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“The Thing”: The 70mm Engagements
“No special effects you have ever seen, nothing you can possibly imagine, will prepare you for this chilling and spectacular motion picture experience.”

The 70mm Newsletter
Compiled by: Michael Coate Date: 02.03.2016
The following is a reference / historical listing of the 70-millimeter presentations of John Carpenter’s “The Thing” 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.

“The Thing” was among eighteen confirmed first-run films released in 1982 with 70mm prints for selected engagements. Seven 70mm prints of the film were reportedly struck for distribution in North America. The Universal release — directed by John Carpenter and starring Kurt Russell — opened June 25th.

A trailer for “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” circulated with prints of “The Thing” 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 switch to 70mm. In these cases, the 35mm portion of the engagement has been included in the duration figure.

1982-06-20 … Los Angeles, CA — Pacific’s Hollywood Pacific Triplex (sneak preview)

1982-06-23 … Los Angeles, CA — Pacific’s Hollywood Pacific Triplex (invitational preview)

1982-06-25 … Los Angeles, CA — Pacific’s Hollywood Pacific Triplex (4)

1982-06-25 … Los Angeles, CA — SRO’s Crest (5)

1982-06-25 … New York, NY — UA’s Rivoli Twin (#1: 4) [HPS-4000]

1982-06-25 … New York, NY — UA’s Rivoli Twin (#2: 3)

1982-06-25 … San Francisco, CA — Blumenfeld’s Royal (5)

1982-07-09 … Bloomingdale, IL — Plitt’s Stratford Square 4-Plex (2)

1982-07-09 … Chicago, IL — Plitt’s State Lake (3)


1982-08-13 … Cleveland, OH — Colony (1)
1982-09-24 … Cleveland, OH — Variety (1)
1982-10-29 … Seattle, WA — SRO’s Cinerama (midnight; 2 days)
1982-11-05 … Lynnwood, WA — SRO’s Grand Alderwood 5-plex (1) [w/“Quest for Fire”]
1982-11-12 … Renton, WA — MCR’s Roxy (1) [w/”Outland”]

2017-06-17 … Los Angeles, CA — American Cinematheque’s Egyptian [70mm fest]
2017-06-21 … Los Angeles, CA — American Cinematheque’s Egyptian [70mm fest]
2017-08-11 … Santa Monica, CA — American Cinematheque’s Aero [70mm fest]
2017-08-31 … Seattle, WA — Cinerama [70mm fest]

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

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 1982 - by

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Updated 07-01-21