“Back to the Future”: The North American 70mm
“He was never in time for his classes… He wasn’t in time for his dinner… Then
one day…he wasn’t in his time at all.”
|Read more at|
The 70mm Newsletter
The following is a reference / historical listing of the 70-millimeter
engagements of “Back to the Future” in North America. These were arguably the
best cinemas in which to experience the film.
“Back to the Future” was among twenty-three confirmed first-run films released
in 1985 with 70mm prints for selected engagements. The Amblin Entertainment
production and Universal release — directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring
Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd — opened July 3rd.
The 70mm prints of “Back to the Future” consisted of pillarboxed imagery
(approximately 1.85:1) blown up from spherical 35mm photography. The audio was
Six-Track Dolby Stereo (“A” encoded “baby boom” format).
For the release of “Back to the Future”, Universal employed the services of
Lucasfilm’s Theatre Alignment Program (TAP) to evaluate and approve the cinemas
selected to book a 70mm print.
Trailers for “E.T.” (re-release), “Creator” and “Weird Science” circulated with
prints of “Back to the Future” and which the distributor recommended be screened
with the presentation.
The duration of the engagements (measured in weeks) has been included in
parenthesis following the cinema name.
Note that some of the presentations included in this listing might have been
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 switch to 70mm. In these cases, any 35mm portion of the engagement (or
movement out of an HPS-4000 or THX-certified auditorium) has been included in
the duration figure.
Prior to release there was a 70mm sneak preview screening on June 29th at the
Avco Center and an invitational preview on July 2nd at the Cinerama Dome.
Los Angeles — General Cinema’s Avco Center Triplex (25) [THX]
Los Angeles — Pacific’s Cinerama Dome (14)
San Francisco — Blumenfeld’s Regency I (22)
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Washington — Circle’s Avalon Twin (24) [HPS-4000]
New York — Loews’ State Twin (18)
Toronto — Cineplex Odeon’s Hyland Twin (20)
Dallas — General Cinema’s Northpark West Twin (24?) [THX]
SUBSEQUENT 70MM ENGAGEMENTS & SCREENINGS
1985-10-11 … Los Angeles, CA — Pacific’s Hollywood Pacific Triplex (1)
1985-11-08 … Atlanta, GA — Columbia (6)
1985-12-04 … San Francisco, CA — Blumenfeld’s Regency II (2)
1985-12-20 … Downers Grove, IL — Classic Cinemas’ Tivoli (4)
1985-12-20 … San Francisco, CA — Blumenfeld’s Regency III (4)
1986-01-08 … Toronto, ON — Cinesphere* (12 days)
1986-02-21 … Toronto, ON — Cineplex Odeon’s Canada Square 8-plex (2) [THX]
1986-03-07 … Los Angeles, CA — Cineplex Odeon’s Century Plaza Twin (2)
1986-03-07 … Tucson, AZ — Cineplex Odeon’s El Dorado Twin (2)
1986-04-18 … San Francisco, CA — Cineplex Odeon’s Northpoint (2)
1986-06-06 … Los Angeles, CA — Pacific’s Hollywood Pacific Triplex (1) [w/
1986-06-23 … Atlanta, GA — Fox**
1986-08-29 … San Francisco, CA — Blumenfeld’s Regency I (1) [w/ “Howard the
1987-03-18 … Toronto, ON — Cinesphere* (5 days)
1987-06-30 … Universal City, CA — Cineplex Odeon’s Universal City 18-plex***
1988-03-16 … Toronto, ON — Cinesphere* (5 days)
1988-11-05 … Los Angeles, CA — Pacific’s Cinerama Dome****
1990-05-24 … Los Angeles, CA — Pacific’s Cinerama Dome*****
1990-05-24 … San Jose, CA — Syufy’s Century 22 Triplex*****
*Screened during the annual Winter 70mm Film Festival
**Screened during the 9th Annual Fox Summer Film Festival
***Screened during the Magnificent Movie Poll grand-opening event
****Screened during Steven Spielberg Day as a part of the Cinerama Dome’s 25th
anniversary film festival, a 17-day, 35-title celebration of popular movies
shown at the famous cinema between 1963 and 1988.
*****Screened during the Back-to-Back-to-Back triple feature event.
The information in this article was principally referenced from film industry
trade publications and regional newspaper promotion, with thanks to Bill
International 70mm engagements of this title have not been accounted for in this
If you believe this article contains any errors or omissions, please
consider emailing the
author or editor.
|More in 70mm reading:|
70mm Blow Up List
|Go: back - top -
back issues -