AFI Silver Theatre

8633 Colesville Road,
Silver Spring, MD 20910

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Showing 1 - 25 of 328 comments

Giles on March 14, 2017 at 4:42 pm

well on the positive side – the DCP of ‘The Dark Crystal’ is the best it’s looked and sounded since, well … it’s 70mm engagement

JodarMovieFan on March 14, 2017 at 3:27 pm

Thanks, guys.

I can’t think of the last time I saw a DCP movie at AFI, if ever. Unless, I was feeling nostalgic or curious as to how the movie looks on DCP, I would have avoided seeing it. I can see the economic sense of showing movies in DCP, but I agree with you on classics on film.

I did see the Blu-Ray for the first Star Trek movie, which was disappointing..if that comes close.

The monthly schedule shows a few retrospective titles from 1982. They’ve got Dark Crystal and Blade Runner, again. If they book Gandhi and/or Tootsie, I may want to catch it there again. I’m curious to see how Tootsie would play to a contemporary audience. I enjoyed it on demand the other day and remember the audience laughs at different points in the movie as experienced in a theater.

HowardBHaas on March 13, 2017 at 5:10 am

JodarMovieFan, A friend told me. I have many friends in the film community. And, from those friends, I know how expensive digital projectors are to acquire, to replace, and how impossible it can be to repair them, whereas it was easier to repair 35mm projectors. Movie theater operators, whether indie or chain, didn’t cry out that they needed digital projectors or couldn’t afford projectionists & shipping costs of film. Hollywood studios decided it would be easier to provide films on digital format. However, classic films don’t look the same on DCP as they do on 35mm or 70mm, the formats they were meant to be seen! (and that’s also why in recent years, we’ve got a few more new 70mm films) And all classic films aren’t available on DCP. This year, I saw more Oscar nominated films before the Oscars were announced than I normally see even afterwards. Of all Best Picture, Director, and acting nominations, I saw all films but Nocturnal Affairs (which now I would like to see). My favorites that were nominated are Hacksaw Ridge, Fences, Hidden Figures, and Lion.

sguttag on March 12, 2017 at 10:37 pm

The AFI/Silver NEVER ran movies on a platter except on rare occasions in theatres 2 or 3 (not even an option in 1). My only comment on the projectionists for the site is that the regular projectionists are no longer there.

JodarMovieFan on March 12, 2017 at 9:56 pm

Howard, how did you hear this?

I had thought they ran films on automated platters, except for archival prints and 70mm that require/demand professional handling.

I, too, have noticed they don’t put film formats anymore on the titles.

Maybe the place is in financial trouble where they can’t afford to hire a projectionist. This is why movie theaters are all digital now, isn’t it?

2016 was a low film/movie watching year for me..first time I missed any/all of the Oscar nominated films. I did see Lala land and fell asleep. lol..more on that later.

Perhaps, Steve can shed some light on the lack of at least a PT projectionist.

HowardBHaas on February 23, 2017 at 2:31 pm

Sadly, I found out why the website doesn’t list any classic films in film. The theater is NOT showing any 35mm or 70mm film. The theater is not paying film projectionist to show real film. This would be tragic, as the AFI has always prided itself on its classic film program. DCPs & lesser are not the same.

HowardBHaas on February 22, 2017 at 2:51 pm

Looking at the website today, it seems none of the classic movies list the format- 35mm or 70mm, DCP or lesser!

JodarMovieFan on September 11, 2016 at 6:55 pm

Ah hah! Someone must’ve been listening. They have Star Trek: TOS Movie screenings this week at the AFI, but mostly in 35mm and DCP. The Motion Picture is Blu-Ray and is the Director’s Edition. Sadly, no 70mm for anything. The Blu-Ray presentation was underwhelming the first go around even though it was in the Historic Auditorium. III maybe worth a viewing in 35mm. I can’t believe I’m saying that after all the years of complaining about scratched and mishandled 35mm film prints at the local megaplex. Maybe its a studio vault print. Then again, why not the 70mm, if its a vault print. :P Decisions, decisions. To boldly go, or not.

JodarMovieFan on September 4, 2016 at 3:33 pm

Movie, no recliners like AMC. Maybe one day? The back of the original auditorium has very comfortable wide seats and space for your cups and a food item.

I enjoy the rear seating in the original, but lose that sound envelopment unless I’m sitting closer even though its a THX cert auditorium. I’m thinking that many shows just aren’t played loud enough for my taste. I can’t remember the last time they played the THX trailer, probably in the 00s and the Life sound trailer. Then again, I haven’t visited this year, yet, maybe they’ve got the newest space one. :)

moviebuff82 on September 4, 2016 at 10:03 am

are there recliners at this venue?

HowardBHaas on September 4, 2016 at 6:06 am

Very much enjoyed very good 35mm prints of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and 1969 Goodbye, Mr. Chips, both with mono sound, Chips with intermission, Friday, in aud 1, with use of red curtain, which arrived about May 2016.

HowardBHaas on September 1, 2016 at 5:17 am

Thanks! what month was the new curtain installed? I will mention it at the Intro above.

sguttag on September 1, 2016 at 5:02 am

The previous curtain was just some of the wall fabric. There were numerous problems with it when it opened since it has to turn 90 degrees and stack. The heavier fabric would stress the system as it made the turn.

The new curtain should last longer, providing the track system/carriers are maintained.

HowardBHaas on September 1, 2016 at 4:56 am

JodarMovieFan, my photo of old curtain is the profile photo on this page. Many colors like the auditorium, no doubt inspired by the auditorium colors. Not as photogenic as the red curtain.

