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Any hopes that The Hateful Eight would offer a decent challenge to Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the top of the U.K. box office when it opens Friday have taken a significant knock following news that a trio of major cinema chains won’t be screening the film.
Cineworld, which is the second-largest exhibitor in the U.K. with more than 800 screens and also owns the Picturehouse chain that it operates independently, tweeted that it would not be showing the film in a “last minute decision.”
The local distributor, Entertainment Film, indicated that the move followed a squabble over where the U.K.’s sole special 70mm showing would be held in central London.
“Cineworld had made us aware that they were very unhappy that The Hateful Eight had been booked into the Odeon Leicester Square for an exclusive 70mm Ultra Panavision presentation, and specifically that they would therefore not be able to play the film at their Picturehouse Central venue,” an Entertainment Film spokesperson said. “Due to the special facilities required for the unique 70mm Ultra Panavision presentation, we needed the largest theater and screen possible in the West End, and the Odeon Leicester Square was the natural choice. The technical elements and costs involved with this special presentation meant that this would need to be the exclusive West End venue.”
Odeon’s Leicester Square theater, which is the home to many U.K. and European premieres, can seat 1,680, while the Picturehouse Central venue has a maximum capacity of 344.
The spokesperson added that Cineworld had “every opportunity to book the film in their other cinemas across the country on the same basis as other exhibitors and declined to do so,” claiming that there was no dispute over the financial terms.
Curzon, which has 10 theaters across the U.K., also announced that it would not be showing The Hateful Eight, blaming the distributor’s formatting decision.
“We love a Quentin Tarantino movie, but it is with great regret that we will not be showing The Hateful Eight from Friday 8 January,” it tweeted. “On this occasion, the distributor has chosen to screen the film only in 70mm in the West End and in selected venues nationwide.”
Beyond Odeon, Vue will be the other major exhibitor in Britain screening the film.
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