Terminator 2

Weekend Roundtable: Theatrical Re-Releases

Twenty-six years after its original release, James Cameron’s blockbuster ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’ returns to cinemas this weekend with a new 3D facelift. What movies that you never got to see on the big screen the first time around would you pay to see in the theater now if they got re-released? (3D is not required.)

In choosing this topic, I acknowledge that advances in home theater make the cinema experience a lot less appealing than it used to be back in the day. Nonetheless, there’s still something to be said for watching a movie on a really large theater screen with an enthusiastic crowd.

Shannon Nutt

This week’s Roundtable is a tough question for me to answer, as virtually all theatrical re-releases these days are just exhibitions of the digital version of said film – basically the same thing you can watch at home. Given that I have a fairly nice TV and at least moderately good audio, there’s not much that can get me into a theater for something I already own. The last 35mm showing of a film I saw on the big screen was ‘Superman: The Movie’, with all the flecks of dirt and popping that come with an older print. But it was glorious, kind of like how LP records still sound better than CDs.

With the above in mind, about the only movie that might get me to the theater is my all-time favorite, ‘Somewhere in Time‘ – mostly because I’ve never had the chance to see that film on the big screen. It’s never been all that popular with the masses, and it marked its 35th anniversary back in 2015, so the next real shot at any theatrical exhibition is probably in 2020. Even so, I wouldn’t mind seeing it then, particularly if it involved a new restoration for the movie, which just didn’t look right to me in its most recent Blu-ray release. (The colors were way over-saturated and the movie had a hazy look.)

M. Enois Duarte

I’ve always wanted to see one of my all-time favorite horror films on the big screen: Dario Argento’s ‘Suspiria‘. Coincidentally, the Italian giallo classic was recently remastered from a well-preserved 35mm interpositive and is set to tour the U.S. this fall. Since I was a kid and first discovered Argento, I’ve always dreamed of what it must have been like to see the movie on the biggest screen possible. I could only imagine how moviegoers must have reacted when experiencing this phantasmagoric beauty, a hallucinatory eye-candy nightmare that tingles all the senses. After many years of wishing to someday see it in a theater, I will finally have that chance this December.

Luke Hickman

If you would have asked me before I knew it was happening, I would have said ‘Terminator 2’. However, I don’t want to be the Roundtabler who picks the obvious choice, so I’ll go with another sci-fi action classic. I was two years old when ‘Blade Runner‘ opened in theaters, so I never had the chance to see it on the silver screen. Being one of the very best science fiction films ever made and with a promising sequel less than two months away, I’d love the chance to experience it. If someone from AMC theaters (or my local chain, Megaplex Theatres) is reading this, please make it happen!

Brian Hoss

I feel lucky in the sense that I’ve been able to see some of my favorite movies in the theater during their intitial releases (like ‘Oldboy’, ‘Ghost in the Shell 2’ and ‘Army of Darkness’) or on special re-release (‘Blade Runner’, ‘The Good, the Bad & the Ugly’, ‘La Dolce Vita’). I did once want to attend a crazy marathon (like the first six ‘Star Trek’ films), but now I think a classic that I’ve never before seen but would like would be great. Failing that, ‘The Graduate‘ or ‘A Streetcar Named Desire‘ would be fun.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

I’m tortured by many, many cinematic regrets, and somewhere near the top of the list is that I’ve yet to experience a proper theatrical exhibition of a large format film. Given the chance to gaze in awe at just about anything in 70mm within a few hours’ drive of here, I’d eagerly seize upon the opportunity. (When I say “just about anything,” pretend there’s an asterisk next to that reading “but maybe not ‘Dunkirk’.”) ‘Ben Hur‘, ‘Lawrence of Arabia‘, ‘The Sound of Music‘, ‘It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World‘, ‘Doctor Zhivago‘, ‘My Fair Lady‘, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey‘, or virtually anything else you’d care to name – point me in the right direction, and I’m there. I’ve missed out when some of these films have passed through my general neck of the woods in the Southeast, and I don’t want to make that same mistake again.