JodarMovieFan on August 31, 2016 at 10:29 pm

Thats a nice shade of red, Howard. Nice picture ^5.

What was the color of the old curtain? It wasn’t that bright whatever it was.

HowardBHaas on August 31, 2016 at 4:57 am

I was delighted to see in the main, historic auditorium, wonderful 35mm prints of Northwest Passage (1940) and Barry Lyndon (1975) on 8-20-16. I’ve posted photos of those movies on the marquee, and photo of new red curtain in the photo section. I was told new curtain installed a few months ago? Why did the original curtain have to go? Photos are better with the new red curtain.

JodarMovieFan on August 30, 2016 at 6:06 pm

I happened to look at the AFI Calendar today and discovered they’re showing DCP versions of the Star Wars trilogy Fri, Sat and Sun. I wonder if these are the updated updated versions that Lucas tweaked with the last DVD sale..the one where Hayden Christensen is the Anakin image seen at the end of ‘Return of the Jedi’ and not the original guy.

Later in the month, they’ve booked 2001 once again, in 70mm, with the stars Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood for Q&A. I think they were here last year or a couple of years ago for a Q&A. I wonder what the occasion is. I’m also wondering if this is the fresh print that was rumored to have been struck. If so, this may be worth visiting especially with the stars there. To be honest, for me anyway, I would definitely go if the VFX Supervisor Doug Trumbull was there. I would have liked to ask him some questions regarding the film and other projects he has worked on over the years and his current work in hi def virtual reality.

September is the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. It would’ve been nice if AFI had a 70mm movie retrospective. In70mm has shown bookings of II, IV and VI, over the year in different venues, so at least those exist. The DC area didn’t get a 70mm booking of VI when it came out. :(

Giles on January 8, 2016 at 8:52 am

I saw ‘Hateful Eight’ here yesterday midday and I thought the presentation was outstanding – typical for AFI Silver in my opinion ~wow!~

Morricone’s score at times was so powerful and suitably loud.

my only gripe is that Tarantino should have had some entre' act music at the beginning of the second part of the movie – it abruptly jumps back into the movie without much of a breather.

HowardBHaas on December 31, 2015 at 4:46 am

Here’s a link to my full report, on experiencing “The Hateful Eight” at the AFI Silver, (

sguttag on December 29, 2015 at 12:29 pm

70mm has a normal ratio of 2.20. At the AFI, like most older theatres, the front-end sort of dictates how big an image you can work with. Also, don’t confuse width with area. I believe that the 2.20 ratio has the largest area at the Silver. 35mm scope is wider but less tall.

HowardBHaas on December 29, 2015 at 7:33 am

JodarMovieFan, yes, I have the movie program. Email sent to everybody stated programs as long as supply lasts, so don’t wait for last screenings. Well, it won’t sell out during business days so they may have enough programs. AS to why 70mm scope doesn’t fill the screen, that’s because 2.2 aspect ratio of the classic 70 mm films rather than 2.35 regular scope. Not as wide- so using full height of the AFI screen, projected not as wide. Less wide I think so 6 track could fit on the film.

JodarMovieFan on December 29, 2015 at 7:25 am

Great posts. I guess I will trek to see H8ful 8 here as opposed to my local BowTie, where it is reported the experience was not good. Still.. $20 for 70mm! At least throw in a free drink. Howard, did you get a movie program?

Steve, why is it 70mm does not fill the width of the (presumably Historic auditorium) screen? Is it the lenses? What do they use? I remember the previous owner of the Senator touting the then lenses used were some German type.. Bauer? I suspect the Bauer lenses are the best.

sguttag on December 29, 2015 at 5:40 am

Not entirely accurate Giles. The AFI/Silver (in all three screens) have both side and vertical masking. Believe it or not, their normal 70mm picture (2.20:1 ratio) does NOT fill the width of the screen but does fill the height. So for the Hateful Eight and all other UP70 presentations, the screen actually DOES get wider as well as less tall to complete the 2.76:1 ratio.

The current Uptown screen tops out at 2.39:1 and hasn’t gone out to the full Cinerama/UP70 ratio for a long, long time. Even if the Uptown were to run Hateful Eight, they’d likely mask it down in height rather than put in a new screen and rig it for the wider format (unfortunately, we’ll never know though I agree the Uptown’s front-end could have made this look pretty special…though lensing may have proven tricky with the deep curve and “modern” lenses).

While I don’t know the reasoning for the pricing on this movie, I guarantee you that more $$$ is being spent on the presentation at the AFI/Silver than Gallery Place. Rumor has it (and I hope they are wrong) that Gallery Place has damaged their print already. The AFI/Silver has full-time professional projectionists. The reports of the presentation quality there isn’t by accident.

HowardBHaas on December 28, 2015 at 9:00 pm

The Hateful Eight was selling out the afternoon & evening screenings over the weekend. I’ve never seen a movie 2 days in a row & almost never see a new movie 2ce, but I attended Saturday & Sunday evenings. Unlike chain multiplexes, full use of the curtain (before, intermission and close) & proper masking was used. Sunday was even better because the curtain was closed until the start, with no slide show before using the curtain. Projection & surround were excellent. The movie was 5.1 surround. Souvenir programs were handed out. Three cheers to the AFI workers each day for the special presentations! And, as to the movie, it was awesome, including the details seen due to 70mm, the widescreen vistas, and the score.

Giles on December 18, 2015 at 7:28 am

the screens drops down vertically to facilitate the wider image (noted when I saw ‘Khartoum’ at the prior 70mm mini-fest) – it sadly doesn’t expand horizontally as the Uptown masking does – now that screen when I saw a reissue of ‘Ben-Hur’ was jaw dropping.