“Zoot Suit”: The 70mm Engagements
“An American original.”
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following is a reference / historical listing of the 70-millimeter
presentations of “Zoot Suit” in North America. These were the cinemas worth
seeking out to experience this motion picture.
“Zoot Suit” was among seven confirmed first-run films released in 1981 with
70mm prints for selected engagements. The Universal release was directed by
Luis Valdez and starred Edward James Olmos.
Pre-release screenings included the world premiere held October 1st, 1981,
at the Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles.
The 70mm prints of “Zoot Suit” featured six-track stereophonic sound
(Sensurround Plus) and pillarboxed imagery (approximately 1.85:1) blown up
from spherical 35mm.
Universal circulated 70mm coming-attraction trailers for “Ghost Story,”
“Halloween II,” “Heartbeeps,” “On Golden Pond” and “The Pursuit of D.B.
Cooper” during the release of “Zoot Suit.” As well, other studios circulated
70mm trailers during this period. Ultimately, any 70mm trailers screened
during 70mm presentations of “Zoot Suit” varied by venue and screening.
Premiere/Opening date YYYY-MM-DD … City — Cinema (duration in weeks) [Notes]
1981-10-01 … Los Angeles, CA — Pacific’s Cinerama Dome (11)
1981-10-09 … Orange, CA — Syufy’s Cinedome 6 (10)
1981-10-09 … San Jose, CA — Syufy’s Century 22 Triplex* (6)
*The San Jose print, valued at $10,000, was destroyed in a fire set to the
cinema November 18th, 1981.
SUBSEQUENT 70MM ENGAGEMENTS & SCREENINGS
1981-12-16 … Los Angeles, CA — Pacific’s Picwood (2)
1981-12-30 … Los Angeles, CA — Pacific’s Picwood (1) [w/ “The Jazz Singer”]
2022-05-08 … Beverly Hills, CA — Fine Arts [70mm series] (DCP substituted
for damaged 70mm print)
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 Neil S. Bulk, Bill Counter
and Bill Kallay.
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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