Josh Zyber

Anyone who reads this blog regularly already knows that the obvious answer for me is ‘Dune‘. I actually have seen the movie in 35mm, but not during the original release. (I was 10 and honestly wasn’t even aware of its existence at the time.) Many years later, a local repertory theater screened an old print that was a little faded and not in great physical shape. The theater’s screen wasn’t particularly large either. I would welcome the chance to see a pristine restoration on the big screen, if such a thing could ever happen.

Allow me also to speak for a very large contingent of people who are dying to see the original theatrical versions of the ‘Star Wars Trilogy‘ restored and re-released. I was too young when the first two movies came out the first time around, and only saw ‘Return of the Jedi’ during its original run. Like countless other suckers, I was conned into seeing the so-called “Special Edition” theatrical reissue in 1997 – with all the garbage CGI and awful changes imposed on the movies. Screw that. That doesn’t count. I need to experience the real ‘Star Wars’ theatrically in my lifetime. Sadly, it increasingly looks like that will never happen.

What would get you out to the theater to see an old movie re-released? Tell us in the Comments.

43 comments

  1. Timcharger

    For Terminator 2 re-release, “windshield falls off” chant probably won’t rival “Han shoots first.”
    🙂

    Google the change Cameron made for this T2’s rerelease. Fun read.

    It begs the question, what changes might Cameron make in the Abyss
    and True Lies. Cameron has broken the seal.

      • Chris B

        You are lucky my friend! I heard the original cut of Alien was 3 1/2 hours long. Sure wish it was available to the public!

          • Chris B

            I know that. It’s about a minute shorter than the theatrical version so not that different. When Scott was first cutting the film together he was heavily influenced by the original TCM and his original version of Alien ran way longer apparently.

  2. NJScorpio

    I’m disappointing that Disney has stopped the theatrical releases of their classic Animated features. I grew up having seen stuff like ‘Snow White’, ‘Fantasia’ and ‘Pinocchio’ in theaters…and it was damn scary! Very intense stuff!

    I understand their current model…restore an animated feature, release it on Blu-Ray Diamond Edition, release a live action version of that movie, possibly release a Broadway musical, then put the animated Blu-Ray back in the ‘vault’. It seems to work for them. Still, I’d love to get to see some of that beautiful and drawn art, restored, then projected in a top of the line theater.

    • Here in Australia about two a year they have Disney Princess Festivals in our cinemas where they show a different disney film each week.

      Haven’t paid that much attention, so far I’m sure it has just been princess flix and not other great classics like “Home on the Range” and “Bambi II”.

  3. Csm101

    I would LOVE to see the original Terminator on the big screen and John Carpenter’s The Thing. It’d be awesome if I had the theater all to myself!!

  4. Josh Zyber
    Author

    I saw Blade Runner theatrically in both 1992 for the Director’s Cut and 2007 for the Final Cut. I emailed with Luke about this yesterday, but he doesn’t think either of those made their way out to his region, sadly.

  5. Paul Anderson

    2001: A Space Odyssey would be at the top of my list. Followed closely by Blade Runner, The Thing and The Shining.

  6. James Smith

    I would love have seen Blade Runner, Lawrence of Arabia, The Wild Bunch, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Raiders of the Lost Ark on the big screen.

    • ‘Raiders’ came back in 2012, just ahead of the Blu-ray. I happened to be in the United States at the time, and kind Josh scored tickets for me.

      • James Smith

        I remember they released it in theaters, including IMAX screens, back in 2012. Unfortunately, I missed it! I think it was only shown for a week in theaters.

    • I remember seeing Raiders on 35mm print in 2007 at the Garland in Spokane, WA. Was soo good! but I am glad we have digital preservation nowadays, that print was ooooollld! 😛

  7. Bolo

    ‘Papillon’ is one of my favourites that I’ve never seen presented on the big screen. I would jump at that chance.

  8. photogdave

    Grand Prix, hands down! I remember seeing the film on TV as a teen, in all it’s 4:3 cropped glory and still being blown away by the racing action. The next time it came on I taped it on VHS but this time they opened up the format for widescreen action scenes and then went back to “full screen” for the dialog scenes.
    I’ve owned it on DVD and Blu and it still blows me away. Not only has the excitement and technical achievement of the racing footage yet to be surpassed by any modern film, but it’s also a fantastic time capsule of the golden age of Formula One racing.
    I would put Steve McQueen’s Le Mans as a close second choice.

