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Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight road show sold a strong $4.6 million worth of tickets over the Christmas holiday weekend, showing that moviegoers were game to see the film in its 70mm Ultra Panavision version. But along the way, there were glitches at some theaters, including failing projectors, out-of-focus images and sound sync issues.
In order to show the 200-plus pounds of film, old projectors were refurbished and retrofitted into modern theaters, while experienced projectionists were hired to operate the equipment and maintain standards. Released by The Weinstein Co., the 70mm version of The Hateful Eight is a slightly longer version that includes both an overture and a 12-minute intermission. When some sites ran into problems, audience members took to Twitter to voice their displeasure.
“Those tweets don’t give an accurate picture of how well the roadshow 70mm showings have gone. They represent issues that were rare and far between. And when those select occurrences happened, the projectionists immediately fixed the issue or switched to the DCP print, so moviegoers all still got to see Quentin’s incredible film,” responded Erik Lomis, TWC president, theatrical distribution.
A number of theater managers contacted by The Hollywood Reporter stated that screening went off smoothly once the kinks were worked out, saying that there were no notable issues with the projectors in their 70mm screenings. And many tweets from moviegoers who saw the film where it was projected without problems were highly favorable.
Ryan Oestreich, the manager of The Music Box in Chicago, said that his theater had no problems during its Hateful Eight screenings and that his print of the film “looks just as good as the first time that we threw it up.” That being said, Music Box has had two 70mm projectors in-house since 2001 and also boasts an experienced team of projectionist who have run reel-to-reel prints of classics like Lawrence of Arabia and 2001: A Space Odyssey. “[The projectionists] have been doing this for so long they are just happy they get a new film to project,” he said.
But speaking of theaters that had just installed the equipment, Oestreich continued, “However much training these guys got, they were just kind of thrown in and were told, ‘Hey run this thing that we just installed that should work really well and hopefully you won’t have an problems.’ I hope that they are all hanging in there and I am glad that they are working hard to show it on film.”
When asked if he had any advice for theaters that are less experienced with 70mm projections, Oestreich said, “Double check all of your loops and your sprockets and make sure that you are not damaging that print because it will ruin the experience for everybody.” The Music Box plans to run the 70mm print of The Hateful Eight for as long as it is available.
@ZachWWMovies in Intermission now… Their 70mm projector broke so they are showing it in digital. 🙁
— Brian O’Neill (@oneillbp311) December 26, 2015
#HatefulEight screening switched from 70mm to DCP after intermission to fix a focus problem. Guess what? The DCP still looked inferior.
— William Bibbiani (@WilliamBibbiani) December 3, 2015
Went to see Hateful Eight in 70mm and got a free movie voucher because they didn’t have a power supply for the 70mm projector. Cooool
— Danny Szeto (@gatr) December 25, 2015
70mm Screening of the Hateful 8 spoiled by atrocious projection. Entire first half severely out of focus. What a shame.
— Cameron Stewart (@cameronMstewart) December 26, 2015
Surprised that Milwaukee is showing #TheHatefulEight in 70mm! Not surprised it took a half hour to figure out how a projector works…
— Kyle R. Smith (@krsmith_filmart) December 25, 2015
Best part of the broken 70MM projector/Hateful 8 print at King of Prussia? The snide theater manager “This is why we don’t do film.”
— Dissecting The 80s (@Dissectamania) December 26, 2015
I saw HATEFUL EIGHT at the big, beautiful art deco main theater at AFI Silver, and what stood out is how much of a *show* it is. An event.
— Peter Suderman (@petersuderman) December 27, 2015
we went and saw Hateful Eight on 70mm today and best i could tell the difference between that and regular film is the tickets are 3x as much
— Shea Serrano (@SheaSerrano) December 28, 2015
Heard The Park screened THE HATEFUL EIGHT in digital last night. Relieved to report that my 6PM screening tonight was flawless 70mm
— Zack Mosley (@zackjmosley) December 27, 2015
If you love film – the format and physical thing – go see the HATEFUL EIGHT roadshow in 70mm Ultra Panavision. It’s an amazing experience.
— Peter Suderman (@petersuderman) December 27, 2015
Just saw The Hateful Eight 70mm roadshow. I hope we can continue to find more ways to mak movies, big or small, more of an event experience.
— Peter Sciretta (@slashfilm) December 28, 2015
In line for HATEFUL EIGHT in 70MM. Kids think it’s for Star Wars again, but this might be their last chance to experience true cinema, so.
— Larry Wright (@refocusedmedia) December 29, 2015
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