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“Blue Thunder”: The 70mm Engagements
“He’s out there…”

The 70mm Newsletter
Compiled by: Michael Coate Date: 21.09.2017
The following is a reference / historical listing of the 70-millimeter presentations of “Blue Thunder” in North America. The film’s 70mm prints consisted of full-frame imagery blown up from anamorphic 35mm photography. The audio was Six-Track Dolby Stereo (“A” encoded “baby boom” format). These were arguably the best cinemas in which to experience this film.

“Blue Thunder” was among thirteen confirmed first-run films released in 1983 with 70mm prints for selected engagements. The RASTAR-Gordon Carroll production and Columbia release — directed by John Badham and starring Roy Scheider, Warren Oates, Candy Clark, Daniel Stern and Malcolm McDowell — opened May 13th.

Prior to the release of “Blue Thunder” there was a series of 70mm sneak preview screenings held in numerous locales. (Interestingly, many of the 70mm sneak preview screenings were held in markets that ultimately played the film only in 35mm upon its release.) As well, the film’s U.S. premiere was held April 13th at the Avco Center as the Opening Night feature of the Los Angeles International Film Exposition (FILMEX). Other pre-release screenings included an Invitational Preview held May 5th at the Samuel Goldwyn in Beverly Hills.

A trailer for “Krull” circulated with the “Blue Thunder” prints and which the distributor recommended be screened with the presentation.

The duration of the engagements (measured in weeks) has for some entries been included in parenthesis following the cinema name.

Note that some of the presentations included in this listing were presented in 35mm during the latter week(s) of engagement due to print damage and the distributor’s unwillingness to supply a 70mm replacement print or because the booking was moved to a smaller, 35mm-only auditorium within a multiplex. As well, the reverse may have been true in some cases whereas a booking began with a 35mm print because the lab was unable to complete the 70mm print order in time for an opening-day delivery or the exhibitor negotiated a mid-run format switch to 70mm. In these cases, the 35mm portion of the engagement has been included in the duration figure.

70mm Sneak Preview Screenings…

1983-01-28 … Minneapolis, MN — Plitt’s Skyway 4-plex
1983-01-28 … Philadelphia, PA — SamEric’s SamEric Triplex
1983-01-28 … San Francisco, CA — UA’s Coronet
1983-01-28 … Southfield, MI — Nicholas George’s Americana 4-plex
1983-01-28 … Springdale, OH — Redstone’s Showcase 7-plex
1983-04-29 … Calgary, AB — Odeon’s Northill
1983-04-29 … Holladay, UT — Mann’s Cottonwood 4-plex
1983-04-29 … Los Angeles, CA — General Cinema’s Avco Center Triplex
1983-04-29 … Los Angeles, CA — Mann’s Chinese Triplex
1983-04-29 … Montreal, QC — Odeon’s Place du Canada
1983-04-29 … New York, NY — Loews’ State Twin
1983-04-29 … Pasadena, CA — SRO’s Hastings
1983-04-29 … San Diego, CA — Mann’s Cinema 21
1983-04-29 … San Francisco, CA — Plitt’s Northpoint
1983-04-29 … Vancouver, BC — Odeon’s Vogue
1983-05-07 … Los Angeles, CA — General Cinema’s Avco Center Triplex
1983-05-07 … Los Angeles, CA — Mann’s Chinese Triplex
1983-05-07 … Montreal, QC — Odeon’s Place du Canada
1983-05-07 … New York, NY — Loews’ State Twin
1983-05-07 … Ottawa, ON — Odeon’s Somerset
1983-05-07 … Pasadena, CA — SRO’s Hastings
1983-05-07 … San Francisco, CA — Plitt’s Northpoint
1983-05-07 … Toronto, ON — Odeon’s York Twin
1983-05-07 … Tucson, AZ — Plitt’s El Dorado Twin
1983-05-07 … Vancouver, BC — Odeon’s Vogue

Opened in 70mm on Friday, May 13th, 1983, in the following cinemas…

Calgary — Odeon’s Northill (6)

Tucson — Plitt’s El Dorado Twin (9)

Vancouver — Odeon’s Park (11)

Costa Mesa — Edwards’ South Coast Plaza Triplex (5)
Daly City — Plitt’s Plaza Twin
Los Angeles — General Cinema’s Avco Center Triplex (6)
Los Angeles — Mann’s Chinese Triplex (5)
Newport Beach — Edwards’ Newport Twin (5)
Orange — Syufy’s Cinedome 6-plex (6)
Pasadena — SRO’s Hastings (6)
San Diego — Mann’s Cinema 21 (9)
San Francisco — Plitt’s Northpoint (6)
San Jose — Syufy’s Town & Country (9)

Washington — Circle’s Tenley Triplex (6)

Bay Harbor Islands — Loews’ Bay Harbor Twin (6)

Honolulu — Consolidated’s Waikiki Twin (6)

Winnipeg — Odeon’s Garrick 4-plex (7)

Catonsville — Einbinder & Brehm’s Westview 6-plex (6)

Boston — Sack’s Cinema 57 Twin (4)

New York — Loews’ 34th Street Showplace Triplex
New York — Loews’ Orpheum Twin
New York — Loews’ State Twin

Ottawa — Odeon’s St. Laurent Twin (7)
Toronto — Odeon’s York Twin (7)

Montreal — Odeon’s Place du Canada (5)

Subsequent 70mm Engagements & Screenings (move-overs, second-run, retro, etc.)…

1983-06-08 … New York, NY — Loews’ New York Twin
1983-06-17 … Los Angeles, CA — Mann’s Fox (2)
1983-06-17 … Montreal, QC — Odeon’s Cote-des-Neiges Twin (2)
1983-06-24 … Calgary, AB — Odeon’s Southland 4-plex (1)
1983-07-22 … Cleveland, OH — Colony (1)

1984-01-11 … Toronto, ON — Cinesphere (5 days) [70mm fest]

2011-06-19 … Los Angeles, CA — American Cinematheque’s Egyptian [w/”The Untouchables”]

2017-09-27 … Somerville, MA — Somerville [70mm & Widescreen fest]

The information in this article was principally referenced from film industry trade publications and regional newspaper promotion, with thanks to Bill Kretzel.

Additional 70mm prints were screened internationally but have not been accounted for in this article.

If you believe this article contains any errors or omissions, please consider emailing the author or editor.
More in 70mm reading:

70mm Engagements

70mm Blow Up List

Internet link:

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Updated 21-12-18