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70mm in Sydney, Australia

All 70mm film lists
Written by: Peter Fraser. With thanks to David Coles and Peter Mason for their assistance.Date: 30.04.1999
Updated 27-05-23

Who is Peter Fraser?

I was born in New Zealand in Wellington in 1945. My parents worked in about five local city cinemas. So I grew up not having to pay to see films. If you saw the film "Cinema Paradiso" (about the kid who loves being in projection rooms) you will get some idea of how I spend my childhood. This also gave me a great appreciation of European cinema at a very early age. I also worked in cinemas when I was at school (part time) working in the shop selling ice creams etc etc.

When I left school I also worked part time as a doorman/usher and relieving manager. I came to Australia in 1967 to live but still correspond with two cinema managers I worked for. We had a 70mm Cinerama cinema in our town (same company as the cinema I worked for). Screen was too high (due to needing fire exits under the screen. It was a disaster. Still the view from the projection room was okay. Not a very big screen. I worked at a 70mm cinema (56 ft wide screen). Another local cinema had a 60ft 70mm screen (the biggest in New Zealand and Australia ).

I managed to see all the early 70mm films and at the cinema I worked at, the screen was wall to wall, ceiling to floor almost which made it great for 70mm.I often went after school to see films where my parents worked. Having to see the "The Sound of Music" for 10 months was not the greatest experience. I did see "The Miracle of Todd-AO" lots of times and sat all over the cinema to see it you could feel anything whilst watching the roller coaster scene. I have a friend of a friend who is getting me a video of this short taken from an 8mm film he has. I also can remember when CinemaScope was installed in the same cinema (for "The Robe") when I was a kid.

Sydney 70mm screens were very small and prints were always wasted in these cinemas. There are a couple of reasonably big screens here now (2 x 50 ft and one 60ft). I saw about 180 70mm films in my life. Saw in New Zealand 5 of the 3 strip Cinerama films.

I have met Keith Swadkins (The International Cinerama Society) and Willem Bouwmeester when they were last in Australia. I have lots of Cinerama souvenirs in my collection and thousands of pages of items if interest and magazines articles. I am a friend of David Coles who occasionally writes for ..in 70mm – The 70mm Newsletter.

I also work part time as an actor when I get the spare time. Does not pay much but I love stage work. Finally I do not like Imax (we have the biggest screen in the world in Sydney. I hate the shape of the screen. I saw Cinerama in many theatres in the late sixties in America: Loved the Warner in New York where I saw "Grand Prix" and "The Dirty Dozen". I saw at the fabulous Capitol cinema also in New York on the Cinerama screen.
More in 70mm reading:

70mm Cinema and Film in Australia

Cinerama at the Melbourne Plaza

A comment to "The lost world of 70mm Theatres"

The lost world of 70mm Theatres By Ian Hanson

In The Picture - Tom Down Under

70mm Release Summary Sydney
Super Panavision 70 in Sydney
Ultra Panavision 70 in Sydney
Todd-AO in Sydney
Super Technirama 70 in Sydney
70mm Blow Up in Sydney – VistaVision
Village Cinema City
70mm Blow-up in Sydney - Spherical
70MM Blow-up in Sydney - Pitt Centre
CinemaScope 55 in Sydney
Sydney in 35mm - Part 1

In 7OMM with Doug Louden

70mm in Sydney
Note: The release dates shown are the dates the films opened to the public. Where known, the invitational premiere dates are shown in brackets.

