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“Howard the Duck”: The 70mm Engagements
“Zapped across the universe, light years from home, he’s about to discover who he really is. A duck in big trouble.”

The 70mm Newsletter
Compiled by: Michael Coate Date: 03.08.2016
Advert for "Howard the Duck" - playing exclusively in 7OMM. Click the advert to see an enlargement.

“Zapped across the universe, light years from home, he’s about to discover who he really is. A duck in big trouble.”

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

“Howard the Duck” was among sixteen confirmed first-run films released in 1986 with 70mm prints for selected engagements. Approximately thirty 70mm prints were reportedly struck for distribution in North America. The Gloria Katz/Lucasfilm Ltd. production and Universal release — directed by Willard Huyck (“Best Defense”) and starring Lea Thompson, Jeffrey Jones and Tim Robbins — opened August 1st.

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

Pre-release screenings of “Howard the Duck” included a sneak preview July 12th at the Northpoint in San Francisco, and invitational previews July 30th at the Samuel Goldwyn in Beverly Hills and July 31st at the Chinese in Los Angeles.

The 70mm prints of “Howard the Duck” featured Six-Track Dolby Stereo (“A” encoded Baby Boom format) and pillarboxed imagery (approximately 1.85:1) blown up from spherical 35mm.

Universal circulated 70mm Six-Track Dolby coming-attraction trailers for “An American Tail”, “Brighton Beach Memoirs”, “Clockwise” and “’night Mother” during the release of “Howard the Duck.” Other studios circulated 70mm trailers during this period, as well. Ultimately, any 70mm trailers screened during 70mm presentations of “Howard the Duck” varied by venue and screening.

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

Vancouver — Cineplex Odeon’s Oakridge Centre Triplex (6) [THX]

Corte Madera — Marin’s Cinema (3)
Costa Mesa — Edwards’ Town Center 4 (2)
Los Angeles — Mann’s Village (2) [THX]
Los Angeles — Pacific’s Cinerama Dome (3)
San Diego — Mann’s Cinema 21 (2)
San Francisco — Blumenfeld’s Regency I (5) [w/ “Back to the Future” during Week 5]
San Jose — Syufy’s Century 21 (3)

Denver — Mann’s Century 21 (3) [THX]

Washington — Circle’s Uptown (2)

Boise — Plitt’s 8th Street Marketplace Twin (4) [70mm from Week 3]

Calumet City — Plitt’s River Oaks 8 (2)
Chicago — Plitt’s Esquire (2)
Schaumburg — Plitt’s Woodfield 9 (2)
Skokie — M&R’s Old Orchard 4 (3)

Overland Park — Dickinson’s Glenwood 4 (8)

Boston — USA’s Charles Triplex (2)

New York — Loews’ 34th Street Showplace Triplex (2)
New York — Loews’ 84th Street 6 (2)
New York — Loews’ Astor Plaza (3)
New York — Loews’ New York Twin (2)

Cleveland Heights — NTC’s Severance 8 (2) [THX]

Toronto — Cineplex Odeon’s Hyland Twin (4)

Philadelphia — Sameric’s Sam’s Place Twin (3)

Montreal — Cineplex Odeon’s Alexis Nihon Plaza Triplex (5)

Austin — Presidio’s Arbor 4 (3) [THX]
Dallas — GCC’s Northpark West Twin (3) [THX]
Houston — GCC’s Meyerland Plaza Triplex (4)

Salt Lake City — Plitt’s Trolley Corners Triplex (2)

Springfield — GCC’s Springfield Mall 6 (3) [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.


2017-09-22 … Somerville, MA — Somerville [70mm & Widescreen series]
2017-10-04 … Los Angeles, CA — Egyptian [Beyond Fest]

2018-01-27 … San Francisco, CA — Alamo Drafthouse’s New Mission (2 days)
2018-03-19 … Austin, TX — Alamo Drafthouse’s Ritz
2018-06-25 … Chicago, IL — Music Box [Cinepocalypse 2018]
2018-09-11 … Seattle, WA — Cinerama [70mm series]
2018-12-07 … Portland, OR — Hollywood [70mm series]

2022-04-23 … Cleveland, OH — Strosacker [CWRU Sci-Fi Marathon]
2022-07-23 … Santa Monica, CA — Aero [70mm festival; w/ “Starman”]

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 Raymond Caple, Ana Gomes, Bill Kretzel, Mark Lensenmayer, Monty Marin, W.R. Miller, Joe Odenthal, and Vince Young, and an extra special thank-you to all of the librarians who helped with this project.

International 70mm presentations 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

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Updated 21-01-24