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“The Rocketeer”: The North American 70mm Engagements

The 70mm Newsletter
Compiled by: Michael CoateDate: 18.02.2021
The following is a reference / historical listing of the 70-millimeter engagements of “The Rocketeer” in the United States and Canada. These were the cinemas worth seeking out to experience this motion picture.

“The Rocketeer” was among ten confirmed first-run films released in 1991 with 70mm prints for selected engagements. The Walt Disney (Buena Vista) release — directed by Joe Johnston (“Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”) and starring Bill Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Paul Sorvino and Timothy Dalton — opened June 21st.

For the release of “The Rocketeer,” Buena Vista 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 included Sneak Preview & Rocketeer Party held June 17th (Embassy 1, New York), June 19th (El Capitan, Los Angeles and Cinesphere, Toronto), and benefit screening June 22nd in lieu of an official premiere (Walt Disney Studios).

The 70mm prints of “The Rocketeer” 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).

Buena Vista circulated 70mm Six-Track Dolby coming-attraction trailers for “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Doctor,” “Ernest Scared Stupid,” “Paradise” and “V.I. Warshawski” during the release of “The Rocketeer.” Other studios circulated 70mm trailers during this period, as well. Ultimately, any 70mm trailers screened during 70mm presentations of “The Rocketeer” varied by venue and screening.

Historical footnote: The engagement at El Capitan in Los Angeles was intended to include the animated short “Mickey’s Gala Premier” (1933) which had been blown up to 70mm and was to precede the feature presentation. Ultimately, the 70mm short was screened only privately preceding the premiere and a decision was made by Disney executives not to include it with the public presentation.

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

Vancouver — Famous Players’ Stanley (6) [THX]

Los Angeles — AMC’s Century 14 (7) [THX]
Los Angeles — Pacific’s Crest (5) [THX]
Los Angeles — Pacific’s El Capitan (6) [THX]
Mountain View — Syufy’s Century 10 (6)
Newport Beach — Edwards’ Newport Triplex (3)
Oakland — Renaissance Rialto’s Grand Lake 4 (6)
San Diego — Mann’s Cinema 21 (5)
San Francisco — Blumenfeld’s Alhambra (5)
San Jose — Syufy’s Century 22 Triplex (6)
Santa Ana — AMC’s MainPlace 6 (6) [THX]

Lake Buena Vista — AMC’s Pleasure Island 10 (5) [THX]

Overland Park — Dickinson’s Glenwood 4 (9)

Boston — Loews’ Charles Triplex (5)

New York — Cineplex Odeon’s 23rd Street West Triplex (6)
New York — City Cinemas’ Murray Hill 4 (4)
New York — City Cinemas’ Sutton Twin (5)
New York — City Cinemas’ Village East 7 (5) [THX]
New York — Guild’s Embassy 1 (4)
New York — Loews’ 84th Street 6 (3)

Ottawa — Famous Players’ Rideau Centre Triplex (5)
Toronto — Famous Players’ Eglinton (5) [THX]

Montreal — Famous Players’ Imperial (5) [THX]

Dallas — AMC’s Glen Lakes 8 (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.


1991-07-10 … Newport Beach, CA — Edwards’ Fashion Island 7 (2) [THX]
1991-07-25 … San Francisco, CA — Blumenfeld’s Regency II (1)

1992-03-18 … Toronto, ON — Cinesphere (3 days) [70mm festival]

1997-11-14 … Long Beach, CA — CSULB‘s Carpenter Center [Wide Screen Festival]

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 Theo Gluck, 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:

Chronological premiere list of major 70mm films

Month by month premiere list of wide gauge and 3-strip films

70mm Engagements

70mm Blow Up List

Dolby Stereo

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Updated 10-04-23