"South Pacific"26 December, 1958MayfairRan until June 1962
"The Miracle of Todd–AO"26 December, 1958Mayfair
"Solomon and Sheba"(9) 10 December, 1959ParisVery small screen. A waste of a 70mm print
"Can-Can"16 April, 1960Paris
"Porgy and Bess"23 June, 1960ForumVery small screen. A waste of a 70mm print.
"Spartacus"9 December, 1960Forum
"Oklahoma!"9 November, 1961ParisFirst time in 70mm
"Black Tights"23 February, 1962Forum
"El Cid"21 April, 1962Forum
"The Alamo"26 April, 1962Paris26 minutes shorter than USA and New Zealand versions
"West Side Story"(6) 7 June, 1962Mayfair
"Exodus"12 July, 1962Paris
"55 Days at Peking"26 July, 1963Forum
"Around the World in 80 Days"15 August, 1963ParisFirst time in 70mm
"Barabbas"16 August, 1963Barclay
"The King and I"10 October, 1963ParisFirst time in 70mm
"Lawrence of Arabia"(31 Oct) 1 November, 1963Barclay20 Minutes shorter than the London version. 35mm prologue, about Lawrence, was also shown
"Cleopatra"(5) 6 December, 1963Mayfair60 minutes shorter than USA version
"The Fall of the Roman Empire"10 July, 1964Forum
"It’s a Mad,Mad,Mad,Mad World"3 December, 1964PlazaApprox. 38 minutes shorter than the USA version. Shown in Cinerama. Cinema originally built for Grandeur 70 but the 1929/31 70mm era bypassed Australia
"The Long Ships"26 December, 1964Barclay
"The Sound of Music"17 April, 1965MayfairTransferred to Paris cinema on 20 Dec.1967 and ran until 2 Oct.1968.
"Circus World"4 June, 1965Forum
"Lord Jim"(10) 11 June, 1965Barclay
"My Fair Lady"(28) 29 July, 1965CenturyVery small screen. A waste of a 70mm print
"In Harms Way"(16) 17 Septembe, 1965rForum
"Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines"14 October, 1965Paris
"Genghis Khan"10 December, 1965Barclay
"The Great Race"17 December, 1965Forum
"The Greatest Story Ever Told"7 April, 1966PlazaShown in Cinerama
"The Hallelujah Trail"15 September, 1966PlazaShown in Cinerama
"Battle of the Bulge"10 November, 1966PlazaShown in Cinerama
"The Agony and the Ecstacy"17 November, 1966Paris70mm prologue not screened although it appeared on the video
"Cheyenne Autumn"18 November, 1966Forum
"The Lost Command"23 December, 1966Forum
"The Professionals"23 December, 1966Barclay
"Is Paris Burning"3 March, 1967Forum
"Khartoum"(9) 10 March, 1967PlazaShown in Cinerama
"Gone With The Wind"25 March, 1967AscotBest non-Cinerama 70mm screen in the city
"The Bible…In The Beginning"1 June, 1967Century 
"Casino Royale"(8) 9 June, 1967Barclay
"Grand Prix"(13) 14 July, 1967PlazaShown in Cinerama
"The Sand Pebbles"1 September, 1967ParisApprox. 18 minutes shorter than USA version
"Camelot"(20) 21 December, 1967Century
"Dr. Dolittle"21 December, 1967Mayfair
"Doctor Zhivago"21 December, 1967AscotFirst time in 70mm
"Far From the Madding Crowd"(21) 22 February, 1968Ascot
2OO1: A Space Odyssey(1) 2 May, 1968PlazaShown in Cinerama
"Guns for San Sebastian"10 May, 1968Forum
"Zulu"12 July, 1968ForumFirst time in 70mm
"Valley of the Dolls"25 July, 1968Plaza
"Becket"4 October, 1968ForumFirst time in 70mm
"Seven Brides for Seven Brothers"1 November, 1968ForumFirst time in 70mm
"The Hellfighters"13 December, 1968Ascot
"Ben Hur"13 December, 1968ForumFirst time in 70mm
"Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"19 December, 1968Paris
"Finian’s Rainbow"19 December, 1968Century
"Custer of the West"20 February, 1969PlazaShown in Cinerama
"Funny Girl"21 March, 1969Barclay
"Ice Station Zebra"3 April, 1969PlazaShown in Cinerama
"Mackenna’s Gold"5 April, 1969Forum
"STAR!"23 May, 1969Mayfair
"The Longest Day"5 June, 1969ParisFirst time in 70mm
"Sweet Charity"(14) 15 August, 1969AscotMost successful season in the world – running 8 months. Version shown had the "happy ending" "Melbourne screened the "sad" ending version
