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“Gremlins”: The 70mm Engagements
“Cute. Clever. Mischievous. Intelligent. Dangerous.”

The 70mm Newsletter
Compiled by: Michael Coate + comments by Joe Dante, the director Date: 09.06.2016
It's 32 years ago to the day that GREMLINS surprised the nation (and especially me!) by coming out of nowhere to be the novelty hit of 1984! Summer B.O. was second only to GHOSTBUSTERS (but we beat them in NYC cuz they snarled too much traffic when shooting there!). Joe Dante on Facebook, 08.06.2016

The following is a reference / historical listing of the 70-millimeter engagements of “Gremlins” in the United States and Canada. These were the cinemas worth seeking out to experience this motion picture.

“Gremlins” was among sixteen confirmed first-run films released in 1984 with 70mm prints for selected engagements. Twelve 70mm prints were reportedly struck for distribution in North America. The Amblin Entertainment production and Warner Bros. release — directed by Joe Dante and starring Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, Polly Holliday and Francis Lee McCain — opened June 8th.

For the release of “Gremlins,” Warner Bros. employed the services of Lucasfilm’s Theatre Alignment Program (TAP) to evaluate and approve the cinemas selected to book a 70mm print.

The 70mm prints of “Gremlins” featured Six-Track Dolby Stereo (“A” encoded “baby boom” format) and pillarboxed imagery (approximately 1.85:1) blown up from spherical 35mm.

Warner Bros. circulated 70mm Six-Track Dolby coming-attraction trailers for “Cannonball Run II,” “City Heat,” “Grandview, USA,” “Irreconcilable Differences,” “The NeverEnding Story,” “Oh, God! You Devil,” “Protocol,” “Purple Rain” and “Tightrope” during the release of “Gremlins.” As well, other studios circulated 70mm trailers during this period. Ultimately, any 70mm trailers screened during 70mm presentations of “Gremlins” varied by venue and screening.

The duration of the engagements (measured in weeks) is included in parenthesis following the applicable cinema name.

Los Angeles — Mann’s Bruin (9)
Los Angeles — Mann’s Chinese Triplex (10)
Oakland — Renaissance Rialto’s Grand Lake Twin (17) [70mm from Week 7]
San Francisco — UA’s Coronet (15)
San Jose — Syufy’s Century 21 (17)

Chicago — Plitt’s Carnegie (7)

Boston — Sack’s Charles Triplex (15)

New York — RKO Century’s Warner Twin (16)
New York — Walter Reade’s Bay (10)

Ottawa — Famous Players’ Nelson (16)
Toronto — Famous Players’ Eglinton (12)

Dallas — GCC’s Northpark West Twin (15) [THX]

Note that some of the presentations included in this listing may have been presented in 35mm during the latter week(s) of engagement due to contractual terms or print damage and the distributor’s unwillingness to supply a 70mm replacement print or because the booking was moved to a non-70mm-equipped 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 a branded auditorium) has been included in the duration figure.


1984-10-05 … Atlanta, GA — Columbia (2)
1984-10-12 … Nashville, TN — Martin’s Belle Meade (2)
1984-11-09 … New Orleans, LA — Golden Crest’s Kenilworth (2)

1985-08-30 … Montreal, QC — United’s Capitol 6-plex (1)

1992-08-05 … Los Angeles, CA — Four Star (1) [70mm festival; w/ “Little Shop of Horrors”]

1996-04-28 … Toronto, ON — Famous Players’ Eglinton [Eglinton 60th anniversary fest]

1999-08-27 … Los Angeles, CA — Mann’s Plaza [Fri-Sat-Sun midnight]

2008-12-21 … Los Angeles, CA — Laemmle’s Royal [Laemmle’s 70th Anniversary series]

2009-03-15 … Seattle, WA — Cinerama [70mm series]
2009-03-17 … Seattle, WA — Cinerama [70mm series]
2009-03-19 … Seattle, WA — Cinerama [70mm series]
2009-03-22 … Seattle, WA — Cinerama [70mm series]
2009-03-24 … Seattle, WA — Cinerama [70mm series]
2009-03-26 … Seattle, WA — Cinerama [70mm series]

The information included in this article was principally referenced from film industry trade publications, regional newspaper promotion, print enclosures, TAP records, and Dolby records. Special thanks to Bill Kallay and Bill Kretzel.

International 70mm engagements of this title 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

Internet link:


Joe Dante on "Gremlins" 70mm prints

As you know, it was common in the 80s to blow up 35mm negatives for 70mm projection, largely due to the improvement in sound. 70mm prints were big enough to stripe with 6-track stereo mag and the resulting sound was state of the art. Sound mixes were done in several formats to accommodate various release versions. Picture-wise 35mm picks up a lot of grain with such a big blow up and although the release prints looked fine in 70, cinematographers preferred 35mm show prints off the camera negative. Otherwise there was nothing particularly unusual about Gremlins in 70mm.

Thanks for pointing my way to your site, however. It looks very interesting.

Joe Dante, 4. August 2011
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Updated 07-01-23