twin) >>>
Actually, its original name was, simply, Park. (The “Ballou Park” name may have been what was used in recent years or perhaps what locals called it in conversation since it was located in the Ballou Park section of town.)
<<< “This theater opened…around 1970” >>>
A more precise opening date is May 16, 1969. And, for those who care about such details, the debut feature was “My Side of the Mountain.”
Source: The Danville Register, various issues.
<<< “I took a very close look at the ‘Zodiac’ movie last night. The Northpoint appears at approximately 1-hour and 35 minutes into the film. The exterior is definately the Northpoint. However, the Marquee was reconstructed with errors. For one thing, as you look at the two photos on this site [snip] You will notice that the Marquee in the photos faced both Powell and Bay Streets. In addition, there was no large black band with ‘Northpoint’ at the top and another black band at the bottom with ‘Theater.’ ” >>>
Another error the “Zodiac” filmmakers made in recreating the Northpoint was they spelled it “Theater” on the marquee whereas photographic evidence indicates it was spelled “Theatre.” And an even bigger error was why they even featured the Northpoint when, as I pointed out a few comments up, that “Dirty Harry,” the film featured in “Zodiac,” did not even play at that theater!
<<< *“As far as the interior is concerned, it was gutted when the theater closed. The real Northpoint did not have side wall curtains extending from the screen to the entrance. Another single-screen operating theater, probably in the L.A. area, was substituted for the audience shots.” * >>>
The interiors were shot at the National.
Was the 8-screener an expansion of the original twin, or was the twin demolished to make way for an all-new build?
<<< * It once had seven screens; it last operated as a quad* >>>
Really? If that is correct it means this theater went from four screens to seven and then back to four.
As for successful engagements at this theater… While known as the UA Movies at Briarwood, they ran “Star Wars” for 33 weeks during 1977-78. For 13 of those weeks it was shown on two screens. “Star Wars” ran even longer at the similarly-named and designed UA Movies at Woodland in Grand Rapids (no page on Cinema Treasures, as far as I can tell).
“The Sound of Music” played here 82 weeks during its 1965-66 roadshow run. I imagine that is the longest engagement ever to play at the Tower or anywhere in Oklahoma City.
Cinema 4 South played “Star Wars” for 36 weeks during 1977-78, the longest run of the movie in Tennessee.
“Star Wars” ran 42 weeks here during its original 1977-78 release, which I imagine is the long-run record for the theater. A Dolby sound system was installed for the engagement, one of four in the Redstone/National Amusements circuit to do so.
(For the Pittsburgh market, “Star Wars” ran a longer period of time – 59 weeks – at the downtown Bank Cinema I & II, though it didn’t open there until July 20, 1977, whereas Showcase Cinemas began theirs several weeks earlier on May 25.)
MikeRogers… “Jaws” played 14 weeks first-run in Clearwater (at the Capitol).
Countryside 6 played “Star Wars” for 39 weeks during 1977-78, the second-longest run of that film in the Tampa Bay region and third-longest in all of Florida. I would imagine it also is the longest run of any film ever to play in Clearwater.
Grand opening: March 12, 1976.
The stuff you’re writing about, techman, reminds me of the crackpot ideas that R.M. Hayes wrote about in the pages of early issues of Widescreen Review magazine and in the book he co-authored, Wide Screen Movies.
That would be August of ‘79. :–)
I’m surprised no one has challenged Techman’s “Spartacus” 30fps claim from a couple weeks ago.
<<< “Hard to believe that ‘The Sound of Music’ played here for almost a year during the 1960’s.” >>>
It’s hard to believe because it’s not true! The Lakewood engagement of “The Sound of Music” played ten weeks during late-1966/early-‘67 following the close of the original 90-week, reserved-seat run at the Martin Cinerama.