Unusual 70mm format disrupting screenings of new Tarantino film The Hateful Eight

The film projection style has affected screenings in several cinemas

Screening problems are reportedly plaguing Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, The Hateful Eight, since its release on Christmas Day in the USA – allegedly due to its unusual 70mm film format.

Set in Wyoming shortly after the Civil War, the film revolves around eight strangers seeking shelter at a stagecoach passover called Minnie’s Haberdashery during a blizzard, and stars Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russell, and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

The unusual screening style has forced some cinemas to retrofit hired equipment and bring on experienced projectionists to manage the reels of film, which reportedly weigh over 90kg in total. The Hateful Eight‘s 70mm screenings include a 12-minute intermission.

The film hits UK screens on January 8, but over in the US it has had viewers of the 70mm screenings complaining about problems with focus or sound. Some projections had to be switched over to DCP (Digital Cinema Package) because of the issues.

Responding to the complaints, the distribution chief of the Weinstein Company, Erik Lornis, told Variety, “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.

“Part of the risk and thrill of 70mm and celluloid film is honoring its imperfections and the history it brings with it. The box office numbers speak for themselves to how well audiences are responding to this film.”

Despite some cinemas having issues with the film, many fans tweeted positive reviews of the 70mm experience.

Earlier this year Tarantino said the reason he chose to create the film in 70mm was partially so that cinemas could not screen it digitally. “I thought if they shoot it in 70, then they’ll have to screen it in 70,” he said.

He recently took over management of the historic New Beverly cinema in Los Angeles and in line with his traditional cinematic standards, he removed the cinema’s digital projector in favour of screening prints of 35mm films.

The director said: “The big thing about what’s going to change now that I’m taking the theatre over is, from here on in the New Beverly is only showing film. That’s it. No digital. If something’s playing at the New Beverly, if we’re showing it, it’s on film.”

An advocate for the continued use of film, Tarantino has previously declared digital film projection represents “the death of cinema”. His supporters include Martin Scorsese and Judd Apatow.