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Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

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Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

Old 03-06-17, 10:15 PM
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Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

I remember these used to be quite popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s but they seem to have disappeared in the last twenty-odd years.

Do any cities still have them?

For those that don't remember, a movie studio would advertise and release a one-time-only showing of a film usually a week before its release date, pairing it up with another feature from the same studio as a double bill.

I recall seeing a sneak preview for the Billy Crystal/Gregory Hinds film "Running Scared" being previewed with Poltergeist II in 1986. I also saw "Die Hard" a week before its release when it was paired with "big" in 1988, "The Lost Boys" with "The Witches of Eastwick" in 1987. "Father of the Bride" was paired with "Beauty and the Beast" in 1991, which was the last one I recall going to.

These weren't to be confused with special advanced screenings sponsored by TV and radio stations by invitation-only. These were open to the general movie-going public as "Major Studio Sneak Previews".

They were a great deal because you would get to see a first-run film with an upcoming release for one admission price. They would often hand-out promotional trinkets like keychains or in the case of "The Lost Boys", they handed out the original one-sheet movie poster.

Last edited by orangerunner; 03-07-17 at 08:52 PM.
Old 03-06-17, 10:18 PM
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Re: Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

I don't remember double billings, but in the late 90s and early 2000s I could go see a movie 2 weeks prior. The one that came to mind was Proof of Life.
Old 03-06-17, 10:26 PM
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Re: Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

Last double bill I saw was in the summer of 1997 I saw Air Force One and Men in Black. But neither were sneaks, it was just some kind of Sony promo.
Old 03-06-17, 10:30 PM
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Re: Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

I think I went to 2 of these in my life. One was a double bill with Gladiator (the one with Cuba Gooding) and something else. Another had Radio Flyer and something. I wish I could remember the others I saw with them...
Old 03-06-17, 10:41 PM
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Re: Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

I used to go to these all the time. Then I got to do reviews for a local paper for awhile and went to the press screenings. I didn't notice the sneak previews tied to another flick had slipped away until I stopped doing the reviews. They still do free previews though so sneak previews aren't dead.
Old 03-07-17, 05:49 AM
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Re: Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

I don't know about double feature sneak previews but movies where good word of mouth was anticipated would sometimes have public national preview screenings a week or two ahead of time. The last one I recall attending was We Bought a Zoo. The box office grosses would be added to whichever film the studio was giving up the screenings for and could even give that title a slight boost. My guess is that those horrible gofobo screenings have essentially replaced these.

In the Netherlands (don't know about rest of Europe) sneak previews are still very common but they're done as mystery sneaks where you don't know what movie it will be until it starts.
Old 03-07-17, 06:15 AM
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Re: Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

I remember sneak previews being common in the 1960s and 70s. On one memorable night in August 1969, I tried to see THE SOUND OF MUSIC but was turned away because they were showing a sneak preview of DADDY'S GONE-A-HUNTING, which was rated M (for Mature Audiences). I was 16. So I went up the block to another theater (the Loew's Paradise--a famous movie palace) to see GOODBYE COLUMBUS, which was rated R and I got in easily. It was preceded by a sneak preview of the Italian western, ACE HIGH, with the once-in-a-lifetime cast of Eli Wallach, Terence Hill, Bud Spencer, Kevin McCarthy and Brock Peters. (Terence Hill plays a character named Cat Stevens.)

Both THE SOUND OF MUSIC and GOODBYE COLUMBUS were being shown as single features.

I remember when THUNDERBALL was shown as a sneak preview in 1971 with a double bill of Robert Altman's BREWSTER MCCLOUD and the documentary, AKA CASSIUS CLAY, even though THUNDERBALL was a re-release, making for a very odd triple feature.

In the first two cases, the movie being "sneaked" was advertised via posters on the theater walls, so you'd know ahead of time which film it was. In the case of THUNDERBALL, it was a complete (and pleasant) surprise.

Last edited by Ash Ketchum; 03-07-17 at 06:29 AM.
Old 03-07-17, 06:48 AM
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Re: Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

Last two I remember going to where X-Files: Fight the Future (they gave out shirts) and ID4. Wanted to walk out on that one but my buddy was into it...much like the rest of the country a week later.
Old 03-07-17, 09:12 AM
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Re: Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

I went to a bunch of these as a kid. I specifically remember Angels in the Outfield with The Lion King, Phenomenon with The Rock, Grosse Pointe Blank with The Sixth Man and Space Cowboys with The In-Crowd.
Old 03-07-17, 09:21 AM
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Re: Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

They have them out here all the time. There's a couple local weekly entertainment periodicals that will offer special screenings.