"The Lion in Winter"(20) 21 August, 1969Century
"Those Daring Young Men in their Jaunty Jalopies"3 October, 1969Forum
"Hello, Dolly!"(18) 19 December, 1969Mayfair
"Castle Keep"20 February, 1970Forum
"Paint Your Wagon"(5) 6 March, 1970Barclay
"The Wild Bunch"20 March, 1970Forum
"Airport"(15) 16 April, 1970AscotSeason opened in 35mm. 70mm print screened late into the lengthy season
"Marooned"(27) 28 May, 1970Mayfair
"The Jolson Story"2 July, 1970AstraFirst time in 70mm. Screened in suburban Parramatta only.
"Patton"(8) 9 July, 1970Mayfair
"Cromwell"(19) 20 August, 1970Mayfair
"Waterloo"(18) 19 November, 1970Paris
"Song of Norway"24 December, 1970Mayfair
"Darling Lili"26 December, 1970Barclay
"Ryan’s Daughter"(21) 22 January, 1971Ascot
"Too Late, the Hero"8 April, 1971Paris
"Le Mans"(21) 23 July, 1971Barclay
"Tora! Tora! Tora!"29 July, 1971PlazaBest place to see 70mm in Australia.Had the biggest and deepest curved screen.
"The Last Valley"30 September, 1971Mayfair
"The Great Battle"28 October, 1971Plaza
"Raid on Rommel"29 October, 1971Barclay
"Wild Rovers"19 November, 1971Barclay
"Nicholas and Alexandra"(7) 8 December, 1971Paris
"Krakatoa, East of Java"16 December, 1971AstraScreened in Suburban Parramatta only. Never shown in Cinerama.
"The Boy Friend"(22) 24 December, 1971Barclay25 minutes shorter than original version. Full version was eventually screened in 35mm in the late nineties.
"The Andromeda Strain"25 August, 1972Ascot
"The Cowboys"20 July, 1972Mayfair
"Poem of Dances"14 September, 1972Mayfair
"Scrooge"17 November, 1972Forum
"Young Winston"(6) 7 December, 1972Century
"Never give An inch"9 February, 1973Ascot
"The Poseidon Adventure"1 March, 1973Plaza
"Lost Horizon"(15) 16 August, 1973Paris
"The Bridge on the River Kwai"11 October, 1973MayfairFirst time in 70mm
"The Ten Commandments"23 November, 1973ParamountFirst time in 70mm
"Tom Sawyer"(12) 13 December, 1973Paris
"Jesus Christ Superstar"21 December, 1973Paramount
"The Great Caruso"17 May, 1974Sydney Opera House Concert HallFirst time in 70mm.Screened for one day only
"The Three Muskeeters"25 July, 1974MayfairPremiered at the Sydney Film festival in June at the STATE - first and only 70mm screening at the STATE until 1980.
"Earthquake"20 December, 1974ForumIn Sensurround
"That’s Entertainment"20 December, 1974Barclay
"The Towering Inferno"27 March, 1975Plaza
"Rollerball"(13) 14 August, 1975Mayfair
"Lucky Lady"(14) 15 April, 1976Plaza
"Deliverance"15 April, 1976VillageFirst time in 70mm
"The Return of a Man Called Horse"16 December, 1976Plaza
"Logan’s Run"17 December, 1976Paramount
"Star Wars"27 October, 1977HOYTS
"Close Encounters of the Third Kind"(15) 16 March, 1978Hoyts
"Capricorn One"(26) 27 July, 1978Hoyts
"Grease"(2) 4 August, 1978Paramount
"Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band"24 November, 1978Barclay
"The Wiz"(23) 24 August, 1979Barclay
"Apocalypse Now"(15) 16 November, 1979Hoyts
"Alien"(5) 6 December, 1979Hoyts
"The Muppet Movie"13 December, 1979Hoyts
"Star Trek"(19) 21 December, 1979ParamountFilm opened in 35mm. 70mm print screened later on in the season.
"The Rose"31 January, 1980Hoyts
"The Black Hole"28 March, 1980Barclay
"Can’t Stop the Music"20 June, 1980ParamountSydney season was the most successful in the world
"The Empire Strikes Back"(6) 7 August, 1980Hoyts
"Russian Adventure"25 August, 1980ForumSat on the shelf for 14 years. Never shown in Cinerama. Screened for 6 days only.
"Divine Madness"5 December 1980State Cinema
"That’s Entertainment II"10 December, 1980ForumFirst time in 70mm. Screened for one day only
