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Historic Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign to host eight screenings of “2001: A Space Odyssey” from a new 70mm print made directly from the famed 1968 film’s original negative.

Outside of Chicago’s Music Box Theater, the Virginia will be the only Illinois theater currently exhibiting the film in its 70mm widescreen format.

Full Aperture Systems – the Chicago firm responsible for screening the Ebertfest Film Festival for the past twenty years, will be handling the projection of this rare 70mm print.

Champaign, IL – The Champaign Park District has announced a special run of 70mm screenings of the 1968 film “2001: A Space Odyssey”, at the Virginia Theatre, 203 West Park Avenue, Champaign. The film will be shown Monday through Saturday, August 20 through 25, at 7:00 P.M., with matinees at 1:00 P.M. on Saturday and Sunday, August 25 and 26. Doors open one hour before show time. $8 tickets are available at the Virginia box office, online at thevirginia.org, or charge by phone at 217-356-9063. This event is part of the Virginia Theatre’s 2018-2019 performing arts season and is presented by the Champaign Park District. The Virginia Theatre’s season sponsors are The News-Gazette, WILL-Illinois Public Media, and WCIA-TV.

Critics like Roger Ebert, directors such as Spielberg and Lucas, along with countless film societies and guilds worldwide have called “2001: A Space Odyssey” one of the greatest films of the 20th century. In this 2-hour, 41-minute cinematic masterpiece, the American director Stanley  Kubrick  redefined  the  limits  of  science fiction movies and  cemented  his  legacy  as  one  of  the  most  revolutionary  and  influential  filmmakers of  all  time.  Originally  released  on  April  4,  1968,  the  epic film  ignited  the  imaginations  of  critics  and  audiences  alike,  and  its  impact  continues  to  resonate  to  this  day. 

Celebrating  the  50th  anniversary  of  a seminal  movie,  Warner  Brothers Pictures has released a special 70mm print for a limited run in select theatres nationwide. In a true  photochemical  film  re-creation,  this new print was struck  from the  original  camera  negative, with no digital tricks, remastered effects, or revisionist edits added. Christopher  Nolan,  a  longtime  admirer  of  the  late  American  auteur,  worked  closely  with  the  team  at  Warner  to oversee the process. The eight showings to be hosted on the Virginia’s 52-foot movie screen August 20 through 26 will be the closest to what audiences experienced at the film’s original wide-screen exhibition more than a generation ago.

“‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ is one of the greatest and most radical cinematic experiences of all time.  I consider it a great privilege to be involved in offering that experience to a new generation of moviegoers in its original analogue glory.”
– Christopher Nolan

“2001: A Space Odyssey” connections to Ebertfest, Champaign-Urbana & the U of I
“2001” and Champaign-Urbana are connected in some unique ways. Famously, the film’s antagonist, HAL 9000 (a sentient artificial intelligence computer), claims its origin to be Urbana, Illinois. In a notable scene, the defiant, malfunctioning HAL explains ”I became operational at the H.A.L. Plant in Urbana, Illinois, on the 12th of January, 1992.”

The return of “2001” to the Virginia Theatre carries an additional layer of meaning for fans of the Roger Ebert Film Festival. The origin of the first Ebertfest grew out of request from then Sun Times film critic Roger Ebert. In 1997, as a belated “birthday celebration” for HAL, Mr. Ebert arranged a 70mm screening of the movie at the Virginia.  He enjoyed the experience so much that the following spring saw the start of his namesake film festival, now in its 21st year.