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TRON...Happy 25th!


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#1 Michael Coate

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Posted 09 July 2007 - 03:09 AM

"It all happens inside a computer."

On July 9, 1982, twenty-five years ago today, Walt Disney's "Tron" was released on 1,091 theatre screens in the United States and Canada. The groundbreaking film, starring Jeff Bridges and directed by Steven Lisberger, cost nearly $20 million to produce (a huge sum in its day) and grossed, according to most accounts, a mere $30 million domestically.

A visual and aural delight, "Tron" was nominated for two Academy Awards: Sound and Costume Design. But, more amazing than the film's amazing visual effects is trying to figure out why the film was not nominated for a Visual Effects Oscar!

Of note to the film's history is that it was photographed in Super Panavision 70, reviving the process that had been popular with the 1960s roadshows but had been dormant for a decade. But despite the large-format origination, Disney struck only about 40 high-quality 70-millimeter prints for domestic distribution. A list of the venues in which the 70mm version was booked is provided below, and what some may find a surprise is the number of theatres in major markets denied an opportunity to showcase "Tron" in the best presentation manner available at the time. (Some theatres in cities absent from the list of initial 70mm bookings did, however, screen a 70mm print in the fall of '82 or spring of '83 when Disney re-issued the film with the hope it might find an audience during a less-crowded moviegoing season.)

So...is "Tron" a good movie? After 25 years I still can't decide! But one thing is certain: the film was ahead of its time due to the innovative use of computer graphics, and its influence can be observed in countless movies, television programs and video games. I think anyone working in the film, computer and video-game industries owes a debt of gratitude to "Tron" and its talented production crew.

Anyone have any "Tron" memories they care to share?

Me? As a 13 year-old, I saw "Tron" in July or August of '82 at the Barstow Twin in Barstow, California. What I remember most was: (1) being confused by the character names and computer terminology, (2) thinking the movie was not as good as the video game, (3) seeing the trailer for the soon-to-open EPCOT Center and wondering why Florida instead of California would get such a thing, and (4) on the way out of the theatre, enthusiastically spotting the one-sheet for that summer's re-issue of "Star Wars" which included a banner in the corner of the poster promising the first glimpse of footage, in the form of a coming attractions trailer, for the next "Star Wars" movie due for release the following year. I would see "Star Wars" several (more) times during that re-issue, and "Tron" was quickly forgotten.

Over the years, though, thanks to the fantastic Special Edition LaserDisc and subsequent DVD, and the 70mm print that surfaced in 1999 and made the rounds, I?ve come to appreciate "Tron" and think it deserves some recognition on this, the 25th anniversary of its release.

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A supplement to this reminiscence, for the film-history and technology enthusiasts: a list of the original, first-run 70mm Six-Track Dolby Stereo engagements of "Tron."

Baltimore, MD: Westview
Bloomingdale, IL: Stratford Square
Calgary, AB: Chinook
Cedar Grove, NJ: Cinema 23
Chicago, IL: McClurg Court
Chicago Ridge, IL: Chicago Ridge Mall
Edmonton, AB: Londonderry
El Cajon, CA: Parkway Plaza
Gretna, LA: Westside
Grosse Pointe Woods, MI: Woods
Hillside, IL: Hillside Square
Honolulu, HI: Royal
Las Vegas, NV: Cinedome
Livonia, MI: Terrace
Los Angeles, CA: Chinese
Los Angeles, CA: Village (opened July 16)
Milwaukee, WI: Spring Mall Triplex
Montclair, CA: Montclair
Montreal, QC: Claremont (July 23)
New York, NY: State 2
Northbrook, IL: Edens
Orange, CA: Cinedome
Paramus, NJ: Route 4 Sevenplex
Pittsburgh, PA: Warner
Portland, OR: Bagdad
Quebec City, QC: Canadien (July 22)
Reno, NV: Century
Sacramento, CA: Century
San Antonio, TX: Northwest
San Diego, CA: Glasshouse 6
San Diego, CA: La Jolla Village
San Jose, CA: Century 24
Southfield, MI: Northland
Springdale, OH: Tri-County
Toronto, ON: Hollywood
Tucson, AZ: El Con
Vancouver, BC: Denman Place
White Plains, NY: United Artists
Winnipeg, MB: Metropolitan (July 30)
Woodbury, NY: Cinema 150
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 09 July 2007 - 05:23 AM

Ah, Tron! A large part of the reason I'm here.

It may be fair to say that it has, er, influenced my subsequent work:

Posted Image

Imitation is, after all, the sincerest form of flattery.

Phil
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#3 Rupe Whiteman

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Posted 09 July 2007 - 12:22 PM

... A landmark film in some ways... surprised the Hollywood machine hasn't remade it yet (or have they?)... David Warner as the bad guy never really made it for me though...
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#4 Marc Alucard

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Posted 09 July 2007 - 12:45 PM

I Watched Tron on the day it opened and then watched Blade Runner back to back on a rainy day. Yes I paid for both films. LOL
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#5 Jason Debus

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 04:41 PM

There's a 70mm print being shown this weekend at the Aero in Santa Monica. Writer/director Steve Lisberger, as well as visual effects supervisors Harrison Ellenshaw and Richard Taylor are scheduled to speak afterwards.

click here for details
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#6 Michael Nash

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 05:09 PM

I remember being first in line to see it when it opened at my local multiplex...
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#7 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 02:01 PM

I remember being first in line to see it when it opened at my local multiplex...


That was the last movie I saw on a real original Cinerama® screen.
Not that it actually was in Cinerama®, but the motorcycle chase worked well on the big curved screen.

I saw a 35mm scope print of 'Conan the Barbarian' at the same theatre, the anamorphic projection lens was strained to the limits at the screen edges.
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#8 David Venhaus

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 12:28 AM

Tron is a unique film, nothing else quite like it. As far as I know, no else has made another feature film using the same backlight animation technique with live-action. As a kid, I saw it as double feature with "Firefox" with Clint Eastwood. There was talk in the last few years of making a sequel, but I don't know what happened with that.
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#9 Jason Debus

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 06:30 PM

Not sure what to think about this other than why doesn't it look 'cooler'?:

http://www.flynnlive.../0xendgame.aspx
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#10 John Young

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 08:11 PM

Not sure what to think about this other than why doesn't it look 'cooler'?:

http://www.flynnlive.../0xendgame.aspx



What ARE you talking about? That footage looks AMAZING! I only hope I can create footage as good looking as that.
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#11 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 02:01 AM

Anyone see this early script review for Tron 2?

http://www.cincity20...p...iew&id=1848

Trailer here:
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#12 Karel Bata

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 08:29 AM

As far as I know, no one else has made another feature film using the same backlight animation technique with live-action.


Er.. Superman?

Posted Image

<_<

Here's a neat graphic...

Posted Image
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#13 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 01:26 PM

When I was a kid, in the still early days of cable, we had the Disney Channel. I remember watching it on TV then, and taping it with the VCR, a tape I probably watched over 100 times. Love it, and still do, even if it doesn't hold up as well nowadays. But I was super stoked when the test/teaser trailer came out for 2.0. Hopefully it'll happen.
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