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70mm & Cinerama in Israel

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Alex Asp, LondonDate: 13.06.2011
The Cinerama theater, a defunct Cinerama movie theater located in Yad Eliyahu, Tel Aviv. Image by Deror Avi

Tel-Aviv have a Cinerama theater which was built in the sixties, originally as a circus-like building, but that was never finished due to a lack of funds. In 1966 it was converted to a proper Cinerama theater which according to Wikipedia showed some 3-strip Cinerama movies and later some 70mm films as well. This of course didn't last long and around 1970 the venue closed down. Apparently the Cinerama projectors were removed end shipped to Europe.

70mm projectors were sold to local theaters. The building stood abandoned until 1986 when it was repurposed as a discotheque which operated for about two years, and then it was used as a concert hall, convention center, a big TV studio which at some stage hosted national finals for Eurovision Song Contest. Since the 1990's some outer space have been rented out, and today there is a bank, a pub, and a restaurant operate on the premises. The auditorium is still there, but has not been used for years. The Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra had plans to use the building for the period of renovations that are planned in their own auditorium, but right now those plans are essentially scrapped.

There had been some plans to demolish the building and to build an office skyscraper in its place, and it seems that this is what is going to happen.

There have been not a single screening in Israel of either 3-strip Cinerama or 70mm films in Israel since 1971. One of the last surviving DP70's is exhibited in a lobby of Cinema City - a 21 screen multiplex at the outskirts of Tel-Aviv.
More in 70mm reading:

DP70 in Israel

Cinerama in Tel Aviv

in70mm.com's Cinerama page

Internet link:

IMAX Israel

70mm Theatres in Tel-Aviv
There were at least three more cinemas that had 70mm projectors installed (both demolished now.):

Tel-Aviv Cinema (950 seats)
Tsaphon Cinema (800 seats)

Khen cinema also used to have 70mm machines. It is now a 5 screen multiplex with 35mm and digital equipment from Kinoton.

also see:
DP70 in Israel
IMAX 3D in Eilat. Image by Henrik Sendelbach

The last IMAX movie that was shown in a special IMAX theater in Kiriat-Yam was "The Dark Knight" and the show didn't even cover the cost of the print. Which is quite understandable:

Kiriat-Yam is a Haifa suburb in Northern part of the country, which can't sustain a continuous operation of IMAX theater due to the lack of interest and small population. Also, the IMAX license holders in Israel never promoted IMAX properly, so for the most movie-going public IMAX is a meaningless word. Why they have never repurposed a Cinerama building in Tel-Aviv for IMAX completely escapes me. The other IMAX theater is in Eilat in the south of the country, but it has never shown any feature films, only IMAX specials.
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Updated 04-05-22