History, Legacy & Showmanship

Still Watching the Skies: Remembering “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” on its 40th Anniversary

November 16, 2017 - 1:16 pm   |   by
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A scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind

 

THE ORIGINAL THEATRICAL ENGAGEMENTS

What follows, for historical record and nostalgia, is an alphabetical listing of the North American first-run engagements of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It is not a complete listing. Instead, the primary objective was to focus on the first-run commencement period of November and December 1977 rather than all of the film’s release cycles.

Another objective was to ensure every U.S. state and the major Canadian provinces were accounted for and so an exception has been made for those cases where a state or province’s most-populated city did not open the film during November or December of 1977.

Understand the engagements cited here represent only a fraction of the thousands of total bookings throughout the many cycles of distribution over the course of the film’s release. As well, this work does not include any international or re-release engagements. The duration of the engagements (measured in weeks) is provided for some of the entries to give the reader a sense of the movie’s popularity.

The stereo sound presentations have been identified where known. Close Encounters had the largest Dolby Stereo release to date.

Some liberties have been taken in regard to some of the generically named theaters (i.e. “Cinema,” “Cinema Twin”). Typically such theaters were located in shopping plazas and as such they have been identified in this work whenever possible by the name of the shopping plaza 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 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 the film was screened simultaneously 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 few cases, the name of a location has changed since 1977-78 (typically 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 engagement.

Prior to release there were sneak preview screenings on October 19th and 20th at the Medallion in Dallas. Press previews were held November 10th–14th. The film’s world premiere was held November 15th at the Ziegfeld in New York.

So…which theaters played Close Encounters on first release? Read on….

Dolby System

STATE/PROVINCE

  • City — Cinema (opening date MM-DD) (duration in weeks) special presentation format

ALABAMA

  • Anniston — Fairlane-Litchfield’s Plaza Triplex (12-21) (7)
  • Birmingham — ABC’s Roebuck Plaza Twin (12-14) (20) Dolby
  • Dothan — Davis’ Northside 4-plex (12-14)
  • Gadsden — Gadsden’s Agricola Center Twin (12-21) (7)
  • Huntsville — Trans-Lux’s West Shopping Plaza Twin (12-21)
  • Mobile — ABC’s Capri (12-14) (21)
  • Montgomery — ABC’s Eastmont Twin (12-14) (13)
  • Muscle Shoals — Martin’s Cinema Twin (12-21) (7)
  • Tuscaloosa — ABC’s Fox Twin (12-21) (7)

ALASKA

  • Anchorage — Wometco Lathrop’s Polar Twin (2-15)

ALBERTA

  • Calgary — Odeon’s North Hill (12-23) (20) Dolby
  • Calgary — Odeon’s Uptown Twin (12-23) (12)
  • Edmonton — Odeon’s Meadowlark (12-23) (17) Dolby
  • Edmonton — Odeon’s Odeon Twin (12-23)

Close Encounters newspaper adARIZONA

  • Phoenix — General Cinema’s Metro Center Triplex (12-14) (22)
  • Phoenix — General Cinema’s Thomas Mall (12-14) (22)
  • Tucson — Mann’s Buena Vista Twin (12-16) (22)
  • Yuma — Great Western’s Plaza Triplex (12-21)

ARKANSAS

  • Fayetteville — Malco’s Razorback Twin (12-21) Dolby
  • Fort Smith — UA’s Minitek Twin (12-21)
  • Jonesboro — Malco’s Trio Triplex (12-21) Dolby
  • Little Rock — UA’s Cinema 150 (12-14) (14)

BRITISH COLUMBIA

  • New Westminster — Odeon’s New West (12-16)
  • Vancouver — Odeon’s Vogue (12-16) (19) Dolby
  • Victoria — Odeon’s Haida (12-23)

