Tarantino v. Disney: Battle for the Dome
Teach /Moryc Welt /GG /FAMEFLYNET PICTURES
There was never any question that New New Star Wars will dominate the December/holiday box office. It opens tonight, and it’s going to break a lot of records. But there was one space—literally ONE—that was maybe supposed to be reserved for someone else on Christmas Day: The exclusive Cinerama Dome at Arclight Hollywood, which, according to Quentin Tarantino, was supposed to run The Hateful Eight beginning on December 25. But now Tarantino is saying that Disney is muscling The Hateful Eight out of its engagement in the Dome.
Why the fuss for one theater? Well, the Cinerama Dome is kind of special—it’s the only three remaining theaters like it in the world, a literal dome with a huge curved screen that’s especially suitable for large-format films, such as The Hateful Eight, which was shot on 70mm film stock using Ultra Panavision cameras. Seen in its proper, Ultra Panavision format, The Hateful Eight is a very wide screen experience, which will look GREAT on a screen such as the Dome’s. And Tarantino feels so strongly about this format that he includes the Cinerama logo in the opening credits of The Hateful Eight.
New New Star Wars is opening in the Dome today, and Tarantino claims the plan was for the theater to shift it over to The Hateful Eight when it opens on December 25. But he told Howard Stern that Disney is strong-arming Arclight Theaters to keep Star Wars in the Dome, thus pushing out Eight. There’s only the one screen, so they can’t run both movies in the Dome at once. Theoretically, they could alternate between the two movies, but exhibition deals for special screens like the Dome are usually exclusive, and it sounds like it’s either all or nothing for both Disney and Tarantino.
Disney hasn’t commented directly, but Deadline offers up some sources who claim that Disney booked the Dome months ago, and that Star Wars tickets for the holiday weekend have been available all along, which would suggest that indeed, Disney did book the theater for more than just their opening week. Whatever the original agreement was, Tarantino is probably not going to win this one. Arclight invested in a very expensive, very elaborate digital 3D system for the Dome just to screen The Force Awakens. I don’t think they’ll kick it out after a one-week engagement after laying out that kind of money to screen one movie. But I do hope that The Hateful Eight gets to play there eventually. I’ve seen the Ultra Panavision cut of the film and it’s GLORIOUS. It would be spectacular in the Dome. You know, once Disney’s done with it.
You can hear Tarantino talk about the conflict here.
Attached: Tarantino and his girlfriend Courtney Hoffman in New York for the NY premiere of The Hateful Eight the other night.