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“Days of Thunder”: The North American 70mm Engagements
“You can’t outrun the thunder.”

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

“Days of Thunder” was among twenty confirmed first-run films released in 1990 with 70mm prints for selected engagements. The Simpson/Bruckheimer production and Paramount release — directed by Tony Scott and starring Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall, Randy Quaid, Nicole Kidman and Cary Elwes — opened June 27th.

Pre-release screenings included an invitational preview held June 25th at the National in Los Angeles.

For the release of “Days of Thunder,” Paramount 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 “Days of Thunder” featured full-frame imagery blown up from anamorphic 35mm and a triple inventory of Cinema Digital Sound (CDS), Six-Track Dolby Stereo (A-encoded Baby Boom with a Split Surround playback option) and Six-Track Dolby Stereo (SR-encoded Baby Boom with a Split Surround playback option) audio formats.

Paramount circulated 70mm trailers for “Flight of the Intruder,” “Funny about Love,” “Ghost,” “The Godfather Part III,” “Graveyard Shift,” “The Two Jakes” and “Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael” during the release of “Days of Thunder.” As well, other studios circulated 70mm trailers during this period. Ultimately, the 70mm trailers, if any, seen during the 70mm presentations of “Days of Thunder” varied by venue and screening.

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

Bookings designated with an asterisk were initially presented in Cinema Digital Sound (CDS). There were reports of playback failures during first week of release, however, resulting in delayed and canceled screenings, and soon thereafter the CDS prints were replaced with Dolby-encoded magnetic prints for the remainder of the booking.

Edmonton — Famous Players’ Paramount (7) [THX]

Phoenix — Harkins’ Cine Capri (7)

Vancouver — Famous Players’ Stanley (12) [THX]

Corte Madera — Pacific’s Cinema* (6)
Lakewood — Pacific’s Lakewood Center 4-plex* (6)
Los Angeles — Mann’s Chinese Triplex* (6) [THX]
Los Angeles — Mann’s National* (7) [THX]
Mountain View — Syufy’s Century 10-plex (7)
Orange — Syufy’s Cinedome 8-plex (6)
Sacramento — Syufy’s Cinedome 8-plex (7) [70mm from Week 2]
San Francisco — Blumenfeld’s Alhambra (6)
San Jose — Syufy’s Century 21 (3)
Universal City — Cineplex Odeon’s Universal City 18-plex (6) [THX]

Skokie — Loews/M&R’s Old Orchard 4-plex (4)

Winnipeg — Famous Players’ Northstar Twin (6)

New York — Cineplex Odeon’s Ziegfeld (6)
New York — Loews’ 19th Street East 6-plex (4)
New York — Loews’ 34th Street Showplace Triplex (5)
New York — Loews’ 84th Street 6-plex (4)

Ottawa — Famous Players’ Rideau Centre Triplex (5)
Toronto — Famous Players’ Eglinton (6) [THX]

Montreal — Famous Players’ Imperial (8) [THX]

Dallas — UA’s Plaza 8-plex (1+) [THX]

Salt Lake City — Mann’s Villa (6)

Seattle — Cineplex Odeon’s Cinerama (6)

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.


1990-07-18 … San Jose, CA — Syufy’s Century 24 Twin (3)
1990-10-19 … San Antonio, TX — Rivercenter IMAX (5)
1990-10-26 … Casper, WY — Movie Palaces’ America (4)
1990-10-26 … Downers Grove, IL — Classic Cinemas’ Tivoli (1)

1991-02-22 … Toronto, ON — Cinesphere (10 days) [70mm festival]
1991-09-13 … Madison, WI — Marcus’ Eastgate 10-plex (1) [70mm series]

1998-05-29 … Chicago, IL — Cineplex Odeon’s Navy Pier IMAX (1) [late night series]

2012-10-25 … Santa Monica, CA — American Cinematheque’s Aero [Tony Scott series; w/ “Top Gun”]

2017-09-25 … Somerville, MA — Somerville [70mm & Widescreen festival]

2018-09-13 … Seattle, WA — Cinerama [70mm 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 Bill Kallay and Bill Kretzel, and an extra special thank-you to the librarians who assisted with this project’s research.

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:

70mm Engagements

70mm Blow Up List

Dolby Stereo

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