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“Empire of the Sun”: The North American 70mm Engagements
“To survive in a world at war, he must find a strength greater than all the events that surround him.”

Read more at
in70mm.com
The 70mm Newsletter
Compiled by: Michael Coate Date: 07.02.2022
"Empire of the Sun" opening-day advert, New York Daily News, 9th December 1987

The following is a reference / historical listing of the 70-millimeter engagements of “Empire of the Sun” in the United States and Canada. These were arguably the best cinemas in which to experience this motion picture.

“Empire of the Sun” was among seventeen confirmed first-run films released in 1987 with 70mm prints for selected engagements. The Amblin Entertainment production and Warner Bros. release — directed by Steven Spielberg (“Close Encounters of the Third Kind”) and starring John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, Nigel Havers and Christian Bale — opened exclusively in 70mm limited release December 9th and expanded wide in 70mm and 35mm two days later.

Pre-release screenings include the film’s world premiere held December 8th at Mann’s Village in Los Angeles.

For the release of “Empire,” Warner Bros. 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 “Empire of the Sun” featured pillarboxed imagery (approximately 1.85:1) blown up from spherical 35mm and Six-Track Dolby Stereo audio (“A” encoded “baby boom” format).

Warner Bros. circulated 70mm trailers for “Above the Law,” “Beetlejuice,” “Frantic,” “Moving” and “Stand and Deliver” during the release of “Empire of the Sun.” Other studios circulated 70mm trailers, as well, during this period. The 70mm trailers, if any, ultimately seen during 70mm presentations of “Empire of the Sun” varied by venue and screening.

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

Opened Wednesday, December 9th, 1987….

CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles (Hollywood) — Mann’s Chinese Triplex (5) [THX]
Los Angeles (Westwood Village) — Mann’s National (9) [THX]

NEW YORK
New York (Manhattan) — Cineplex Odeon’s Beekman (11)
New York (Manhattan) — Cineplex Odeon’s National Twin (6)
New York (Manhattan) — Cineplex Odeon’s Regency (9)

Opened Friday, December 11th, 1987….

ALBERTA
Calgary — Famous Players’ Chinook (6)
Calgary — Famous Players’ Sunridge 5-plex (5)
Edmonton — Famous Players’ Londonderry Twin (6)
Edmonton — Famous Players’ Westmount Centre 4-plex (8)

BRITISH COLUMBIA
Burnaby — Famous Players’ Lougheed Mall Triplex (7)
Vancouver — Famous Players’ Stanley (13) [THX]

CALIFORNIA
Costa Mesa — Edwards’ Town Center 4-plex (5)
Los Angeles (Sherman Oaks) — GCC’s Sherman Oaks 5-plex (9) [THX]
Los Angeles (Woodland Hills) — UA’s Warner Center 6-plex (5) [THX]
Montclair — Pacific’s Montclair 5-plex (13)
Mountain View — Syufy’s Century 10-plex (9)
Newport Beach — Edwards’ Newport Twin (6)
Oakland — Cinerama’s Piedmont Triplex (8)
Orange — Syufy’s Cinedome 8-plex (9)
Pleasant Hill — Syufy’s Century 5-plex (9)
Sacramento — Syufy’s Century 6-plex (9) [70mm from Week 3]
Sacramento — Syufy’s Cinedome 8-plex (8) [70mm from Week 4]
San Diego — Mann’s Valley Circle (8)
San Francisco — UA’s Metro (9)
San Jose — Syufy’s Century 22 Triplex (9)
San Rafael — Marin’s Regency 6-plex (12)
Torrance — Mann’s Old Towne 6-plex (8) [70mm from Week 4]
Universal City — Cineplex Odeon’s Universal City 18-plex (15) [THX]

COLORADO
Denver — Commonwealth’s Continental (1+)

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Washington — K-B’s Cinema (8)

HAWAII
Honolulu — Consolidated’s Waikiki 3 (5) [HPS-4000]

ILLINOIS
Chicago — Cineplex Odeon’s Esquire (5)

