"Close Encounters of the Third Kind" makes special demands upon the theaters playing it. Ideally, the movie should be presented in 70 mm magnetic prints with a Dolby "noise-reduction" sound system, which purifies the multiple tracks available on the larger gauge and intensifies the sound effects. At present none of the five area theaters scheduled to begin showing the movie today - the K-B Cinema in the District, K-B Cinema 7 at Bailey's Crossroads, the Marlow, New Carrollton and Springfield Mall - is equipped for the optimum presentation.

A Dolby system has been installed in the last few days at the K-B Cinema, which is not equipped for 70mm projection. According to the management, another Dolby system is on order for the Cinema 7, where 70mm equipment is available. At the other locations the film will also open in 35mm optical prints with the sound channeled through present stereo systems, but no switch to 70 mm at a later date will be possible.

Columbia will not lease a 70mm print without Dolby installation. Given a decent 35mm print and stereo speakers, the movie should not suffer - in fact, it survived both focus problems and monaural sound during a press preview in Washington - but its impact is bound to be enhanced by the most expansive projection and sound systems.