Quentin Tarantino’s anticipated new western, The Hateful Eight, will premiere this Christmas, only in 70mm film, ahead of its digital theatrical release (Jan. 8). The Civil War-era period piece, which was shot on a rare form of the 70mm film format called Ultra Panavision 70 — which results in a very wide image — will be shown at 50 theaters worldwide in the analog format.
It’s a bold, yet unsurprising move for Tarantino, one of the film industry’s biggest opponents of digital filmmaking. Yet, when you’re Quentin Tarantino, the theaters conform to you, not the other way around. To project the film in 70mm, The Hollywood Reporter has reported that plans to equip select theaters with expensive vintage anamorphic film projectors are underway.
It’s a lot of work on Tarantino’s part as well, but he’s well aware that films shot in 70mm film simply look better than those in 35mm. With 70mm, the film itself is bigger: the frames are the same height as 35mm, but are almost twice as wide. That means that when the image is projected through a lens, it has to be blown up less than 35mm to fill a movie theater screen.
The release will mark the widest 70mm release the industry has seen in more than 20 years, according to the film’s distributor, The Weinstein Company. As a result, film equipment company Panavision was integral in making the project a success — the classic Ultra Panavision 70 lenses haven’t been used since 1966’s Khartoum. Panavision had to rework 19 of these lenses for the film’s production, and it’s thought that the company will assist in retrofitting theaters with the 70mm projectors necessary for playing The Hateful Eight on the silver screen.
“Our long relationship with Quentin Tarantino is one of the cornerstones of this company, said Weinstein Co. exec Erik Lomis in a statement. “So it’s incredibly special to us to be releasing his latest film in such a spectacular way on 70mm — we can’t think of a finer Christmas gift to be giving movie lovers and Tarantino fans this year.”
Details on which theaters will play The Hateful Eight in 70mm are still unconfirmed. The film, which follows eight travelers caught in a Wyoming snowstorm at a stagecoach stopover, features Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Demian Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and Bruce Dern.