Christopher Nolan’s INTERSTELLAR to Receive Exemption from Paramount’s Digital Mandate

     January 28, 2014

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Last week, Paramount Pictures announced that starting with The Wolf of Wall Street, all of its films would now be released to theaters in an entirely digital format.  It was essentially another nail in the coffin of film projection, but today Paramount has had to backtrack a bit on its new mandate thanks to one very powerful filmmaker: Christopher Nolan.  Paramount likely realized that trying to convince the film-friendly director to distribute his latest picture on a digital card instead of on film was an impossible task, and so they have confirmed that in the case of Nolan’s upcoming sci-fi pic Interstellar, they will be making an exception.  Hit the jump to read on.

christopher-nolan-interstellarEarlier today, Paramount Pictures vice chairman Rob Moore added a caveat to the studio’s mandate (via LA Times), saying, “Although we anticipate the majority of the studio’s future releases to be executed in digital formats across the U.S., select exceptions will be made.”  The studio went on to confirm that Interstellar will indeed be one such exception.  This isn’t an altogether surprising move, as Nolan is an avid proponent of film projection and personally worked to convert a number of IMAX theaters across the U.S. from digital to film projection in order to display The Dark Knight Rises to his preferred specifications.  Interstellar is again being filmed using IMAX cameras, so expect the same presentation to follow later this year when the pic opens on November 7th.

Though Nolan’s passion is in the right place, I’d argue that DCP projection has its merits.  Filmmakers like Nolan are seeing their movies projected on film pristinely in finely tuned settings in Los Angeles, but many theaters in other parts of the country suffer from a lack of consistency when it comes to theater presentation.  Film projectors require more attention from theater owners, and it’s unfortunately common to see dimly lit or out of focus presentations in this format.  With DCP, there’s at least a greater consistency when it comes to the quality of the projection.

For those unfamiliar with the pic, Interstellar revolves around a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole “to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.”  As with all Christopher Nolan films, further information is shrouded in secrecy, but Matthew McConaughey leads a fantastic cast that includes Anne HathawayJessica ChastainCasey AffleckMichael Caine, David OyelowoWes BentleyJohn LithgowEllen BurstynTopher GraceDavid GyasiMackenzie FoyBill IrwinTimothée Chalamet, and Matt Damon. If you missed the film’s first teaser trailer, click here.

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