When it was first announced that Quentin Tarantino’s latest project The Hateful Eight would shoot on wide Ultra Panavision 70mm film, all I could imagine was seeing epic landscapes, tight profiles and tighter action that feels like it could swallow you up on the glorious screen of Arclight Hollywood’s Cinerama Dome. The Dome, as many fans affectionately call it, is not only a local cinema landmark, it’s also widely regarded by Tarantino and other film lovers.
The Dome, with its three projector screening format is made to screen 70mm film and is one of the very few theaters in the country left that does so. So, when I awoke this morning to news that Tarantino’s Hateful Eight would not be screening in The Dome, but rather a regular theater at the Arclight, it was a shock to say the least.
Tarantino pretty much created this film for this specific screen (he reportedly even included the Cinerama logo in the opening titles of The Hateful Eight) and according to him, Disney has blocked him out. In an interview with Howard Stern, Tarantino said “They are going out of their way to fuck me.”
At first seeming bothered by something he didn’t want to talk about (Tarantino? Right), Tarantino said, “It was real bad news and it fucking pissed me off.” He claims he had locked down the Cinerama Dome for Christmas Day screenings in his much bandied about 70mm “road show” screenings of The Hateful Eight. He then goes on to say that he only learned Monday (with the official announcements of the road show screenings) that Arclight decided instead to continue screening Star Wars: The Force Awakens after its initial week of release.
Now, sure this must sound like a no-brainer, screen the more popular, all ages, sure to be a box office juggernaut with people lining up to see it multiple times movie The Force Awakens over the R – rated, niche, blood soaked The Hateful Eight. But according to Tarantino, there definitely was a deal in place but the Arclight was forced by Disney to screen The Force Awakens at the Cinerama Dome through the holidays or chance losing the right to screen The Force Awakens in any Arclight theater.
““It’s vindictive, it’s mean, and it’s extortion,” Tarantino said in the interview. Stern in the pacifist role addressed an absent Disney CEO Bob Iger saying “They’ve got the stupid 70mm – they got all that shit that he cares about. He just wants to show his goddamn movie there. You’re sitting on top of the world. You’ve got Star Wars. What, do you need this?”
Even if Tarantino is wrong and is mouthing off his stress in the wrong way, that plea is right. Would the sales from the Cinerama Dome be the deciding factor of Star Wars topping Jurassic World’s record breaking opening or run?
I’m as big a Star Wars fan as any, but The Hateful Eight was literally made for the Cinerama Dome, again being the only L.A. theater capable of screening it without any distortion or crops. Star Wars being done correctly is something I’ve waited my entire life to see thanks to George Lucas’s past blunders of the prequels and special editions.
Even then I would rather see The Hateful Eight on that Dome screen, the way it was meant to be seen. I’d hate to think Disney or the Arclight villain in this situation, though as unlikely as it is, one just can’t help but feel like there is something afoot.