Christmas comes early today, folks. The Weinstein Company announced (via THR) that writer/director Quentin Tarantino’s Western The Hateful Eight will be released in theaters on December 25th (the same date as Django Unchained) exclusively in 70mm, followed by a nationwide (ie. digital) release on January 8th. The film is much more contained than Tarantino’s recent films, as it takes place a few years after the Civil War and revolves around a group of traveling strangers who are forced to take refuge together at a bar when a snowstorm hits the Wyoming landscape.
This release strategy is similar to how Christopher Nolan unveiled Interstellar, which opened in 35mm and IMAX film-projected theaters early, followed by a digital release later. Tarantino shot The Hateful Eight on 65mm film and always intended for the movie to have the widest 70mm projection release in decades, so this release fits with his passion as he “rewards” theaters with film projectors by giving them the movie early. While 70mm projectors are rare these days, Tarantino is personally retrofitting 50 theaters to correctly project his movie, and a snapshot of how it looks on the screen makes me yearn to be able to see the film in this format.
The Hateful Eight is sure to be special, as it not only boast an incredible (and varied) ensemble—Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Madsen, Tim Roth, Walton Goggins, Bruce Dern, Demian Bichir, and Channing Tatum—but Tarantino shot the interior scenes on a refrigerated set to keep the actors in character. Christmas cannot come soon enough.