"The Jazz Singer"(12) 13 February, 1981StateThe biggest cinema in Sydney had the smallest screen. A waste of a 70mm print
"Oliver"30 April, 1981HoytsFirst time in 70mm
"Raiders of the Lost Ark"14 August, 1981Paramount
"The Sleeping Beauty"7 May, 1982StateFirst time in 70mm
Napoleon24th May 1982State
"Quest for Fire"10 June, 1982Hoyts
"Poltergeist"6 August, 1982Paramount
"Rocky III"(11) 12 August, 1982Hoyts
"Star Trek II"(12) 13 August, 1982State
"E.T. – The Extra Terrestrial"(25) 26 November, 1982State
"Pink Floyd – The Wall"3 December, 1982Barclay
"Annie"9 December, 1982Hoyts
The Best Little Whorehouse inTexas9 December 1982PARAMOUNT
"The Return of the Jedi"(26) 27 October, 1983Hoyts
Brainstorm9 December, 1983Pitt Center
"The Right Stuff"8 March, 1984Village70mm print damaged during its opening week. Replaced with a 35mm print.70mm print transferred to suburban Sylvania on 22 March for two weeks. New 70mm print screened in the nineties.
"Greystoke – the Legend of Tarzan"3 May, 1984State
"Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom"19 July, 1984State
"Gremlins"13 December, 1984State
"Amadeus"14 February, 1985Hoyts
"2010"21 March, 1985State
"Starman"6 June, 1985Hoyts
"Lifeforce"15 August, 1985Hoyts
"Cocoon"22 August, 1985Hoyts
"Santa claus"5 December, 1985Hoyts
"Silverado"12 December, 1985Hoyts
Young Sherlock Holmes19 December 1985 Lyceum 
"Rocky IV"19 December, 1985Hoyts
"The Year of the Dragon"9 January, 1986Hoyts
"Top Gun"31 July, 1986Lyceum
"Aliens"(5) 6 November, 1986Hoyts
"The Mission"4 December, 1986Pitt center
"The Color of Money"19 February, 1987Greater Union George Street
"The Untouchables"(2) 3 September, 1987Greater Union George Street
"The Last Emperor"26 November, 1987Hoyts
"Cry Freedom"(17) 18 February, 1988Pitt Center
"Empire of the Sun"(9) 10 March, 1988Hoyts
"Who Framed Roger Rabbit"(23) 24 November, 1988Greater Union George Street
"Willow"15 December, 1988Greater Union George Street
"Lawrence of Arabia"13 July, 1989HoytsRestored Director’s cut.
"The Bear"12 October, 1989Hoyts
"Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade"June, 1989State Theatre70mm print used for one screening only at the premiere and then exported
"Arachnophobia"26 December, 1990Pitt Center
"Edward Scissorhands"(20) 21 March, 1991Hoyts
"The Doors"(29) 30 May, 1991Hoyts
"Spartacus"(16) 24 October, 1991OrpheumRestored Director’s cut. Screened in suburban Cremorne only
"Hook"26 March, 1992Hoyts
"The Last Boy Scout"23 april, 1992Village cinema 
"Howard’s End"21 May, 1992Hoyts
"Far and Away"4 June, 1992Greater Union George StreetScreened in Suburban Paramatta also. This is the only time that two 70mm prints, of the same film, screened in Sydney simultaneously.
"Beauty and the Beast"11 July, 1992Greater Union George StreetScreened for three days of public previews from 6 to 8 July
"Patriot Games" 13 August, 1992Greater Union George St 
"Lethal Weapon 3" 3 September, 1992Village cinema 
1993No new films screened.
"Remains of the Day"24 February, 1994Hoyts
"Baraka"22 July, 1994OrpheumFirst time in 70mm. Screened in suburban Cremorne only. As at January 2000, the film is still screening several times a month. 6th year
"Little Buddha"28 July, 1994Pitt CenterVery small screen. A waste of 70mm
"Gettysburg"8 September, 1994Pitt Center
1995No new films screened.
1996No new films screened.
"Hamlet"22 May, 1997Hoyts4 Hour version later replaced with the 3 hour 35mm version
"Vertigo"10 July, 1997Pitt CenterFirst time in 70mm. Restored print
"Titanic"(17) 18 December, 1997Hoyts35mm print sometimes substituted when inexperienced 70mm projectionists were on duty. Public not advised re this problem.