There's also www.gofobo.com that offers special advance screenings (depending on your location).
Old 03-07-17, 09:27 AM
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Re: Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

I get emails for them all the time over here.
Old 03-07-17, 10:28 AM
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Re: Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

All the time.
Old 03-07-17, 10:47 AM
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Re: Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

Originally Posted by sauce07
I went to a bunch of these as a kid. I specifically remember Angels in the Outfield with The Lion King...
I also saw this one. The only other one I remember like that which I went to was Mars Attacks with Space Jam.

I used to go to the gofobo screenings, but those are always overbooked, and at this period in my life, I can't be at the theater an hour or more in advance for a 7PM weekday showing. The last couple times I tried it I was turned away because I didn't get there early enough, so I don't do it anymore.
Old 03-07-17, 12:52 PM
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Re: Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

I've only been to two of them and they were at Century in the 80's. Back to the Future and Karate Kid.
Old 03-07-17, 01:27 PM
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Re: Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

Yeah, I'd get into critics screenings pretty often in D.C. In Boston, I recently saw La La Land about three weeks early.
Old 03-07-17, 02:55 PM
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Re: Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

My parents loved double features, so we went to these all the time back in the 80s. Here are some of the ones I can remember:



Children of a Lesser God with Top Gun

I was way too young for Children of a Lesser God, but since my aunt is deaf my parents thought it would be a good idea for me to see it. Top Gun was cool.



St. Elmos Fire with regular feature Rambo: First Blood Part 2.

Since St. Elmos Fire was rated R the theatre wouldn't let my parents take me in. I had hang around the arcade up the street for two hours until Rambo: First Blood Part 2 started. Oddly, Rambo was rated AA (the Ontario equivalent of PG-13). I'm still not sure what was so bad about St. Elmos Fire that it received the harshest rating.



Lost Boys with regular feature The Witches of Eastwick

The ad promised posters. There were no posters.



Harry and the Hendersons with regular feature The Secret of My Success



Vice Versa with regular feature Shoot to Kill
Old 03-07-17, 04:10 PM
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Re: Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

^Thanks for posting those ads! Especially "The Lost Boys" with the free poster promotion. Brings back great memories!

My dad recalls going to "Sneak Previews" back in the 1960s where they never disclosed the title of the film in advance. You really didn't know what you were going to see until the movie started.

Last edited by orangerunner; 03-07-17 at 08:46 PM.
Old 03-07-17, 04:11 PM
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Re: Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

I think the last one of those I projected was Heartbreakers, on the Saturday before its Friday opening. Those were always fun because then you'd have the print taking up space in the booth for a week. The last "stay and see" one I remember was for Father of the Bride, paired with Beauty and the Beast.
Old 03-07-17, 04:45 PM
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Re: Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

I remember seeing Space Jam paired with Mars Attacks. I'm forgetting which one was the sneak preview.
Old 03-07-17, 05:35 PM
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Re: Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

Originally Posted by majorjoe23
I remember seeing Space Jam paired with Mars Attacks. I'm forgetting which one was the sneak preview.
Most likely Mars Attacks! since it was released around Christmas time, after Space Jam was already playing.
Old 03-07-17, 06:55 PM
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Re: Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

I remember seeing A Time to Kill paired with Eraser in Summer of 1996, Time still had a week and a half before opening. In the 2K years they started a program in major cities of doing free screenings and listing places in local papers as to where you could get passes for admission. I worked at a college bookstore near University of Tennessee in Knoxville for a few years and got to see preview screenings of Big Fish, Rent, Underworld II, Sweeney Todd, Marie Antoinette and others. The national HQ of Regal cinemas is in Knoxville so they made sure they got their fair share. Most of the time it was just a couple of days before the movie opened.
Old 03-09-17, 06:33 AM
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Re: Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

There's a difference between a Sneak Preview and an advance screening. An advance screening is generally for press and sometimes tickets are given out via websites and other means for "average moviegoers."

A Sneak Preview, on the other hand, generally took place one or two weekends before the movie was released theatrically (almost always on a Saturday night) and INCLUDED a second movie, almost always from the same studio that was also in release.

They still have plenty of advance screenings. I can't remember the last Sneak Preview, but they were really bit in the late 80s/early 90s.
Old 03-09-17, 07:09 AM
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Re: Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

Ah okay yeah- in that case I've only been to one, for Rat Race, but there was no second movie. But I do remember Mars Attscks in the paper.
Old 03-24-17, 06:20 PM
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Re: Do Any Cities Still Have "Sneak Preview" Showings?

It's not a double feature as far as I know, but I just saw a commercial on TV that there is a nationwide sneak preview of the new Smurfs movie tomorrow at 4:30PM (it doesn't come out until April 7th).

Can't remember the last time I've seen one advertised before today.

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