History, Legacy & Showmanship

Around the World in 60 Years: Remembering “Around the World in 80 Days” on its 60th Anniversary

December 30, 2016 - 3:15 pm   |   by
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Around the World in Eighty Days, and more specifically, Mike Todd, defined the way to sell a hard ticket roadshow film.  It was important to present the show just like the legitimate stage on Broadway.” — American Widescreen Museum curator Martin Hart

The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective article commemorating the 60th anniversary of the release of Around the World in Eighty Days, Mike Todd’s cinematic production of the classic Jules Verne novel which starred David Niven, Cantinflas and Shirley MacLaine, plus an all-star selection of cameos. [Read on here...]

For the occasion The Bits features a compilation of box-office data and trivia for the movie which places its theatrical performance in context, a reference/historical listing of the movie’s Todd-AO roadshow presentations, and an interview segment with a group of film historians.

A scene from Around the World in 80 Days

EIGHTY DAYS NUMBER$

  • 1 = Number of opening-week bookings
  • 2 = Rank among top-earning films of 1956 (legacy)
  • 3 = Rank on all-time list of top-earning films at close of original run / peak chart position
  • 5 = Number of Academy Awards
  • 8 = Number of Academy Award nominations
  • 9 = Number of years United Artists’ most-successful film
  • 48 = Number of 70mm prints
  • 49 = Rank on current list of all-time top-grossing films (adjusted for inflation)
  • 127 = Number of days it took to shoot the movie
  • 127 = Number of weeks longest-running engagement played
  • 1,569 = Number of first-run roadshow bookings, 1956-58
  • $6.0 million = Production cost
  • $22.0 million = Box-office rental (as of January 1, 1960)
  • $23.0 million = Box-office rental (as of January 1, 1969)
  • $23.1 million = Box-office rental (as of January 1, 1985)
  • $42.0 million = Box-office gross
  • $53.1 million = Production cost (adjusted for inflation)
  • $556.3 million = Box-office gross (adjusted for inflation)

In the projection booth

THE TODD-AO ROADSHOW ENGAGEMENTS

Presented here is a chronological listing of the “hard ticket” roadshow engagements in the United States and Canada of Around the World in Eighty Days that were presented in 70-millimeter and six-track stereophonic sound at the original Todd-AO projector speed of 30 frames per second. These were special, long-running, showcase presentations in major cities prior to the film being exhibited as a general release, and they featured advanced admission pricing, reserved seating, an overture/intermission/entr’acte/exit music, and with an average of ten scheduled screenings per week. Souvenir program booklet were sold, as well. (Beginning in late-Spring 1957, 35mm prints — at 24 frames per second — began circulating for most of the film’s roadshow bookings.)

Out of hundreds of films released during 1956, Eighty Days was among only four that were given deluxe roadshow treatment.

The film’s anniversary offers an opportunity to namedrop some famous and once-glorious cinemas, to provide some nostalgia for those who saw the film during this phase of its original release, and to reflect on how the film industry has evolved the manner in which event and prestige films are exhibited.

The film’s 70mm prints were intended to be projected in a 2.21:1 aspect ratio and the soundtrack featured five discrete screen channels plus one discrete (and possibly Perspecta-encoded) surround channel.

The listing does not include the film’s roadshow engagements that were presented in 35mm, nor does it include any of the subsequent general release, second run, international, and re-release engagements. The duration of the engagements, measured in weeks, has been included after each cinema name in parenthesis for most of the entries to provide some measure of the film’s success.

So, which North American theaters screened the Todd-AO 30fps version of Around the World in Eighty Days?

Todd-AO

  • 1956-10-17 … New York, NY — Rivoli (103 weeks)
  • 1956-12-19 … Houston, TX — Tower (40)
  • 1956-12-20 … Dallas, TX — Tower (46)
  • 1956-12-21 … Baltimore, MD — Film Centre (54)                  
  • 1956-12-21 … Miami (Miami Beach), FL — Sheridan (66)
  • 1956-12-22 … Los Angeles, CA — Carthay Circle (127)
  • 1956-12-26 … San Francisco, CA — Coronet (95)
  • 1956-12-27 … Detroit, MI — United Artists (67)
  • 1956-12-27 … Philadelphia, PA — Midtown (53)
  • 1957-01-10 … San Antonio, TX — Broadway (34)
  • Newspaper ad for Around the World in 80 Days1957-01-23 … New Orleans, LA — Panorama (28)
  • 1957-03-01 … Montreal, QC — Alouette (44)
  • 1957-04-04 … Chicago, IL — Cinestage (90)
  • 1957-04-05 … Buffalo, NY — Century (22)
  • 1957-04-08 … Washington, DC — Uptown (51)
  • 1957-04-11 … Pittsburgh, PA — Nixon (38)
  • 1957-04-17 … Oklahoma City, OK — State (17)
  • 1957-04-17 … Portland, OR — Broadway (36)
  • 1957-04-17 … Seattle, WA — Blue Mouse (50)
  • 1957-04-17 … Tulsa, OK — Rialto (17)
  • 1957-04-20 … Boston, MA — Saxon (50)
  • 1957-05-15 … Corpus Christi, TX — Tower (9)
  • 1957-05-15 … Denver, CO — Tabor (36)
  • 1957-05-15 … Little Rock, AR — Capitol (9)
  • 1957-05-28 … Atlantic City, NJ — Virginia
  • 1957-05-28 … Louisville, KY — Brown (18)
  • 1957-05-29 … Kansas City, MO — Tower (27)
  • 1957-05-29 … Syracuse (DeWitt), NY — Shoppingtown (35)
  • 1957-06-12 … Milwaukee, WI — Strand (49)
  • 1957-06-13 … Cincinnati, OH — Valley (35)
  • 1957-06-14 … Cleveland, OH — Ohio (42)
  • 1957-06-26 … Atlanta, GA — Roxy (30)
  • 1957-07-12 … Minneapolis, MN — Academy (49)
  • 1957-07-24 … Rochester, NY — Monroe (30)
  • 1957-07-30 … Hartford, CT — Strand (15)
  • 1957-08-01 … San Diego, CA — Capri (45)
  • 1957-08-07 … Toronto, ON — Tivoli (48)
  • 1957-08-08 … Fort Wayne, IN — Clyde (12)
  • 1957-08-08 … Indianapolis, IN — Lyric (26)
  • 1957-08-14 … Jacksonville, FL — 5 Points (12)
  • 1957-08-22 … Beaumont, TX — Liberty (8)
  • 1957-09-12 … Columbus, OH — Cinestage (37)
  • 1957-10-03 … Buffalo, NY — Granada (20)
  • 1957-10-10 … Providence, RI — Elmwood (29)
  • 1957-10-16 … Youngstown, OH — State (12)
  • 1957-10-17 … Shreveport, LA — Saenger (12)
  • 1957-12-19 … Phoenix, AZ — Vista (11)
  • 1958-07-16 … Oyster Bay (Syosset), NY — Syosset (15)

A scene from Around the World in 80 Days

 [On to Page 2]


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