History, Legacy & Showmanship

Celebrate the Love: Remembering “Return of the Jedi” on its 35th Anniversary

May 24, 2018 - 11:08 am   |   by
  • Print
  • Email

[Back to Page 1]

A scene from Return of the Jedi

 

THE 70MM ENGAGEMENTS

Event and prestige movies (what we might refer today as a tent-pole or high-profile release) have on occasion been given a deluxe release in addition to a conventional release. This section of the article includes a reference / historical listing of the first-run 70mm Six-Track Dolby Stereo premium-format presentations of Return of the Jedi in the United States and Canada. These were arguably the best theaters in which to have experienced Jedi and the only way to have faithfully heard the movie’s discrete multichannel audio mix. This is the sort of listing (sans the duration figures) that might’ve trended on the Internet to assist moviegoers in finding a 70mm presentation near them had such a resource existed in 1983.

Of the 150+ movies released during 1983, Return of the Jedi was among only thirteen to have 70mm prints prepared for selected engagements. Only about fifteen percent of Jedi’s initial print run was in the deluxe 70mm format, which offered superior audio and image quality but were significantly more expensive and labor-intensive to manufacture compared with conventional 35mm prints.

With a reported 164 large-format prints for North America (plus more for international release), Jedi was at the time the industry’s largest 70mm release and remains to this day among the industry’s ten largest such releases.

The 70mm prints of Jedi were intended to be projected in a 2.20:1 aspect ratio and were blown up from 35mm anamorphic. The noise-reduction and signal-processing format of the prints was Dolby “A,” and the soundtrack was Dolby processor setting Format 42 (i.e. three discrete screen channels + one discrete surround channel + “baby boom” low-frequency enhancement).

For the release of Jedi, Lucasfilm introduced the THX Sound System (in two markets) and (unofficially) introduced their Theatre Alignment Program (TAP) to evaluate and approve the theaters selected to book a 70mm print.

Seventy-millimeter trailers for The Star Chamber, To Be or Not to Be and Brainstorm circulated during the Jedi release and which were recommended to be screened with the 70mm presentations.

The listing includes the 70mm engagements that commenced May 25th, 1983 (except where noted otherwise). The listing does not include the movie’s thousands of standard 35mm engagements (though if any readers are interested many of these bookings were cited in our previous Jedi retrospective).

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

Note that some of the presentations included in this listing were presented in 35mm during the latter weeks of the engagement because the booking was moved to a smaller, 35mm-only auditorium within a multiplex or due to print damage and the distributor’s unwillingness to supply a 70mm replacement print. As well, the reverse was 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, the 35mm portion of the engagement has been included in the duration figure.

Some liberties have been taken in regard to generically named theaters (i.e. “Cinema,” “Cinema Twin,” “Cinema 6,” etc.). Typically such venues were located in shopping centers and as such they have been identified in this work whenever possible by the name of the shopping center even if, technically, such wasn’t the actual name of the venue.

Regarding multiplex venues, effort has been made to identify the total number of screens in a complex during the Jedi engagement even if in some situations a “complex” consisted of screens spread out among separate buildings. Additionally, simplified nomenclature for the sake of stylistic consistency has been utilized for venue screen counts (i.e. “twin,” “triplex,” “4-plex,” etc.) instead of retaining the (often inconsistent) individualistic usage of numbers or Roman numerals that may have been present in advertising or used on marquees. In cases where it is known Jedi was screened simultaneously in 70mm in more than one auditorium in a complex, both engagements have been cited but the numbers provided represent the prints and do not necessarily reflect the auditorium number in which the film was playing.

In a couple of cases, a city name has changed since 1983 (due to annexation or incorporation) and effort has been made to list these cases according to the city or recognized name at the time of the Jedi engagement.

Prior to release, in lieu of a formal premiere for Return of the Jedi, Lucasfilm and Fox chose to hold regional charity previews between May 22nd and 24th. The cities in which these screenings were held included Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Flint, Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, San Francisco, Toronto, and Tucson. As well, the movie was screened as a part of the Seattle International Film Festival.

So, which theaters in North America screened the 70mm version of Return of the Jedi?

