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“Back to the Future Part II”: The North American 70mm Engagements
“Getting back was only the beginning.”

The 70mm Newsletter
Compiled by: Michael Coate Date: 26.02.2020
The following is a reference / historical listing of the 70-millimeter presentations of “Back to the Future Part II” in North America. These were the best cinemas in which to experience this motion picture.

“Back to the Future Part II” was among seventeen confirmed first-run films released in 1989 with 70mm prints for selected engagements. The Amblin production and Universal release — directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd — opened November 22nd.

Pre-release screenings included the movie’s world premiere held November 20th at the Universal City 18-plex.

For the release of “Back to the Future Part II,” Universal 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 “Back to the Future Part II” featured pillarboxed imagery (pproximately 1.85:1) blown up from spherical 35mm and Six-Track Dolby Stereo (“A”-encoded Baby Boom format).

Seventy-millimeter trailers for Universal’s “Always,” “Born on the Fourth of July,” “Cry-Baby,” “Tremors” and “The Wizard” circulated during the release of “Back to the Future Part II” and which the distributor recommended be screened with the presentation. (A trailer for “Back to the Future Part III” appeared as the final scene of “Part II.”) Additional 70mm trailers from other studios circulated during this period as well. Which trailers, if any, seen during the “Back to the Future” presentations varied by venue and screening.

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

Los Angeles — GCC’s Avco Center Triplex (#1: 12) [THX]
Los Angeles — GCC’s Avco Center Triplex (#2: 4)
Universal City — Cineplex Odeon’s Universal City 18-plex (12) [THX]

Washington — Cineplex Odeon’s Uptown (6)

New York — Cineplex Odeon’s Coronet (2)

Toronto — Cineplex Odeon’s Hyland Twin (10)

Dallas — GCC’s Northpark West Twin (6) [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.


1989-12-08 … New York, NY — Cineplex Odeon’s Baronet (4)

1990-01-05 … Washington, DC — Cineplex Odeon’s Jenifer Twin (1)
1990-01-19 … Laguna Niguel, CA — Mann’s Rancho Niguel 8-plex (5) [THX]
1990-05-24 … Dallas, TX — GCC’s Northpark West Twin* [THX]
1990-05-24 … Los Angeles, CA — GCC’s Avco Center Triplex* [THX]
1990-05-24 … Los Angeles, CA — Pacific’s Cinerama Dome*
1990-05-24 … Houston, TX — Cineplex Odeon’s Spectrum 9-plex* [THX]
1990-05-24 … New York, NY — Cineplex Odeon’s Coronet*
1990-05-24 … New York, NY — Cineplex Odeon’s National Twin*
1990-05-24 … Newport Beach, CA — Edwards’ Newport Triplex*
1990-05-24 … Orange, CA — Syufy’s Cinedome 8-plex*
1990-05-24 … San Francisco, CA — AMC’s Kabuki 8-plex* [THX]
1990-05-24 … San Jose, CA — Syufy’s Century 22 Triplex*
1990-05-24 … Toronto, ON — Cineplex Odeon’s Hyland Twin*
1990-05-24 … Universal City, CA — Cineplex Odeon’s Universal City 18-plex* [THX]

1991-03-20 … Toronto, ON — Cinesphere (5 days) [70mm fest]

2017-08-18 … Santa Monica, CA — American Cinematheque’s Aero [70mm series w/ “Hook”]

2018-03-26 … Austin, TX — Alamo Drafthouse’s Ritz [70mm fest]
2018-09-?? … Seattle, WA — Cinerama [70mm fest]

2019-08-29 … Chicago, IL — Music Box [Music Box 90th Anniversary]

*Screened during the “See the Future Back to Back to Back” triple feature. (Print format may have been 35mm for some triple feature screenings.)

The information included in this article was principally referenced from film industry trade publications and regional newspaper promotion, with thanks to David Ayers, Don Beelik 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:

“Back to the Future Part III”: The North American 70mm Engagements

70mm Engagements

70mm Blow Up List

Dolby Stereo

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Updated 31-12-21