To the delight of celluloid fans, Warner Bros.’ Ready Player One is getting a 70mm film release on 22 screens in North America — among them, Los Angeles’ The Landmark Theatre at the Westside Pavilion, Seattle’s Cinerama and various sites in New York.
The wide, high-resolution format — used to display classics like The Sound of Music, Ben Hur and Lawrence of Arabia — is a movie-buff favorite, but its use has been limited since the start of the digital cinema era.
Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi adventure is the latest in a recent revival of 70mm releases. In 2017, that included Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk — which was one of the largest 70mm releases in the last quarter century, playing in 70mm in 31 Imax and roughly 100 standard 70mm-equipped theater auditoriums — and Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express, which unspooled in 70mm on four screens in New York and Los Angeles, and also opened the Camerimage cinematography festival in Poland with a 70mm presentation.
In related news, film proponent Nolan will be heading to Cannes next month to introduce the world premiere of a new unrestored 70mm print of Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, marking the groundbreaking film’s 50th anniversary.
Set in 2045, Ready Player One takes place in a “real world” shot on film, and The Oasis, a CG virtual reality world where the lead actors appear as avatars of their characters. The Oasis was created using some of the latest “virtual production” techniques, with the CG work incorporating techniques used in live-action production.
The movie was lensed by Spielberg’s longtime collaborator, two-time Oscar-winner Janusz Kaminski. For the filmed scenes, Kaminski used Kodak 250D and 500T 35mm stocks. Panavision provided the film cameras and lenses, including customized C series close-focus anamorphic lenses. Kaminski also used Panavision E series, C series, T series anamorphic zooms, Primo close focus and PVintage lenses.
Fotokem provided a 65mm film out negative from the DI (digital intermediate) files, and 70mm release prints. “We’re thrilled to have worked with Amblin and Warner Bros to translate Steven Spielberg’s masterful interpretation of Ready Player One and its vision of the future, onto beautiful, analog 70mm film,” said Andrew Oran, vp sales and operations, large format and restoration, at FotoKem.
Industrial Light & Magic was the lead visual effects studio.