1. November 2005


Just a quick note regarding the list "70mm in Sydney" located on your (fantastic) web-site.

In his exhaustive list Peter fraser has quoted:

""Titanic" (17) 18 December, 1997 Hoyts Only 70mm screening in Australia. 35mm print sometimes substituted when inexperienced 70mm projectionists were on duty. Public not advised re this problem."

I am a Melbourne projectionist of 25+years experience in the industry and currently work at both the Melbourne IMAX Theatre and also at the art-deco ASTOR THEATRE in suburban St. Kilda. I have shown "TITANIC" in 70mm many, many times here in Melbourne, so perhaps a correction to claim it has only ever been shown in Sydney is in order?

The 1936 ASTOR is one of the few Australian venues still capable and actually still showing 70mm features on a regular basis. As a retro-nostalgia house, we usually feature a different DOUBLE FEATURE every night of the week - just like the good old days. The 70mm print of "2001:A SPACE ODYSSEY"; "HAMLET" and "PINK FLOYD THE WALL" still feature regularly on our program calendar - as have a number of other 70mm titles such as "LAWRENCE OF ARABIA"; "ITS A MAD, MAD. MAD, MAD WORLD"; "INDIANA JONES & THE TEMPLE OF DOOM"; "RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK"; "POLTERGEIST"; "BARAKA" - and of course James Cameron's 1997 epic "TITANIC" in all its 70mm DTS glory!

Peter is certainly to be congratulated on his work in compiling such an extensive list, and lm sure for the sake of historical record and clarity, he would be pleased to see any updates included as this type of information comes to light.

Keep up the good work!

Kind Regards,

Melbourne IMAX Theatre
ASTOR Theatre, St. Kilda.
(Melbourne, Australia)
The Master8 November 2012Orpheum (Cremorne)
"The Hateful Eight"14.01.2016Event George Street & Cremorne Orpheum
...in Ultra Panavision 70

The invited audience premiere was the night before on the 13

Fantastic Beasts17/11/2016Cremorne Orpheum
"Dunkirk"20/07/2017Event George Street
"Murder on the Orient Express"09/11/2017Randwick Ritz
"Joker"03/10/2019Randwick Ritz
"Tenet"27/08/2020Randwick Ritz
"Death on the Nile"10/02/2022
Oppenheimer23.07.2023• Ritz Cinemas Randwick
Orpheum Cremorne
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Updated 27-05-23