70 mm

ALABAMA

  • Birmingham — Cobb’s Village East Twin (19)

ALASKA

  • Anchorage — Wometco-Lathrop’s Polar Triplex (24) [opened June 3rd]

A 70 mm film frame for Return of the Jedi

ALBERTA

  • Calgary — Famous Players’ Palace (18)
  • Edmonton — Famous Players’ Londonderry Twin (19)
  • Edmonton — Famous Players’ Westmount Twin (21)

ARIZONA

  • Phoenix — UA’s Chris-Town Mall 6-plex (29)
  • Scottsdale — Nace’s Kachina (17)
  • Tucson — Plitt’s Foothills 4-plex (25)
  • Tucson — TM’s El Con 6-plex (41)

BRITISH COLUMBIA

  • Vancouver — Odeon’s Vogue (21)
  • Victoria — Odeon’s Haida (18)

CALIFORNIA

  • Campbell — UA’s Pruneyard Triplex (38)
  • Cerritos — UA’s Cerritos Mall Twin (24)
  • Corte Madera — Marin’s Cinema (18)
  • Costa Mesa — Edwards’ Town Center 4-plex (25)
  • El Cajon — UA’s Parkway Plaza Triplex (23)
  • Hayward — UA’s Hayward 5-plex (40)
  • La Mirada — Pacific’s La Mirada Mall 6-plex (29)
  • Long Beach — UA’s Marketplace 6-plex (21)
  • Los Angeles (Del Rey) — UA’s Marina Marketplace 6-plex (23)
  • Los Angeles (Hollywood) — UA’s Egyptian Triplex (21)
  • Los Angeles (North Hollywood) — UA’s Valley Plaza 6-plex (22)
  • Los Angeles (Westwood Village) — GCC’s Avco Center Triplex (20) [THX]
  • Los Angeles (Woodland Hills) — UA’s Warner Center 6-plex (22)
  • Montclair — UA’s Towne Center Plaza 6-plex (28)
  • Monterey — UA’s Cinema 70 (18)
  • National City — Pacific’s Sweetwater 6-plex (#1: 41)
  • National City — Pacific’s Sweetwater 6-plex (#2: 6)
  • Newport Beach — Edwards’ Newport Twin (17)
  • Oakland — Foster’s Piedmont (18)
  • Orange — Syufy’s Cinedome 6-plex (#1: 22)
  • Orange — Syufy’s Cinedome 6-plex (#2: 11)
  • Palm Springs — Metropolitan’s Camelot Triplex (17)
  • Pleasant Hill — Syufy’s Century 5-plex (28)
  • Redwood City — UA’s Redwood 6-plex (41)
  • Riverside — UA’s Tyler Mall 4-plex (41)
  • Sacramento — UA’s Arden Fair 6-plex (51)
  • San Diego — Pacific’s La Jolla Village 4-plex (21)
  • San Diego — UA’s Glasshouse 6-plex (22)
  • San Francisco — UA’s Coronet (28)
  • Santa Barbara — Metropolitan’s Arlington (16)
  • Santa Clara — UA’s Cinema 150 (29)
  • Thousand Oaks — UA’s Oaks 5-plex (21)
  • Westminster — UA’s Westminster Mall Twin (29)

COLORADO

  • Colorado Springs — Commonwealth’s Cooper Triplex (19)
  • Denver — Commonwealth’s Continental (7) [early termination due to theater fire]
  • Denver — Commonwealth’s Cooper Twin (20+)

CONNECTICUT

  • Orange — Redstone’s Showcase 7-plex (18)
  • Stamford — Trans-Lux’s Ridgeway Twin (12)

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

  • Washington — Circle’s MacArthur Triplex (15)
  • Washington — GCC’s Jenifer Twin (18)

FLORIDA

  • Fort Lauderdale — GCC’s Galleria 4-plex (16)
  • Kendall — Wometco’s Dadeland Triplex (18)
  • Miami Beach — Wometco’s Byron Carlyle Triplex (10)
  • North Miami Beach — Wometco’s 163rd Street Triplex (21)
  • Orlando — GCC’s Fashion Square 6-plex (24)
  • Winter Park — Wometco’s Winter Park Triplex (18)

GEORGIA

  • Atlanta — Plitt’s Phipps Plaza Triplex (23)

HAWAII

  • Honolulu — Consolidated’s Cinerama (24) [opened June 24th]

Screenings for Star Wars in 1983

Screenings for Star Wars in 1983

ILLINOIS

  • Belleville — BAC’s Cinema (18)
  • Calumet City — Plitt’s River Oaks 6-plex (16)
  • Chicago — GCC’s Ford City Triplex (19)
  • Chicago — Plitt’s Esquire (16)
  • Chicago — Plitt’s State Lake (8)
  • Forest Park — Essaness’ Forest Park Mall Triplex (22)
  • Lombard — GCC’s Yorktown Triplex (19)
  • Moline — Redstone’s Parkway (21)
  • Niles — Essaness’ Golf Mill Triplex (15)
  • Northbrook — Center’s Edens Twin (16)
  • Schaumburg — Plitt’s Woodfield 4-plex (18)
  • Tinley Park — Essaness’ Bremen 4-plex (19)

INDIANA

  • Evansville — Stieler’s North Park 7-plex (19)
  • Fort Wayne — MSM’s Holiday Twin (21)
  • Indianapolis — Y&W’s Eastwood (18)

A newspaper ad for Return of the Jedi

IOWA

  • Des Moines — Dubinsky’s River Hills (26)
  • Dubuque — Dubuque’s Cinema Center 5-plex (17)