CALIFORNIA

  • Bakersfield — AMC’s Stockdale 6-plex (12-21) (#1: 13)
  • Bakersfield — AMC’s Stockdale 6-plex (12-21) (#2: 9)
  • Berkeley — UA’s United Artists 4-plex (12-14) (#1: 23)
  • Berkeley — UA’s United Artists 4-plex (12-14) (#2: 13)
  • Corte Madera — Blumenfeld/Cinerama’s Cinema (12-14) (13)
  • Costa Mesa — Mann’s South Coast Plaza Triplex (12-14) (42) 70mm 6-Track Dolby
  • Davis — West Side Valley’s Cinema Twin (12-21) (10)
  • El Centro — Great Western’s Fox (12-21) (6)
  • Escondido — AIT’s Vineyard Twin (12-21) (10)
  • Eureka — Redwood’s State Triplex (12-21) (12) Dolby
  • Fairfield — Tegtmeier’s Fairfield Twin (12-21) (13) Dolby
  • Fresno — UA’s Movies 4-plex (12-14) (#1: 30)
  • Fresno — UA’s Movies 4-plex (12-14) (#2: 13)
  • Hayward — General Cinema’s Southland Triplex (12-14) (23)
  • La Mirada — Pacific’s La Mirada 4-plex (12-14) (#1: 22)
  • La Mirada — Pacific’s La Mirada 4-plex (12-14) (#2: 13)
  • Lakewood — Pacific’s Lakewood Center 4-plex (12-14) (23) 70mm 6-Track Dolby
  • Livermore — West Side Valley’s Vine Twin (12-21) (12)
  • Los Angeles (Hollywood) — Pacific’s Cinerama Dome (11-18) (4) 70mm 6-Track Dolby
  • Los Angeles (Hollywood) — SRO’s Paramount (12-14) (22) 70mm 6-Track Dolby
  • Los Angeles (Sherman Oaks) — Mann’s La Reina (12-14) (13)
  • Los Angeles (Westwood) — SRO’s Crest (12-14) (22) Dolby
  • Los Angeles (Woodland Hills) — General Cinema’s Woodland Hills Triplex (12-14) (#1: 21)
  • Los Angeles (Woodland Hills) — General Cinema’s Woodland Hills Triplex (12-14) (#2: 9)
  • Menlo Park — West Side Valley’s Guild (12-14) (24)
  • Merced — UA’s Regency (12-21) (12)
  • Millbrae — UA’s Millbrae (12-14) (19)
  • Modesto — Redwood’s Briggsmore (12-21) (14) Dolby
  • Montclair — General Cinema’s Montclair Plaza Triplex (12-14) (#1: 19)
  • Montclair — General Cinema’s Montclair Plaza Triplex (12-14) (#2: 8)
  • Monterey — Kindair’s Cinema 70 (12-21) (12) 70mm 6-Track Dolby
  • Napa — Blumenfeld’s Uptown Twin (12-21) (8)
  • Oceanside — Sanborn’s Camino 4-plex (12-21) (21)
  • Orange — Syufy’s Cinedome 6-plex (12-14) (33) 70mm 6-Track Dolby
  • Oxnard — SRO’s Carriage Square Twin (12-21) (19)
  • Palm Springs — Metropolitan’s Camelot Twin (12-21) (12) 70mm 6-Track Dolby
  • Paramount — Pacific’s Rosecrans Drive-In (12-14) (12) Cine-Fi
  • Pasadena — SRO’s Hastings (12-14) (22) 70mm 6-Track Dolby
  • Pleasant Hill — Syufy’s Century 5-plex (12-14) (27)
  • Porterville — Porter Triplex (12-21) (7)
  • Redding — Lippert’s Showcase (12-21) (10)
  • Redondo Beach — General Cinema’s South Bay 4-plex (12-14) (23)
  • Sacramento — General Cinema’s Sacramento Inn Triplex (12-14) (#1: 26)
  • Sacramento — General Cinema’s Sacramento Inn Triplex (12-14) (#2: 13)
  • Salinas — Kindair’s Northridge 4-plex (12-21) (12) Dolby
  • San Diego — Mann’s Cinema 21 (12-14) (13) 70mm 6-Track Dolby
  • San Francisco — UA’s Coronet (12-14) (27) 70mm 6-Track Dolby
  • San Luis Obispo — Mann’s Fremont (12-21) (8)
  • Santa Barbara — Metropolitan’s Granada (12-21) (12) 70mm 6-Track Dolby
  • Santa Clara — UA’s Cinema 150 (12-14) (31) 70mm 6-Track Dolby
  • Santa Cruz — UA’s Rio (12-21) (21)
  • Santa Maria — Metropolitan’s Peppertree Plaza (12-21) (8)
  • Santa Rosa — Redwood’s Coddingtown Triplex (12-21) (20) Dolby
  • Sonora — West Side Valley’s Plaza Twin (12-21) (6)
  • South Lake Tahoe — T&R’s Stateline (12-21) Dolby
  • Stockton — Plitt’s Sherwood (12-14) (13)
  • Tulare — West Side Valley’s Tower Square Triplex (12-21) (8)
  • Visalia — West Side Valley’s Visalia (12-21) (10)
  • West Covina — Sanborn’s Eastland Triplex (12-14) (23) Dolby
  • Woodland — Redwood’s State Triplex (12-21) (6) Dolby

