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If you’ve been waiting for Quentin Tarantino's new opus The Hateful Eight, you’ll need to wait a bit longer than previously anticipated. What’s more, if you’re not near a theater capable of showing in 70mm, you’ll need to wait even longer. The film, previously set for a November 2015 release, has been pushed back to Christmas Day, but in 70mm theaters only. The rest of us will have to wait until January 2016.
Our previous information was that we would all see Tarantino’s eighth film together on November 13 but now it looks like the new film is planning to join a very crowded Christmas season. We already knew that Tarantino’s post-Civil War epic, The Hateful Eight, was going to be a major release in the classic 70mm format, but The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that when the film comes out on Christmas Day that those will be the only theaters where you’ll be able to find it. The movie won’t see a nationwide digital release until January 8, 2016. While this will surely be a great experience for film buffs in major cities, most theaters don’t have the equipment required to show a 70mm film, meaning that many fans who might want to see the film during the holiday may be literally unable to do so. It’s possible some theaters may be outfitted with 70mm projectors in order to bring the movie to more places, but time will tell.
The delay in releasing film to mass audiences may be for a number of reasons. First, a limited release at the end of the year is standard for movies looking for Oscar consideration. While this is an unusual way to do that, it will certainly be noticed by the film purists in the Academy. Also, since the film was actually shot on 70mm film there's a conversion process that will need to happen to release the film in digital theaters. That will certainly take time. Tarantino isn’t the first director to drive theater chains up the wall by insisting on shooting on actual film. Christopher Nolan did the same thing when shooting Interstellar.
Prior to the advent of IMAX, 70mm was the way that epic films were often shot to make them stand out from standard movies. Both higher resolution, and capable of a larger images, movies like Ben-Hur were shot using the format. These days, almost anything can be created using digital film cameras, but Tarantino is a well-known opponent of digital film making. The earlier release of the film in 70mm is something of a Christmas gift to movie fans who feel the same way.
Hateful Eight is the story of a number of strangers including a bounty hunter played by Kurt Russell and his bounty, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh who take shelter together during a Wyoming blizzard. The film also stars Michael Madsen and Samuel L. Jackson (because of course it does).