KANSAS

  • Overland Park — Dickinson’s Glenwood Twin (21)
  • Wichita — Commonwealth’s Twin Lakes Twin (21)
  • Wichita — Dickinson’s Mall (18)

KENTUCKY

  • Florence — Mid States’ Florence 6-plex (41)
  • Louisville — Redstone’s Showcase 9-plex (29)

LOUISIANA

  • Metairie — GCC’s Lakeside 5-plex (18)

MANITOBA

  • Winnipeg — Odeon’s Grant Park (19)

MASSACHUSETTS

  • Boston — Sack’s Charles Triplex (17)
  • Chestnut Hill — GCC’s Chestnut Hill 5-plex (18)
  • Seekonk — Redstone’s Showcase 7-plex (18)
  • West Springfield — Redstone’s Showcase 9-plex (18)

MICHIGAN

  • Dearborn — UA’s The Movies at Fairlane 10-plex (29)
  • Flint — Butterfield’s Flint (25)
  • Livonia — NGT’s Mai Kai (18)
  • Southfield — NGT’s Americana 4-plex (27)
  • Southgate — NGT’s Southgate Triplex (19)
  • Troy — UA’s The Movies at Oakland 5-plex (23)

MINNESOTA

  • Bloomington — GCC’s Southtown Twin (21)
  • Minneapolis — Plitt’s Skyway 4-plex (17)
  • Minnetonka — Plitt’s Ridge Square Triplex (19)
  • Roseville — GCC’s Har-Mar 11-plex (21)
  • West St. Paul — Engler’s Signal Hills 4-plex (18)

MISSOURI

  • Hazelwood — Mid-America’s Village Triplex (29)
  • Independence — Mid-America’s Blue Ridge East 5-plex (18)
  • Kansas City — Commonwealth’s Bannister Mall 5-plex (18)
  • Richmond Heights — Mid-America’s Esquire 4-plex (17)

NEBRASKA

  • Omaha — Commonwealth’s Indian Hills Twin (29)
  • Omaha — Douglas’ Q Cinema 6-plex (22)

NEVADA

  • Las Vegas — Syufy’s Cinedome 6-plex (15+)

NEW JERSEY

  • Edison — GCC’s Menlo Park Twin (18)
  • Lawrenceville — Sameric’s Eric Lawrenceville Twin (21)
  • Moorestown — Sameric’s Eric Plaza Moorestown Twin (29)
  • Paramus — RKO Century’s Route Four 7-plex (21)
  • Sayreville — Redstone’s Amboy 10-plex (13)

NEW MEXICO

  • Albuquerque — GCC’s Louisiana Blvd. Triplex (18)

Screenings for Star Wars in 1983

NEW YORK

  • Colonie — RKO Century’s Fox Colonie Twin (21)
  • East Meadow — UA’s Meadowbrook 4-plex (16)
  • Garden City — RKO Century’s Roosevelt Field Triplex (17)
  • Hicksville — RKO Century’s Mid-Island Plaza Twin (18)
  • New York (Brooklyn) — RKO Century’s Kingsway 4-plex (21)
  • New York (Manhattan) — Loews’ 34th Street Showplace Triplex (16)
  • New York (Manhattan) — Loews’ Astor Plaza (21)
  • New York (Manhattan) — Loews’ Orpheum Twin (16)
  • Pittsford — Loews’ Pittsford Triplex (23)
  • Valley Stream — Redstone’s Sunrise 11-plex (17)
  • Yonkers — GCC’s Central Plaza Twin (18)

NORTH CAROLINA

  • Charlotte — Plitt’s Park Terrace Triplex (19)
  • Winston-Salem — Plitt’s Thruway Twin (23)

NOVA SCOTIA

  • Halifax — Famous Players’ Scotia Square (18)

OHIO

  • Beavercreek — Mid States’ Beaver Valley 6-plex (18)
  • Dayton — Chakeres’ Dayton Mall 8-plex (18)
  • Springdale — Mid States’ Tri-County Cassinelli Square 5-plex (41)
  • Toledo — Redstone’s Showcase Triplex (28)

ONTARIO

  • Hamilton — Famous Players’ Tivoli (18)
  • London — Famous Players’ Park (18)
  • North York — Famous Players’ Towne & Countrye Twin (19)
  • Ottawa — Odeon’s Somerset (18)
  • Scarborough — Famous Players’ Cedarbrae 6-plex (19)
  • Toronto — Famous Players’ Cumberland 4-plex (10) [La Reserve]
  • Toronto — Famous Players’ Runnymede Twin (19)
  • Toronto — Famous Players’ University (21) [includes TIFF interruption Sept 9-17]

OREGON

  • Beaverton — LT’s Westgate Triplex (29)
  • Portland — Moyer’s Rose Moyer 6-plex (41)