COLORADO

  • Boulder — Commonwealth’s Village 4-plex (12-21) Dolby
  • Colorado Springs — UA’s Cinema 150 (12-14) (23) 70mm 6-Track Stereo from Week 14
  • Denver — Cooper-Highland’s Cooper Twin (12-14) (27) 70mm 6-Track Dolby
  • Fort Collins — Commonwealth’s Campus West (12-21) (8)
  • Grand Junction — Westland’s Cooper (12-21)
  • Greeley — Cooper-Highland’s Cooper Twin (12-21)
  • Longmont — K’s Parkway (12-23)
  • Pueblo — Westland’s Cooper (12-21)

CONNECTICUT

  • Danbury — RKO Stanley-Warner’s Cinema Twin (12-14) (13)
  • Groton — UA’s Groton Twin (12-21) (10)
  • Manchester — UA’s East Triplex (12-14) (13)
  • Meriden — General Cinema’s Meriden Mall Twin (12-21) (11)
  • Orange — Redstone’s Showcase 5-plex (12-14)
  • Stamford — Trans-Lux’s Ridgeway (12-14) (13)
  • Torrington — A&B’s Warner (12-21)
  • Trumbull — UA’s Trumbull (12-14) (12)
  • Uncasville — Liberty (12-21) (13)
  • Waterbury — General Cinema’s Naugatuck Valley Mall 4-plex (12-14) (12)
  • West Hartford — Elm (12-14) (14)
  • Westport — Nutmeg’s Fine Arts Triplex (12-14) (13)

DELAWARE

  • Claymont — Sameric’s Eric Tri-State Mall Triplex (12-14) (19)
  • Dover — Schwartz’s Dover (12-21)

