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Everything old is new again. Last month Quentin Tarantino reminded us what classic film epics used to look like when he released his new movie The Hateful Eight in a special 70mm format. The roadshow was incredibly successful for its size and now it looks like other studios may have taken notice. A rumor that started last month that Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice may also be shown in 70mm now has some evidence to back it up.
The major difficulty with releasing films in 70mm previously has been that few studios had the functioning equipment to make it happen. However, since Quentin Tarantino and Miramax did the legwork to make sure that 70mm projectors ended up in 100 cities in North America, it’s now feasible for other movies to follow in their wake. A member of the message board on Film-Tech.com who lives in Minnesota says that Warner Brothers called him last week to "re confirm" that his theater had 70mm capability. While he doesn’t specifically say this was in reference to Dawn of Justice, as Warners probably didn’t say anyway, there’s certainly a possibility the question was for something else, but the new superhero movie is certainly the most likely choice.
Batman v. Superman on 70mm is a significantly different animal than The Hateful Eight was. Quentin Tarantino’s movie was shot on film in order to achieve the 70mm print. Dawn of Justice reportedly was shot digitally, and would have to be transferred to film. As some people on the message board point out, the digital effects often don’t transfer as well onto film, meaning the movie actually doesn’t look as good as it would in its native format.
70mm was the format used for epic films like Lawrence of Arabia back in their day. Today the superhero movie is our epic. In theory, seeing the two greatest comic book heroes ever battle it out on the biggest scale possible feels like something that you’d just have to see. In practice, however, it’s possible that the movie might lose something in the transition from digital to film.
Whether or not Warner Brothers decides to release Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice in this format, it’s clear that Quentin Tarantino has started conversations in movie studios across the country. We may very well start to see a resurgence of this format, which could result in it’s regular, if not widespread, use. Are you interested in seeing more movies in 70mm, or are there already too many choices when it comes to how to watch your movie?