Oh my gosh, has it been that long? Forty years, really?
Back in the 1970s, my lovely bride and I ran a little chain of theatres in San Diego and Orange counties. We launched midnight showings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show in our arthouses — the Stand in Ocean Beach, the Wilshire in Fullerton and the Balboa Cinema in Newport Beach — plus we had “first run” theatres in Escondido, which weren’t really first run theatres when we started.
It went like this, Oceanside, which is 17 miles away, claimed clearance over Escondido, so everything that played here in Escondido was always a few weeks (to months) after Oceanside had their way it. Paramount, United Artists and Columbia Pictures were the first to actually take a look at the map and say enough with that, and gave us first run clearance (“day-and-date”), with the provision that we, The Plaza Twin and The Bijou (aka: The Ritz) — our three screens — and The Vineyard Twin (the “competition”), play all of their films. No problem. Eventually 20th Century-Fox, Warner Bros. and Universal followed, but Disney held out for another couple of years.
In any case, one of the first big blockbusters that we had a chance to play date-and-date was One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest during the Thanksgiving/Christmas season of 1975 … by June of 1978 we were doing better numbers than Oceanside across the board and we absolutely blew them away when we opened Grease in The Ritz (it had close to 800 seats) 40 years ago … sell out, sell out, sell out!!!
News arrived this past week that Paramount Home Media will be celebrating the 40th Anniversary of director Randal Kleiser’s theatrical debut of Grease — starring John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John and Stockard Channing (and the rest of the T-Birds and Pink Ladies) — with a new 4K restoration from the original negative on Apr. 24 with the release of DVD, Blu-ray/DVD DigiBook Combo Pack and 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo Pack editions.
The Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD SKUs come with all sorts of bonus goodies, which includes the vintage commentary by director Randal Kleiser and choreographer Patricia Birch, the “Rydell Sing-Along” feature and all of our favorite behind the scenes and supporting featurettes (from previous editions … remember the one with the little leather jacket, that was cool).
Plus, there are new featurettes included with this 40th Anniversary promotion and an alternate ending (can’t wait for that). Grease is the word and Apr. 24 just can’t come soon enough!!!