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

  • Washington — K-B’s Cinema (12-14) (26) Dolby

FLORIDA

  • Clearwater — ABC’s Sunshine Mall Twin (12-14) (18)
  • Daytona Beach — General Cinema’s Bellair Plaza Twin (12-14) (14)
  • Fort Lauderdale — ABC’s Coral Ridge Twin (12-14) (19) Dolby
  • Gainesville — ABC’s Center Twin (12-14)
  • Jacksonville — ABC’s Regency Twin (12-14) Dolby
  • Kendall — Wometco’s Dadeland Twin (12-14) (19) Dolby
  • Lakeland — General Cinema’s Imperial Mall Twin (12-21) (8)
  • Lauderhill — General Cinema’s 16th Street (12-14) (19)
  • Mary Esther — Ogden-Perry’s Santa Rosa Triplex (12-21)
  • Merritt Island — AMC’s Merritt Square 6-plex (12-14) (9)
  • Miami Beach — Wometco’s 163rd Street (12-14) (15) Dolby
  • Ocala — ABC’s Springs Twin (12-21) (6)
  • Panama City — AMC’s Panama City 4-plex (12-21)
  • Pensacola — ABC’s Plaza Twin (12-14) (16)
  • St. Petersburg — ABC’s Plaza Twin (12-14) (18)
  • Sarasota — ABC’s Plaza Twin (12-21) (12)
  • Satellite Beach — Kent’s Satellite Twin (12-14) (10)
  • Tallahassee — Eastern Federal’s Varsity Twin (12-21) (11) Dolby
  • Tampa — ABC’s Hillsboro Twin (12-14) (23)
  • West Palm Beach — ABC’s Plaza Twin (12-14) (22) Dolby
  • Winter Park — Wometco’s Park Twin (12-14) (19) Dolby

GEORGIA

  • Albany — Martin’s Albany Mall Twin (12-21) (6)
  • Athens — Weis’ Cinema Centre Triplex (12-21)
  • Atlanta — ABC’s Phipps Plaza Triplex (12-14) (19) Dolby
  • Augusta — ABC’s National Hills (12-14) (12)
  • Columbus — ABC’s Plaza Twin (12-14)
  • Gainesville — Fairlane-Litchfield’s Cinemas West Triplex (12-21)
  • Jonesboro — Weis’ Arrowhead Triplex (12-14) Dolby
  • Macon — Weis’ Cinema Centre Triplex (12-21)
  • Savannah — ABC’s Terrace Twin (12-21)
  • Smyrna — General Cinema’s Akers Mill Square 4-plex (12-14)
  • Stone Mountain — ABC’s Stonemont Twin (12-14) (23) Dolby

HAWAII

  • Honolulu — Consolidated’s Waikiki Triplex (12-14) (17) 70mm 6-Track Stereo from Week 14

IDAHO

  • Boise — Commonwealth’s Fairvu (12-21)
  • Idaho Falls — UA’s Country Club 4-plex (12-21)

ILLINOIS

  • Aurora — Plitt’s Fox Valley 4-plex (12-21) (18) Dolby
  • Belleville — BAC’s Cinema (12-14) (14) 70mm 6-Track Dolby
  • Bloomington — Kerasotes’ Castle (12-21) Dolby
  • Calumet City — Plitt’s River Oaks Triplex (12-14) (13) 70mm 6-Track Dolby
  • Carbondale — Kerasotes’ Varsity Twin (12-21) (8) Dolby
  • Carpentersville — General Cinema’s Meadowdale 5-plex (12-21) (11)
  • Champaign — Kerasotes’ Co-Ed Twin (12-14) Dolby
  • Cherry Valley — Plitt’s Cherry Vale Triplex (12-14) (13)
  • Chicago — Plitt’s Esquire (12-14) (13) 70mm 6-Track Dolby
  • Crystal Lake — Rhyan’s Showplace 5-plex (12-21) (8) Dolby
  • Danville — Kerasotes’ Fischer (12-21) Dolby
  • Decatur — Kerasotes’ Lincoln (12-21) Dolby
  • DeKalb — Carrols’ Cinema Twin (12-21)
  • Evergreen — M&R’s Evergreen Twin (12-14) (22) 70mm 6-Track Stereo
  • Joliet — Plitt’s Hillcrest (12-14) (13)
  • Kankakee — Plitt’s Paramount (12-21)
  • LaSalle — Kerasotes’ Majestic (12-21) Dolby
  • Lombard — General Cinema’s Yorktown 4-plex (12-14) (20)
  • Marion — Kerasotes’ Town & Country 4-plex (12-21) (6)
  • Norridge — M&R’s Norridge 4-plex (12-14) (13)
  • Orland Park — Plitt’s Orland Square 4-plex (12-14) (13)
  • Peoria — Plitt’s Madison (12-14) (13)
  • Quincy — Dickinson’s Town & Country-Quincy Mall Twin (12-21)
  • Schaumburg — Plitt’s Woodfield Twin (12-14) (16)
  • Skokie — M&R’s Old Orchard Triplex (12-14) (21) 70mm 6-Track Stereo
  • Springfield — General Cinema’s White Oaks Mall Triplex (12-14) (12)
  • Waukegan — General Cinema’s Lakehurst Triplex (12-21) (18)

