“Dragonslayer”: The 70mm and VistaSonic
“In the Dark Ages, Magic was a weapon.
Love was a mystery. Adventure was everywhere… And Dragons were real.”
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The 70mm Newsletter
Compiled by: Michael Coate
following is a reference / historical listing of the 70-millimeter
large-format engagements of “Dragonslayer” in North America. These were the
cinemas worth seeking out to experience this motion picture.
“Dragonslayer” was among eight confirmed first-run films released in 1981
with 70mm prints for selected engagements. The Paramount/Walt Disney
co-production — directed by Matthew Robbins and starring Peter MacNicol,
Caitlin Clarke and Ralph Richardson — opened June 26th.
Pre-release screenings included a sneak preview screening June 24th in
The 70mm prints of “Dragonslayer” featured full-frame imagery blown up from
anamorphic 35mm and Six-Track Dolby Stereo (“A” encoded Baby Boom format
with a Split Surround playback option).
Paramount circulated 70mm trailers for “First Monday in October,”
“Gallipoli,” “Mommie Dearest,” “Paternity” and “Victory” during the release
of “Dragonslayer.” As well, other studios circulated 70mm trailers during
this period. Ultimately, the 70mm trailers, if any, seen during the 70mm
presentations of “Dragonslayer” varied by venue and screening.
The duration of the engagements (measured in weeks) has been included in
parenthesis following the applicable cinema name.
Los Angeles — GCC’s Avco Center Triplex (4)
Los Angeles — Mann’s Hollywood (3)
New York — Reade’s Bay (2)
Historical footnote: In addition to 70mm Six-Track magnetic Dolby Stereo,
35mm optical Dolby Stereo and 35mm optical mono, “Dragonslayer” was released
in Vistasonic Sound, the short-lived format that offered discrete
multi-channel audio on an optical 35mm print. The Vistasonic presentations
in North America were held in Boston (Cheri Triplex), New York (Baronet),
Philadelphia (Mark I), San Diego (Cinerama), and San Francisco (Regency II).
Disney & Paramount’s “Popeye” (1980) had been a planned Vistasonic release.
SUBSEQUENT 70MM ENGAGEMENTS & SCREENINGS
1981-11-13 … Los Angeles, CA — Mann’s Hollywood (2) [w/ “Wolfen”]
1982-05-14 … Los Angeles, CA — Mann’s Hollywood (1)
1982-09-03 … Renton, WA — MCR’s Roxy (3) [w/ “Star Trek II”]
1982-09-24 … Portland, OR — LT’s Fox (5) [w/ “Poltergeist”]
1982-10-13 … San Antonio, TX — Santikos’ Galaxy 6 (4 days) [w/ “Star Trek
1982-11-05 … Seattle, WA — SRO’s Cinerama [Fri-Sat midnight]
1982-12-31 … Wichita, KS — Dickinson’s Mall [Fri-Sat midnight]
1990-07-15 … Los Angeles, CA — Cineplex Odeon’s Fairfax Triplex [classics
1992-10-18 … Los Angeles, CA — Cineplex Odeon’s Odeon [Sunday Night Late
2005-08-08 … San Francisco, CA — Castro [70mm festival]
The information included in this article was principally referenced from
film industry trade publications, regional newspaper promotion, print
enclosures, and Dolby records. Special thanks to Richard Greenhalgh, Bill
Kallay, Bill Kretzel and Walter Murch.
International 70mm engagements of this title have not been accounted for in
If you believe this article contains any errors or omissions, please
consider emailing the
author or editor.
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