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“Back to the Future Part III”: The North American 70mm Engagements
“They’ve saved the best trip for last… But this time they may have gone too far.”

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 III” in North America. These were the best cinemas in which to experience this motion picture.

“Back to the Future Part III” was among twenty confirmed first-run films released in 1990 with 70mm prints for selected engagements. The Amblin production and Universal release — directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Mary Steenburgen — opened May 25th.

Pre-release screenings included the movie’s world premiere held May 21st at the Universal City 18-plex.

All of the movie’s first-run 70mm engagements included a “See the Future Back to Back to Back” triple feature screening on May 24th (though the first and second movie were presented in 35mm in most locales).

For the release of “Back to the Future Part III,” 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 III” 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 “Darkman,” “Ghost Dad,” “Jetsons: The Movie,” “Mo’ Better Blues” and “Problem Child” circulated during the release of “Back to the Future Part III” and which the distributor recommended be screened with the presentation. 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 (8) [THX]
Los Angeles — Pacific’s Cinerama Dome (4)
Newport Beach — Edwards’ Newport Triplex (5)
Orange — Syufy’s Cinedome 8-plex (6)
San Francisco — AMC’s Kabuki 8-plex (11) [THX]
San Jose — Syufy’s Century 22 Triplex (5)
Universal City — Cineplex Odeon’s Universal City 18-plex (7) [THX]

New York — Cineplex Odeon’s Coronet (6)
New York — Cineplex Odeon’s National Twin (7)

Toronto — Cineplex Odeon’s Hyland Twin (8)

Dallas — GCC’s Northpark West Twin (4+) [THX]
Houston — Cineplex Odeon’s Spectrum 9-plex (8) [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.


1990-06-22 … Los Angeles, CA — Cineplex Odeon’s Showcase (4)
1990-06-27 … San Jose, CA — Syufy’s Century 24 Twin (?)
1990-06-29 … Salt Lake City, UT — Cineplex Odeon’s Crossroads Triplex (1)
1990-08-31 … Carlsbad, CA — SoCal’s Plaza Camino Real 4-plex (3) [w/ “Dick Tracy’]

The information included in this article was principally referenced from film industry trade publications and regional newspaper promotion, with thanks to David Ayers 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 II”: The North American 70mm Engagements

70mm Engagements

70mm Blow Up List

Dolby Stereo

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Updated 07-01-21