INDIANA

  • Anderson — General Cinema’s Mounds Mall Twin (12-21)
  • Bloomington — Kerasotes’ Von Lee (12-21) (12) Dolby
  • Columbus — Hallmark’s Columbus Center Twin (12-21) (10) Dolby
  • Elkhart — Kerasotes’ Concord Mall Twin (12-21)
  • Evansville — Stieler’s Northpark Twin (12-14) (18) Dolby
  • Fort Wayne — MSM’s Holiday Twin (12-14) Dolby
  • Indianapolis — Priority’s Carlyle (12-14) (19) Dolby
  • Indianapolis — Priority’s Georgetown (12-14) (19) Dolby
  • Kokomo — UA’s The Movies at Markland Mall Twin (12-21)
  • Merrillville — General Cinema’s Crossroads Twin (12-14) (20)
  • Michigan City — Plitt’s Marquette Twin (12-21) (8)
  • Mishawaka — Plitt’s Town & Country Twin (12-14)
  • Muncie — General Cinema’s Northwest Plaza Twin (12-21) (12)
  • Richmond — Kerasotes’ Sidewalk (12-21) (7) Dolby
  • Terre Haute — General Cinema’s Honey Creek Triplex (12-21)
  • West Lafayette — UA’s Cinema West (12-21) (10)

IOWA

  • Cedar Rapids — Tri-States’ World (12-21) (10)
  • Davenport — General Cinema’s Northpark Twin (12-14) (14)
  • Des Moines — Dubinsky’s River Hills (12-14) (19) Dolby
  • Dubuque — General Cinema’s Kennedy Mall Twin (12-21) (7)
  • Sioux City — Dubinsky’s Riviera Twin (12-21) (9)
  • Waterloo — CEC’s Crossroads Twin (12-21)

KANSAS

  • Lawrence — Commonwealth’s Varsity (12-21)
  • Manhattan — Commonwealth’s Campus (12-21)
  • Overland Park — Dickinson’s Glenwood Twin (12-14) Dolby
  • Salina — Dickinson’s Vogue (12-21) (6)
  • Topeka — General Cinema’s Topeka Boulevard Twin (12-21)
  • Wichita — Commonwealth’s Twin Lakes Twin (12-14) Dolby

KENTUCKY

  • Ashland — Mid States’ Midtown Twin (12-21)
  • Florence — Mid States’ Florence 6-plex (12-14) (23) Dolby
  • Lexington — General Cinema’s Turfland Mall Twin (12-14) (19)
  • Louisville — Redstone’s Showcase 8-plex (12-14) (23) 70mm 6-Track Dolby
  • Owensboro — Malco’s Mall Twin (12-21)
  • Paducah — Columbia Amusements’ Columbia Twin (12-21)

LOUISIANA

  • Alexandria — Ogden-Perry’s MacArthur Village Twin (12-21) (8)
  • Baton Rouge — ABC’s Bon Marche Twin (12-14) (14) Dolby
  • Hammond — Gulf States’ University Twin (12-21)
  • Houma — Gulf States’ Southland Twin (12-21)
  • Lafayette — Ogden-Perry’s Center Twin (12-21) (12)
  • Lake Charles — Ogden-Perry’s Charles Triplex (12-21)
  • Metairie — General Cinema’s Lakeside 4-plex (12-14) (22)
  • Monroe — ABC’s Plaza Twin (12-21)
  • Opelousas — Gulf States’ Vista Village Twin (12-21) (5)
  • Shreveport — General Cinema’s Quail Creek Twin (12-14) (14)

