It seems like the actual physical medium of film is a hot topic this week, what, with Christopher Nolan recently touting film's superiority over digital, and even praising filmmaker Quentin Tarantino for his work in creating a unique cinema experience with the Ultra Panavision 70mm release of "Hateful Eight."
While we expected a unique experience due to the size alone, based on a recent interview Tarantino had with Variety, it sounds like the differences between the 70mm cut of the film and the standard theatrical cut of the film will have more differences than just size.
“The [70mm] roadshow version has an overture and an intermission, and it will be three hours, two minutes. The [standard] multiplex version is about six minutes shorter, not counting the intermission time, which is about 12 minutes.”
Though there seem to be huge differences, Tarantino doesn't necessarily want folks to think that the theatrical version is a lesser, "left-handed version" of the 70mm one, but rather a cut that better suits the medium. In the eyes of the filmmaker, the presentation warrants a very different experience.
For example, in the 70mm version, Tarantino said there will be "big, long, cool, unblinking takes."
"I actually changed the cutting slightly for a couple of the multiplex scenes because it’s not [70mm]. Now it’s on Showtime Extreme. You’re watching it on TV and you just kind of want to watch a movie on your couch. Or you’re at Hot Dog on a Stick and you just want to catch a movie...
It was awesome in the bigness of 70, but sitting on your couch, maybe it’s not so awesome. So I cut it up a little bit. It’s a little less precious about itself.”
So maybe this was the kind of thing that Christopher Nolan was talking about when he mentioned that cinemas need to work to make the experience truly unique. With the 70mm version of "Hateful Eight" being a slightly different version of the film, hardcore fans will likely make the extra effort run to those theaters before the film closes out. Maybe they'll even spring for a second viewing in standard theaters to spot the difference.
While most theaters have all but phased out 35mm film projectors, Tarantino sees the possibility to bring back a unique experience with 70mm film.
“I didn’t realize what a lost cause 35mm projection was. But what I also didn’t know is how excited everyone was going to be about 70. I think everybody is looking to see how we do in that first two weeks. But that’s also kind of exciting. I’m hoping that ‘Hateful Eight’ does well enough that that becomes, for the filmmakers who care, the new premier way to launch their movie in an exclusive way.”
This seems like a natural progression of things. In an age of options, why wouldn't there be an option for a truly unique theater experience? Sure, some could argue that's what we have 3D movies for, but according to a New York Post article several months back, the gimmick seems to be dying. Last year, 27 percent of moviegoers went to a 3D movie--which is about half of the 52 percent of moviegoers who went in 2010.
Could the 70mm experience be another way for moviegoers to go? IMAX is still going strong, and many theaters are also opting for more luxurious experiences, so why not a 70mm film experience as well?
More options always excites me, so I'd be interested to see if a trend of this sort would catch on. How do you feel about Tarantino cutting the film differently for the 70mm presentation? Could this be a new, cool way for filmmakers to launch their films? Let us know your thoughts below!