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• To record the history of the large format movies and the 70mm cinemas as remembered by the people who worked with the films. Both during making and during running the films in projection rooms and as the audience, looking at the curved screen., a unique internet based magazine, with articles about 70mm cinemas, 70mm people, 70mm films, 70mm sound, 70mm film credits, 70mm history and 70mm technology. Readers and fans of 70mm are always welcome to contribute.

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“Superman”: The 70mm Engagements
“You’ll believe a man can fly.”

The 70mm Newsletter
Compiled by: Michael Coate Date: 16.05.2017
The following is a reference / historical listing of the 70-millimeter presentations of “Superman” 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 with a slit-surround playback option*).

“Superman” was among eight first-run films released in 1978 with 70mm prints for selected engagements. The Alexander Salkind production and Warner Bros. release — directed by Richard Donner and starring Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman and Christopher Reeve — opened December 15th.

The film’s world premiere was held December 10th at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. As well, several regional premieres took place between the 11th and 14th.

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

Note that some of the presentations included in this listing may have been presented in 35mm during the latter weeks 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 is true whereas several bookings 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, the 35mm portion of the engagement has been included in the duration figure.

*It should be noted that other than the Northpoint in San Francisco it is undetermined which cinema(s) during the original first-run release played “Superman” in a split-surround presentation since (1) the split-surround portion of the presentation was considered a test and not promoted, and (2) the split-surround decoding equipment had not yet been made available; a prototype of the SA-5 surround adapter for use with the Dolby CP100 was manufactured for the cinema(s) in which the test presentations were held.

Costa Mesa — Mann’s South Coast Plaza Triplex (27 weeks) [70mm from Week #3]
Los Angeles (Hollywood) — Mann’s Chinese (22)
Los Angeles (Westwood Village) — Mann’s National (17)
Los Angeles (Woodland Hills) — UA’s Warner Center 6-plex (26) [70mm from Week #3]
San Diego — Mann’s Cinema 21 (7) [70mm from Week #2]
San Francisco — Plitt’s Northpoint (23) [70mm from Week #2]
San Jose — Mann’s Town & Country (25) [70mm from Week #7]

Denver — Mann’s Century 21 (?) [70mm from Week #2]

Belleville — BAC’s Cinema (?) [70mm from Week #2]
Calumet City — Plitt’s River Oaks 4-plex (21) [70mm from Week #11]
Chicago — Plitt’s Esquire (12) [70mm from Week #3]
Northbrook — Center’s Edens Twin (16) [70mm from Week #3]
Oak Brook — Plitt’s Oakbrook (21) [70mm from Week #3]
Schaumburg — Plitt’s Woodfield 4-plex (20) [70mm from Week #3]

Louisville — Redstone’s Showcase 8-plex (22) [70mm from Week #12]

Boston — Sack’s Cinema 57 Twin (13) [70mm from Week #4]

Livonia — Nicholas George’s Mai Kai (23) [70mm from Week #3]
Southfield — Nicholas George’s Americana 4-plex (23) [70mm from Week #3]

Bloomington — General Cinema’s Southtown (23) [70mm from Week #3]
Brooklyn Center — Plitt’s Brookdale (23) [70mm from Week #3]

New York — Cinema 5’s Murray Hill (16)
New York — Loews’ Astor Plaza (16)
New York — Loews’ Orpheum Twin (17)

Beaverton — Luxury Theatres’ Westgate Triplex (23) [70mm from Week #2]
Portland — Luxury Theatres’ Eastgate Triplex (23) [70mm from Week #2]

Dallas — General Cinema’s Northpark West Twin (21) [70mm from Week #6]


1979-01-26 … Washington, DC — Circle’s Embassy Circle (19)
1979-04-04 … New York, NY — Moss’ Criterion (7)
1979-05-25 … San Francisco, CA — Blumenfeld’s Royal
1979-07-13 … Seattle, WA — Seven Gables’ Crest 70 (3)
1979-07-25 … Philadelphia, PA — Parkwood Manor (2)
1979-09-26 … Philadelphia, PA — Parkwood Manor (1)

1980-06-27 … New York, NY — Loews’ State Twin (3)

1981-01-15 … Toronto, ON — Cinesphere (4 days) [70mm fest]
1981-03-19 … Toronto, ON — Cinesphere (11 days) [70mm fest]
1981-09-18 … Montreal, QC — United’s York (3)
1981-11-20 … Ottawa, ON — National Arts Centre Opera (2 days)

1982-01-27 … Toronto, ON — Cinesphere (5 days) [70mm fest]

1983-01-19 … Toronto, ON — Cinesphere (5 days) [70mm fest]

1992-07-17 … Los Angeles (Miracle Mile), CA — LACMA’s Bing [70mm fest]
1992-08-19 … Los Angeles (Miracle Mile), CA — Four Star (1) [70mm fest; w/“T2”]
1992-10-11 … Los Angeles (Century City), CA — AMC’s Century 14-plex [retro fest]
1992-10-15 … Los Angeles (Century City), CA — AMC’s Century 14-plex [retro fest]

1999-09-03 … Los Angeles (Westwood Village), CA — Mann’s Plaza (midnight; 3 days)

2008-04-18 … Seattle, WA — Cinerama (1)

The information in this article has been principally referenced from film industry trade publications, regional newspaper promotion and Dolby Labs’ records, with thanks to Sam D. Chavez, Bill Kretzel and Vince Young.

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

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Updated 21-12-18