MAINE

  • Augusta — Hallmark’s Turnpike Mall Twin (12-21)
  • Brewer — Graphic’s Cinema Center Triplex (12-21) (13)
  • Brunswick — Esquire’s Brunswick Twin (12-21)
  • South Portland — General Cinema’s Maine Mall Triplex (12-21) (12)
  • Waterville — SBC’s Cinema Center 5-plex (12-21)

MANITOBA

  • Winnipeg — Odeon’s Odeon (12-23) (13)

MARYLAND

  • Annapolis — Durkee’s Circle (12-21) (8)
  • Bel Air — JF’s Campus Hills Twin (12-14) (12)
  • Frederick — R/C’s Holiday (12-21)
  • Hagerstown — Interstate’s Long Meadow Twin (12-21)
  • Harundale — General Cinema’s Harundale Mall Twin (12-14) (13)
  • Marlow Heights — Neighborhood’s Marlow Twin (12-14) (18)
  • New Carrollton — Neighborhood’s New Carrollton (12-14) (26)
  • Towson — General Cinema’s York Road Twin (12-14) (18)
  • Woodlawn — General Cinema’s Security Mall Twin (12-14) (18)

MASSACHUSETTS

  • Boston — Sack’s Cinema 57 Twin (12-14) (14) 70mm 6-Track Dolby
  • Braintree — General Cinema’s Braintree 4-plex (12-14) (17)
  • Brockton — General Cinema’s Westgate Mall 5-plex (12-14) (13)
  • Brookline — General Cinema’s Chestnut Hill Twin (12-14) (14) Dolby
  • Danvers — Sack’s Cinema City 4-plex (12-14) (17) Dolby
  • Framingham — General Cinema’s Shoppers World 5-plex (12-14) (17)
  • Hyannis — Interstate’s Cape Cod Mall Triplex (12-21) Dolby
  • Leominster — Sack’s Leominster 5-plex (12-14)
  • North Dartmouth — General Cinema’s North Dartmouth Mall 4-plex (12-21)
  • Pittsfield — Western Massachusetts’ Capitol (12-21)
  • Raynham — Melrose’s Route 24 Cinema City Twin (12-21)
  • Swansea — AMC’s Swansea 4-plex (12-14)
  • West Springfield — Sack’s Palace Twin (12-14) (17) Dolby
  • Woburn — Redstone’s Showcase 5-plex (12-14) (16) Dolby
  • Worcester — Redstone’s Showcase 4-plex (12-14)

MICHIGAN

  • Ann Arbor — Mann’s Village Twin (12-14)
  • Battle Creek — Butterfield’s West Columbia Triplex (12-21) (9)
  • Burton — Plitt’s Eastland Mall (12-14)
  • Grand Rapids — Goodrich’s Northtown Twin (12-21) Dolby
  • Grosse Pointe Woods — Plitt’s Woods Twin (12-14) (13)
  • Jackson — Cinema National’s Westwood Twin (12-21)
  • Kalamazoo — UA’s West Main (12-21)
  • Kochville — Goodrich’s Tri-City 4-plex (12-21)
  • Lansing — Plitt’s Mall (12-14) (14)
  • Livonia — NGT’s Mai Kai (12-14) (24) 70mm 6-Track Dolby
  • Pontiac — General Cinema’s Pontiac Mall Twin (12-14) (23)
  • Roseville — General Cinema’s Macomb Mall Triplex (12-14) (23)
  • Southfield — NGT’s Americana 4-plex (12-14) (22) 70mm 6-Track Dolby
  • Southgate — NGT’s Southgate Triplex (12-14) (22) 70mm 6-Track Dolby

Close Encounters at the Cinerama Dome

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