The wait for Christopher Nolan’s eagerly anticipated science fiction epic just got slightly shorter, as Paramount and Warner Bros. announced today that the film will open on 240 screens across the United States and Canada, two days ahead of it’s nationwide bow of November 7th. An even richer get for cinephiles – the movie will be presented on film, premiering in both 70mm or 35mm formats, including 41 Imax screens.
Nolan is one of the biggest proponents of preserving film, which has become something of an antiquated format for modern distributors and exhibitioners who have converted almost solely to digital in recent years. Nolan however is a rare breed among modern filmmakers and thus is granted a status few others are afforded (two tremendously successful Dark Knight pictures as well as the original 2010 blockbuster Inception can have that effect on the industry). As a film purist, Nolan is among the most vocal of current filmmakers seeking to save the format from extinction. He, along with filmmakers including Quentin Tarantino, J.J. Abrams, Judd Apatow, and many others, successfully banded together last summer to find common ground between Kodak and movie distributors so the company could continue to manufacture film stock.
Yet however much Nolan (and Tarantino for that matter, who took over as programer of Los Angeles’ famed New Beverly and promptly threw out the digital projector that lay inside) rallies for the preservation of film, the economics and pure conveniences of digital projection may have already decided the war. At the very least, film lovers can be thankful for directors like Nolan who have the clout to make these types of releases possible. Nolan shot Interstellar with a mix of 35mm anamorphic and 65mm Imax film stocks, which – technicalities aside – arguably still provides a crisper and brighter image than can be seen on digital. The last film to be shown in commercial theaters in 70mm was Paul Thomas Anderson’s Oscar-nominated 2012 drama The Master.
“Chris is someone who shoots on film, is a huge fan of film and cares a lot about the presentation of his films,” said Rob Moore, vice chairman of Paramount Pictures. “A lot of people put a lot of energy into making sure that film continues to be a part of the future of the business. We wanted to take a moment to honor it and its storied history. Now people have so many entertainment options, they need to educate themselves to figure out what they care most about,” said Moore. “We want to make sure the information they need is easily available when they’re making their ticket purchases.”
Nolan not only directed but also co-wrote Interstellar with brother Jonathan Nolan (The Dark Knight Rises). The film features many regular Nolan mainstays behind the scenes including composer Hans Zimmer, production designer Nathan Crowley, and editor Lee Smith. Nolan’s regular cinematographer Wally Pfister (who won an Oscar for lensing Inception) didn’t return on Interstellar, as he was making his directorial debut with last spring’s Transcendence (which, incidentally, was also shot on film). In his place, Hoyte Van Hoytema (Her, The Fighter) took over the reins of D.P. duty. Interstellar stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Ellen Burstyn, John Lithgow, and Michael Caine. The film will open in select locations on November 5th and goes wide on November 7th.