“Lethal Weapon”: The North American 70mm Engagements
“Two cops. Glover carries a weapon. Gibson is one!”
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following is a reference / historical listing of the 70-millimeter
presentations of “Lethal Weapon” in North America. These were the best
cinemas in which to experience this motion picture.
“Lethal Weapon” was among seventeen confirmed first-run films released in
1987 with 70mm prints for selected engagements. The Silver Pictures
production and Warner Bros. release — directed by Richard Donner and
starring Mel Gibson, Danny Glover and Gary Busey — opened March 6th.
Pre-release screenings included the world premiere on February 23rd at
Mann’s Chinese in Los Angeles and sneak preview screenings (some in 70mm) in
selected markets on February 28th.
For the release of “Lethal Weapon,” 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 “Lethal Weapon” 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 coming-attraction trailers for “Burglar,” “Full
Metal Jacket,” “Innerspace,” “The Lost Boys,” “Police Academy 4: Citizens on
Patrol” and “The Witches of Eastwick” during the release of “Lethal Weapon.”
As well, other studios circulated 70mm trailers during this period.
Ultimately, the 70mm trailers, if any, seen during the 70mm presentations of
“Lethal Weapon” varied by venue and screening.
The duration of the engagements (measured in weeks) has been included in
parenthesis following the cinema name.
Los Angeles — Mann’s Chinese Triplex (11) [THX]
Los Angeles — Mann’s Village (11) [THX]
San Francisco — UA’s Coronet (9)
San Jose — Syufy’s Town & Country (13)
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Washington — K-B’s Fine Arts (8)
Chicago — Cineplex Odeon/Plitt’s Esquire (13)
Boston — USA’s Cinema 57 Twin (7)
New York — Loews’ 84th Street 6-plex (11)
New York — Moss’ Criterion Center 6-plex (18)
Dallas — GCC’s Northpark West Twin (3) [THX]
Greenfield — Capitol’s Spring Mall 4-plex (14)
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.
SUBSEQUENT 70MM ENGAGEMENTS & SCREENINGS
1987-05-08 … San Francisco, CA — UA’s Galaxy 4-plex (5) [THX]
1987-05-20 … Los Angeles, CA — Mann’s Bruin (3) [THX]
1987-05-20 … Los Angeles, CA — Mann’s Fox (1)
1987-06-12 … Los Angeles, CA — Mann’s Plaza (2)
1987-07-10 … Downers Grove, IL — Classic Cinemas’ Tivoli (1)
2004-12-07 … Los Angeles, CA — AMPAS’ Linwood Dunn*
2007-05-04 … Beverly Hills, CA — AMPAS’ Samuel Goldwyn**
*Private AMPAS staff double-feature screening with “Die Hard”
**Screened during The Sound behind the Image series + cast/crew Q&A
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 Don Beelik, Fritz Herzog,
Bill Kallay, Bill Kretzel, and Mark Lensenmayer.
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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“Lethal Weapon 3”: The North
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