How Christopher Nolan's Crusade to Save Film Is Working

Christopher Nolan Horizontal - H 2014
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Christopher Nolan Horizontal - H 2014

Paramount and Warner Bros. announced Wednesday that theaters still equipped to play film will get Nolan's 'Interstellar' two days early as a special treat

Christopher Nolan's campaign to save film from becoming an extinct format is paying off, thanks to his sway with Hollywood studios.

On Wednesday, Paramount and Warner Bros. said that approximately 240 theaters in 77 markets that are still equipped to project 35mm and 70mm film will get Nolan's Interstellar two days early, on Nov. 5, including 41 Imax locations. Some cinemas are even bringing in film projectors to play the space epic, including TCL's Chinese Imax theater in Los Angeles.

The move is a symbolic victory for Nolan and other filmmakers, including J.J. Abrams, who recently convinced Hollywood studios to keep troubled Kodak alive by paying for a certain amount of film processing. 

Read more New 'Interstellar' Trailer Reveals the Movie's Epic Mission

"We are taking a moment to acknowledge the huge heritage of film by opening the film two days early in theaters that can offer that format. Filmmakers like Chris and J.J. want to make sure that film is a part of the business going forward," Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore told The Hollywood Reporter.

As part of the initiative, Moore said Nolan is working with Google to create a community where consumers can explore what seeing a movie is like in various formats. It will be a component of Google's Interstellar homepage, which will launch shortly. "We hope this will help to engage moviegoers and improve information. We, and Chris, are big believers in seeing movies in theaters," Moore said.

Read more CinemaCon: Christopher Nolan Talks 'Interstellar,' Plugs Film Over Digital in Hollywood Reporter Q&A

If Kodak goes out of business, film all but ends. With the rise of digital imaging technologies, Kodak's film sales have plummeted by 96 percent over the past decade. The decline has accelerated in the last two years as most theaters have completed their conversion to digital and studios phase out film. Indeed, Paramount became the first major studio to largely phase out film earlier this year.

Nolan shot Interstellar using a combination of 35mm film and 65mm Imax film. The movie, starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain, opens everywhere Nov. 7.

Of those theaters getting Interstellar earlier, 189 locations will play 35mm prints, while 10 will play 70mm prints. The 41 Imax theaters will play enhanced 70mm prints.

Oct. 1, 4 p.m. Updated with information about Paramount's history with film distribution.