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raysson’s latest comment contradicts my comment from January 2nd. Per his request, I recently sent him some information pertaining to early Dolby installations in North Carolina, but, unfortunately, it would appear he has misinterpreted that info. What I had mentioned to him in regard to this theater was that Dolby’s records suggest a timeframe of no earlier than December 1978 and no later than July 1980 as when this theater first had installed a Dolby cinema processor. If, however, he insists a Dolby unit was in place in time for “Grease” (June 1978), well, let him prove it!
(raysson: How is “Dolby” handled in the Chapel Hill newspaper ads for “Grease”? Is there explicit text indicating a Dolby presentation and/or new sound system installtion? If it’s merely the Dolby logo embedded into the ad, then I hardly think that qualifies as an indicator this theater ran “Grease” in Dolby Stereo.)
Eastwood wrote: “The first public showing of STAR WARS was at 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25, 1977. We had 2 invitational (sold out) showings at 8:00 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday prior. We modified the showtimes to add a midnight showing on Friday and Saturday beginning 7 days later beginning on Friday, June 3rd and we continued with midnight shows the remainder of the summer.”
Thank you for that, including clarifying the situation with the midnight screenings. On this comments page way back in 2006 I couldn’t seem to convince another member that any midnight screenings of the original STAR WARS took place after the opening rather than on opening night. There was simply no way an unheard of movie would open with a midnight screening on a Tuesday night during the spring in the Mid-West.
And here are a few things that don’t quite match up with my research….
Eastwood wrote: “Our exclusive run for the state of Indiana was for 12 weeks. However, the popularity of the show blew all records and Fox added Glendale, Eastgate, Greenwood and 1 other (I forget) theatre at the 8 week mark with additional openings each week for most of the summer.”
My research shows that the expanded bookings of STAR WARS during Week #9 were actually at Lafayette Square and Regency, not the ones you cite. (Glendale played it the following summer during the saturation re-release.)
Eastwood wrote: “The original 25' by 40' screen and red traveler curtains were replaced in 1973 with a 64', 36° curved Cinerama screen for the re-issue of the original 7 Cinerama movies beginning with THIS IS CINERAMA. The Cinerama movies failed at the box office and Cinerama, Inc. abandoned the idea. That is how the giant screen and Cinerama lenses for STAR WARS came to be in the Eastwood.”
Only the first Cinerama film got re-released. There may have been plans to do more or all of them but ultimately only the first one got re-released in 1973.
Eastwood wrote: “GREASE enjoyed a 28 week run leading up to the opening of our Christmas picture that year, Disney’s BLACK HOLE.”
THE BLACK HOLE was a Christmas 1979 release, not 1978. So which film actually played the Eastwood at Christmas 1978? I know it wasn’t SUPERMAN. Maybe INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS? Or, given the Clint Eastwood connection…EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE?
Eastwood wrote: “Other great pictures followed for shorter runs leading up to our June 1979 premier of ALIEN.”
ALIEN opened May 25th, the same day as STAR WARS two years earlier.
“Return of the Jedi” played there as a twin, so 1983 was the latest it got twinned.
Mikeoaklandpark wrote: “It was twined in the late 80’s”
This theater was twinned several years earlier than the late 1980s claim.
raysson wrote: “Dobly Stereo System was installed in this theatre for the June 16,1978 opening of ‘GREASE’”
Dolby’s installation records indicate a Dolby sound system (CP50) was installed at the Manor in February 1978, not June.
Movies released with Dolby Stereo prints in the early months of 1978 ahead of “Grease” included “FM,” “Big Wednesday,” “The Manitou,” and the re-release of “American Graffiti.” As well, ‘77 Dolby productions still in release in early '78 included “Star Wars,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” Saturday Night Fever,“ and “Pete’s Dragon.” I haven’t researched it, but it’s possible one or more of those played at the Manor in a Dolby Stereo presentation before “Grease.”
dickneeds111 wrote: “"Oklahoma was shot both in Cinemascope and Todd AO at the same time.”
Yeah, but they weren’t distributed at the same time. In North America, only Todd-AO prints, distributed by Magna, were booked for the first thirteen months of the film’s release. Then the 35mm CinemaScope version, distributed by 20th Century-Fox, became available for hundreds of general-release bookings. All of the original roadshow engagements were the 70mm version (except for the final few weeks of the Detroit engagement which had been switched to the 35mm version as a test).
On a related note, some of you may recall a while ago I posted a list of the original roadshow engagements of “Oklahoma!” This info may clarify many of the points mentioned in the discussion going on here on the Astor page. Here again is the link if you wish to take a refresher look or if you missed it when first posted. The list is complete, as far as I know, up to the point in time the 35mm general release began. (There were a few more 70mm presentations that began beyond my cut-off point — plus international — but I didn’t include them because I wanted to present a concise timeline.)
Oklahoma! Roadshow Engagements
dickneeds111 wrote: “As far as Oklahoma it ran at the Saxon in 35mm cinemascope roadshow for most of its engagement until Todd AO was put in and then in Todd AO for the rest of its engagement.”