    • Scott

      You and I sir would get along famously! Agree with everything you said. Grand Prix is a masterpiece for anyone into Motorsport.

      And as someone who has been to Le Mans a half dozen times now, McQueen’s tribute to it will always hold a special place in my heart.

  9. Plissken99

    At one point in life, theatrical re-releases meant a lot to me. I enjoyed seeing the Star Wars special editions in theaters, as well as the Exorcist. T2 *should* be important as I missed it when I was a kid due to extenuating circumstances. However I have a 150″ screen, genuine cinema speakers and hate people/crowds. So theatrical re-releases mean absolutely nothing to me.

    When I hear of one, I laugh, plug in the Blu Ray and pop a giant bowl of popcorn that costs me .49 cents and watch it whenever the hell I want. It’s my heaven. 🙂

    • Trust me, sadly they didn’t go all out for the theatrical re-release so you’re not missing out on much… the 3D bluray… even the 4K bluray is going to be 10x better. No crowds, comfort, and a kick ass DTS:X soundtrack!

      I’m looking forward to my new home theatre to be finished so the urge to go to the movies will be greatly diminished!

  10. Daniel Pulliam

    I’m going to see Close Encounters on 9/1 in a Dolby Cinema (my first experience with that). And I’m still buying the UHD. I’ve just never seen it on the big screen and that sure seems like a fantastic movie to see that way.

    • Elizabeth

      Any idea which version of CETK is getting shown? Honestly, I’m not sure (a) what is in the theatrical cut or (b) if I’ve seen the theatrical cut. Even the versions I first saw on TV contained additional scenes.

        • Elizabeth

          I actually did some searching yesterday and found a site that claimed it was the Director’s Cut, though given the numerous versions of this film I’m not sure what that means. I hope that means the full opening with all the various strange events across the world, the press conference where the government tries to deny the UFO sightings, and the full sequence of Dreyfus building the Devil’s Tower model.

  11. On October 21, 2015, the entire ‘Back to the Future Trilogy’ got a rerelease in cinemas. That was my holy grail. I also had the pleasure to see a genuine 35MM presentation (warts, specks, etc. included) of ‘The Goonies’ in 2014. On 18 December, a Belgian cinema will screen ‘Home Alone’. Was 6 when that came out, but only saw it four years later on TV. Can’t wait.

  12. Nick Wilson

    I got to see Blade Runner (Director’s Cut) on the big screen here in the UK back in 1993, also watching the original version of The Exorcist a couple of times during the 90s. Watched the Director’s Cut of Alien, saw Dario Argento’s Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Four Flies on Grey Velvet, Inferno & Tenebrae. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, The Blues Brothers, Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead. Quite a few, actually! Let’s hear it for independent cinemas!!

  13. JudasCradle

    Shannon Nut: Since 35mm film is 6-8K, the version you saw of Superman was better than any blu ray or 4K disc could be.

  14. I’m with Shannon – my home system is so good, I rarely even watch new movies in theaters, much less rereleases.

    In the past, I have seen all 3 Star Wars movies Special Edition, Gone With the Wind, Wizard of Oz 3D, Titanic 3D, Jurassic Park 3D, Phantom Menace 3D, Top Gun, and Sound of Music at theatrical rereleases, but Top Gun was just the HD-DVD version playing, so it kind of soured me to a lot of these.

    I will go see T2 sometime this week.

    I honestly cannot see going to a theater to see a rerelease unless they are going to offer something unique. Popping in a Blu-Ray in one of the smaller auditoriums at a theater is not enough to get me out of the house. Do a 3D release at Imax, or some film showing of a movie, or new 4k or 8k projection, then yeah, I will come see it!

  15. Charles Mall

    I got to see a double bill of Alien and Aliens in my local cinema. I was too young or not born yet to have seen those two in the cinemas. It was great. It’s about the only good thing to be thankful about Alien: Covenant since they were re-released only to advertise the new film.

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