PENNSYLVANIA

  • Allentown — Sameric’s Eric Allentown 5-plex (28)
  • Easton — Sameric’s Eric Easton 4-plex (13)
  • Harrisburg — Sameric’s Eric East Park Center Twin (18)
  • Montgomeryville — Sameric’s Eric Montgomeryville Triplex (#1: 28)
  • Montgomeryville — Sameric’s Eric Montgomeryville Triplex (#2: 2)
  • Philadelphia — Sameric’s SamEric Triplex (#1: 28)
  • Philadelphia — Sameric’s SamEric Triplex (#2: 2)
  • Philadelphia — Sameric’s SamEric Triplex (#3: 2)

A newspaper ad for Return of the Jedi

QUEBEC

  • Montreal — United’s Claremont (13) [opened May 27th]
  • Montreal — United’s Imperial (18)
  • Montreal — United’s Le Parisien 5-plex (25) [opened June 22nd, Version Francaise]
  • Ste-Foy — United’s Canadien (7)

RHODE ISLAND

  • Warwick — Redstone’s Showcase 8-plex (18)

TENNESSEE

  • Nashville — Martin’s Belle Meade (18)

TEXAS

  • Addison — UA’s Prestonwood Creek 5-plex (29) [THX]
  • Austin — GCC’s Highland Mall Twin (25)
  • Dallas — GCC’s Northpark West Twin (21) [THX]
  • Fort Worth — UA’s Hulen 6-plex (18)
  • Houston — GCC’s Meyerland Plaza Triplex (21)
  • San Antonio — Santikos’ Northwest 10-plex (29)

UTAH

  • Riverdale — Tullis-Hansen’s Cinedome 70 Twin (15+)
  • Salt Lake City — Plitt’s Centre (21) [includes temporary m/o to Regency, June 3-16]
  • South Salt Lake — Syufy’s Century 5-plex (#1: 43)
  • South Salt Lake — Syufy’s Century 5-plex (#2: 8)

VIRGINIA

  • Springfield — GCC’s Springfield Mall 6-plex (18)

WASHINGTON

  • Seattle — UA’s Cinema 150 (29)

WISCONSIN

  • Milwaukee — UA’s Southgate (19)
  • Wauwatosa — UA’s Mayfair (17)
  • West Allis — Marcus’ Southtown Triplex (19)

ADDITIONAL / SUBSEQUENT 70MM ENGAGEMENTS

  • 1983-07-22 … Thornton, CO — Commonwealth’s North Star Drive-In (4+) [m/o from Continental]
  • 1983-07-29 … Toronto, ON — Famous Players’ Palace Triplex (9)
  • 1983-09-30 … Montreal, QC — United’s York (4) [m/o from Imperial]
  • 1983-10-21 … San Rafael, CA — Marin’s Regency 6-plex (7)
  • 1983-10-21 … Toronto, ON — Famous Players’ Uptown 5-plex (8) [m/o from University]
  • 1983-12-16 … Montreal, QC — United’s Imperial (3) [Version Francaise; m/o from Le Parisien]
  • 1983-12-21 … Carmel, IN — Heaston’s Woodland Twin (4) [second run/discounted admission]
  • 1983-12-23 … Cleveland, OH — Variety (3) [second run/discounted admission]
  • 1983-12-23 … New York, NY — RKO Century’s Warner Twin (3)
  • 1983-12-26 … Atlanta, GA — Fox (5 days) [Holiday Film Festival]
  • 1984-03-28 … Toronto, ON — Cinesphere (5 days) [70mm Film Festival]

Though its 70mm prints have not been cited in this work, it should be pointed out that Return of the Jedi was re-released on March 29th, 1985, and in Special Edition form in 35mm with digital sound on March 14th, 1997. And over the years there have been numerous additional 70mm screenings, often for charity (including Star Wars triple features, ILM tributes, THX Sound System demonstrations, 70mm festivals, and 20th Century Fox retrospectives).

A pair of one sheets for Return of the Jedi

[On to Page 3]

Contact Michael Coate

Please type your full name.
Invalid email address.
Please send us a message.
Invalid Input
Loading...

Bits Latest Tweets

Bits #BD Review – Dennis Seuling digs into the past for Television's Lost Classics: Volume Two on #Bluray from @vciclassicfilms. #TV #blackandwhite @BillHuntBits thedigitalbits.com/item/televisio…
Bits #BD Review – @timsalmons calls the Brute Squad and inconceivably gets reacquainted with The Princess Bride on #Bluray from @Criterion. #comedy #fairytale #lovestory @BillHuntBits thedigitalbits.com/item/princess-…
Bits #BD Review – David Steigman visits the Australian Outback in Goldstone on #Bluray from Lightyear Entertainment. #action #drama @BillHuntBits thedigitalbits.com/item/goldstone…