Why Movie Theater Owners Are Pissed Off At Christopher Nolan

If there is one word that can describe the pre-release buzz for Interstellar's impending release, it has to be "trailblazing." With Christopher Nolan's recent push to shoot and release the film on the medium that the mode of entertainment takes its name from, we've seen everything from an early release window for all celluloid versions to handy charts popping up all over the internet to describe just which version of the film you should see. Of course, much like his crime fighting triumvirate in The Dark Knight, the man who is dead set on preserving the magic of cinema has made some powerful enemies.

Those enemies, according toThe Hollywood Reporter, are none other than the theatrical exhibitors that have already had enough of a growing pain converting all of their film projection rooms to strictly digital operations. Out of the crowd of upset business owners in the theatrical world, two in particular have stepped forward and voiced unfavorable opinions about the fact that Interstellar will be available in 35mm, 70mm, and IMAX 70mm, as well as 4K Digital and Digital IMAX.

Those two people are Byron Berkley (CEO and President of Foothills Cinemas) and Joe Paletta (CEO and founder of Spotlight Theaters.) Both men are from similar backgrounds as theatrical entrepreneurs operating limited theatrical chains in the south. As such, the fact that Interstellar is going to be offered on film is something that looks to disturb their current all-digital business model, as they would have to bring in special projectors and projectionists in order to show the film the way that Christopher Nolan intended it to be seen.

However, it's Byron Berkley's remarks that are most telling when it comes to the mindset of those theater owners who've spent the time and money to jump forward into the ever growing digital scene. He said:

It makes no sense to step back in time."

Looking at this issue through the perspective of theatrical exhibitors, it's hard not to feel sympathy as the digital conversion has been a huge issue with smaller theatrical companies struggling financially to keep up with the ever increasing march towards digital totality.

And yet, at the same time, the Interstellar model of release is something that should be capitalized on by those who are having a rough go at bringing themselves into the digital forefront. People are undoubtedly going to be drawn to celluloid exhibitions of this film, and as such these types of theaters could bring in massive amounts of money by showing a 35mm or 70mm print of the film on hardware they more than likely already have. While it may cost a little more in some cases to show Interstellar on the film it was made to be printed on, it's a novelty from a filmmaker that knows how to draw a crowd. If you're a theatrical exhibitor and you've got the equipment to show Interstellar in both digital and celluloid versions, then there's gold in those hills come this November.

Interstellar comes to select theaters on November 5th in 35mm, 70mm, IMAX 70MM, as well as 4K Digital and IMAX Digital. It releases everywhere on November 7th.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.