Not true, dickneeds111. There’s plenty of evidence available to support the claim that the Saxon installed Todd-AO equipment specifically for the “Oklahoma!” engagement, which began in September 1956. That was two months before any 35mm prints of “Oklahoma!” were put into circulation. The timeline alone proves you wrong.
dickneeds111 wrote: “Raintree County from what I have read was filmed in Camera 65(same as Ben Hur) but was never shown in 70mm on its 1st release anywhere. MGM said they could not get any 70mm theatres in the country because they were all booked solid at that time.”
It’s a myth that there weren’t any available 70mm theaters to show “Raintree County.” The theater in which its world premiere engagement was held, the Brown in Louisville, was 70mm-equipped at the time, having previously played “Oklahoma!” and “Around the World in Eighty Days.” Also among the first few bookings of “Raintree County” when it was still a roadshow was the McVickers in Chicago, which had Todd-AO installed for “Oklahoma!.” If no 70mm prints were made for “Raintree County” it was a choice made by the distributor for reasons other than theater availability.
In the overview, Lost Memory wrote: “Twinned in 1978, the Eric I & II opened with “Superman” starring Christopher Reeve.”
This theater was twinned earlier than 1978.
Prior to “Porgy and Bess” the Astor ran another large-format movie: “Raintree County,” which had a roadshow run there in autumn ‘57 (though I suspect it was screened from a 35mm reduction print, though some historians might debate that).
RogerA wrote: “There was an article about the Todd-AO conversions to both the Saxon and The Gary theaters in late 1957 in Boxoffice”
The article is wrong if it’s claiming those installations took place at the same time.
You’re misinformed, RogerA. The Saxon’s Todd-AO roadshow run of “Oklahoma!” began in September 1956.
RogerA wrote: “So far with all of my research the first 70mm film to run at the Astor was Spartacus. The Gary got Todd-AO in ‘57 and it appears that Oklahoma and Around the World in 80 Days ran at what is now the Wang Center and what was then the Metropolitan.”
All of those claims I believe are incorrect! My research informs me that “Porgy and Bess” was the first 70mm presentation at the Astor, commencing in August 1959, fourteen months before “Spartacus.”
The Gary’s first 70mm presentation appears to have been “Sleeping Beauty” in 1959.
“Oklahoma!” and “Around the World in 80 Days” played their Boston roadshow runs at the Saxon, not the Wang Center/Metropolitan.
It was actually Richard Attenborough’s “Magic” that replaced “Star Wars.” “Superman” followed “Magic” a month later.
Daverem…Tom Moyer’s Luxury Theatres operated the Washington Square Cinemas in the 1986-87 timeframe.
First-run STAR WARS in Tulsa was at Southroads Mall.
boxcop… At the time of the “Superman” engagement, the Dome Complex and the Town & Country were in competition with each other. The Domes were run by Syufy and the Town & Country was run by Mann. Syufy’s (aka Century) ownership of the Town & Country came years later. See my Still Believing A Man Can Fly article for a reference to Town & Country being a Mann operation in 1978/79 (and for a list of where else “Superman” played when it was new).
How ironic that someone who refuses to use capital letters where appropriate would claim someone has misspelled a word.
RSM3853…I’d hate to think your effort will go to waste if folks choose not to read them because they dislike the layout or question the accuracy/comprehensiveness of the information. Using Wednesday dates is your prerogative, of course, but I think it will lead to confusion. Some titles are listed a week late (CLEOPATRA, for instance) and I suspect it’s because you used Variety, which reports grosses a week after the reporting period.
Having spent numerous hours researching JAWS for a retrospective article, I can state that I found no theaters that opened it on Wednesday, June 18th, 1975. I found all “first wave” openings were Friday, June, 20th (but I guess you should list it as the 18th if you insist on using the “Wednesday of the opening week” approach).
You don’t need to re-type everything. It’s the Cinema Treasures application that is causing the jumbled paragraph layout. To create a list, simply paste in your title, then follow it with two spaces and a hard return, and it will create…
10/17/56 Around the World in 80 Days
10/01/58 South Pacific
Dolby’s install records from the summer 1978 period (when “Grease” opened) make no reference to this theater, suggesting the install took place during a later timeframe, the records are incorrect, or a Dolby-compatible competitor format system was what was installed.
RSM3853… Also, I appreciate all of the research (as I am sure others here do as well), and I wish more people compiled info of this type, but a few undesirable things, in my opinion, stand out. One, the lists are difficult to read presented as a giant paragraph. I think readers would find it much easier to read and reference if you used a left-margin-based list. (I think to create a hard return in the current Cinema Treasures format is two spaces and a return.) Two, I think using the Wednesday dates is going to disappoint or even infuriate anyone with a serious interest in this type of information. It would not have taken much more time to have scanned through the microfilm to ascertain the precise opening date. And, three, I think it would be useful and interesting to identify those films that were a roadshow or employed any type of special distribution/exhibition process to distinguish them from the ordinary releases.
RSM3853… “Jaws” is missing from your list. It started 06/20/75 (or 06/18/75 using your “Wednesday of the opening week” approach).
How many screens did this theater have as of the winter of 1978/79?