KANSAS
Overland Park — Dickinson’s Glenwood 4-plex (11)

MANITOBA
Winnipeg — Famous Players’ Northstar Twin (5)

MARYLAND
Baltimore — Durkee’s Senator (10)

MASSACHUSETS
Boston — USA’s Cheri Triplex (5)

MICHIGAN
Southfield — AMC’s Americana 8-plex (6)

MISSOURI
Richmond Heights — AMC’s Esquire 4-plex (9)

NEW JERSEY
Paramus — Cineplex Odeon’s Route Four 10-plex (11)
Secaucus — Loews’ Meadow 6-plex (2)

NEW YORK
New York (Brooklyn) — UA’s The Movies at Sheepshead Bay 9-plex (7)
New York (Queens) — UA’s Continental Triplex (7)
New York (Staten Island) — UA’s The Movies at Staten Island 10-plex (4+)
Woodbury — UA’s Cinema 150 (5)

ONTARIO
Mississauga — Famous Players’ Sussex Centre 4-plex (8) [THX]
North York — Famous Players’ Town & Countrye Twin (6)
Ottawa — Famous Players’ Elgin Twin (11)
Scarborough — Famous Players’ Cedarbrae 8-plex (7)
Toronto — Famous Players’ Eglinton (13) [THX]
Toronto — Famous Players’ Sheraton Centre Twin (9)
Toronto — Famous Players’ Runnymede Twin (5)

OREGON
Portland — LT’s Lloyd 10-plex (1+) [THX]

QUEBEC
Dorval — Famous Players’ Dorval Triplex (7)
Laval — Famous Players’ Laval 5-plex (6)
Montreal — Famous Players’ Imperial (9) [THX]

TEXAS
Dallas — GCC’s Northpark West Twin (9) [THX]
Houston — GCC’s Galleria 4-plex (9)

UTAH
Salt Lake City — Cineplex Odeon’s Trolley Corners Triplex (5)

WASHINGTON
Seattle — Seven Gables’ Guild 45th Twin (1+)

Note that some of the presentations included in this work may have been presented in 35mm during the latter week(s) of their 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 a 70mm print order in time for an opening-day delivery or the exhibitor negotiated a mid-run switch to 70mm. In such cases, any 35mm portion of the engagement has been included in the duration figure.

SUBSEQUENT 70MM ENGAGEMENTS & SCREENINGS

1987-12-25 … Westminster, CA — UA’s Westminster Mall Twin (4)

1988-01-15 … Boston, MA — USA’s Copley Place 9-plex (6)
1988-01-15 … Calgary, AB — Famous Players’ Palace (3)
1988-01-15 … Chicago, IL — Cineplex Odeon’s Chestnut Station 5-plex (3)
1988-01-15 … Los Angeles (Hollywood), CA — Mann’s Vogue (4)
1988-01-15 … Palm Springs, CA — Metropolitan’s Camelot Triplex (2)
1988-01-15 … Salt Lake City, UT — Cineplex Odeon’s Crossroads Triplex (4)
1988-01-15 … Syosset NY — UA’s Syosset Triplex (1)
1988-01-22 … Calgary, AB — Famous Players’ Southcentre 7-plex (6)
1988-02-05 … Edmonton, AB — Cineplex Odeon’s Plaza Twin (11)
1988-02-12 … Orange, CA — Syufy’s City Center 4-plex (4)
1988-03-04 … Calgary, AB — Cineplex Odeon’s Odeon Twin (9)
1988-08-15 … Atlanta, GA — Fox [11th Annual Summer Film Festival]

1989-01-11 … Toronto, ON — Cinesphere (3 days) [70mm fest]

1995-01-28 … Bellingham, WA — Mount Baker

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

70mm Cinemas in North America

Chronological premiere list of major 70mm films

Month by month premiere list of wide gauge and 3-strip films

70mm Engagements

70mm Blow Up List

Dolby Stereo


 
   
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Updated 30-06-22