When Quentin Tarantino put forth his plan to do a roadshow for The Hateful Eight, it looked like an interestingly novel idea. A 70mm presentation of the film, with an overture and an intermission just like the classic film epics of a bygone era. They even had ushers handing out programs. It sounded like just the sort of things that film geeks like us would be up for. Either there are a lot more film geeks out there than we thought, or the roadshow had a much broader appeal than we expected because the limited release of The Hateful Eight set records in several theaters.
In total, six different theaters had record box offices for both their opening weekend and their first full week of release. The Music Box in Chicago, for example, did over $100,000 in the movie's first weekend and nearly doubled that over the course of the first week. Other theaters that had record weeks include: the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz, in Austin, TX; the AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring, MD; Boston’s Coolidge Corner Theatre; the Somerville Theatre in Somerville, Mass.; and the Hollywood Theatre in Portland, Ore.
While none of the box office numbers from The Hollywood Reporter are necessarily the kind that will blow you away, most of these are specialty theaters that don’t run large numbers of movies or have an infinite number of screens. They don’t tend to run the biggest blockbusters so filling theaters can be unusual. The roadshow production of Hateful Eight was a unique animal. As a limited release feature, it was just the sort of film that these theaters are expected to show, but with the name of Quentin Tarantino attached, and the marketing behind the unique presentation, it brought people into the theater in large numbers.
As somebody who attended an early 70mm screening, I can tell you that I found myself at a theater in town that I’d only been to once before in my life, and was surprised to end up standing in a line that rivaled the one I stood in to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
It will be interesting to see if the success of The Hateful Eight here influences other movies to follow suit with similar presentations. These theaters would certainly love to see that sort of business more often, and while the $4.6 million that the film’s opening weekend brought in is not the kind of business that most studios would even notice, the per theater average was more than any other film that weekend.
Did you attend The Hateful Eight roadshow? What was your experience? Would you attend similar events in the future if you had the opportunity? Let us know in the comments below.