With the release of The Hateful Eight‘s 70mm roadshow only days away, the industry is talking about the benefit of the old-school, ultra wide format. Now it looks like Warner Bros. may be getting behind the revival. The studio is reportedly considering releasing Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice in 70mm.
Snyder shot a portion of the film in 65mm which would bring those scenes in their original format to non-IMAX screens. A feature in The Hollywood Reporter highlights the work involved in bringing the 70mm version of Quentin Tarantino’s (Django Unchained) film to theaters that were mostly unequipped to properly showcase the format. The Weinstein Company helped 100 theaters in the country acquire the equipment to show the movie. Now that these theaters have the necessary projectors and screens, it leaves room for other studios to capitalize.
The 70mm format used to be a mainstay for films with an epic scale like westerns, musicals and historical pieces. The format was used as a way to draw in audiences to the theater as more and more homes bought their first televisions – similar to 3D today. Notable 70mm films include 2001: A Space Odyssey, My Fair Lady and Tron. Most recently, The Weinstein Company released The Master in the format. The main difference between The Hateful Eight and The Master release is that the ultra-wide version of Tarantino’s films will be shown in non-specialty theaters. There are also rumors that studios are planning special re-releases of Lawrence of Arabia and Ben-Hur in the format.
Of course this is all a rumor right now as releasing the more 65mm prints of the film will be more expensive for Warner Bros. as well as a bit of a time crunch since the film releases March 25, 2016. The other downside for studios and theaters is that they will have to train projectionists to show exhibit the format which are growing more rare as many theaters have made the transition to digital projection. Warner Bros. will likely be keeping an eye on the returns for the special version of The Hateful Eight before deciding if they want to commit to the format for their superhero epic.
We’ll have more on this development as it becomes available.