It sounds like the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice may have just gotten a little bit bigger. Warner Bros. is contemplating a 70mm release for the DC Comics blockbuster epic. The movie, which opens in March, was shot partially in 65mm Imax. And the studio hopes to use the projectors that are now in place in various theaters across the country thanks to director Quentin Tarantino. He helped oversee the installation of these projectors as part of his 70mm Roadshow for The Hateful Eight, which kicks off this Christmas.
There is great potential to utilize these now operational projectors, which haven't been in place for decades. The hope is to use them for future presentations of upcoming blockbuster movies that are using IMAX technology. There is also some speculation that the projectors will be used for the re-release of 70mm classics, which were shot specifically for the format, such as 1962's Lawrence of Arabia.
To insure that Quentin Tarantino could pull off his 70mm Roadshow presentation of The Hateful Eight, the director and The Weinstein Company began a coordinated operation that lasted 18 months and stretched from production, to distribution and carried on through to the exhibition of the revenge Western. The Roadshow format was very prominent in the 1950s, and lasted until the early 1970s. The movies were displayed in 2 acts, with an intermission. And that's the way The Hateful Eight is being screened starting Christmas Day. This version is actually slightly longer than the one that is hitting general audiences starting December 31.
TWC and Tarantino managed to equip 100 screens with 70mm projectors leading up to their Xmas day launch. And they have secured at least one projector in the top 44 markets. Quentin Tarantino and various members of his cast are even planning to make surprise appearances at some of these locations. As Warner Bros. decides whether or not to show off Dawn of Justice in this same format, it isn't known if the superhero epic will also be shown with exclusive footage and an intermission.
The Hateful Eight was shot in 65mm using the original Ultra Panavision 70 lenses that had been out of commission since the 1960s. Robert Richardson served as the cinematographer for the Western having won Oscars for such diverse hits as JFK, The Aviator and Hugo. He worked closely with Kodak, lab processors FotoKem and equipment provider Panavision to pull of this amazing feat. But getting the film shot was only half the challenge. Finding the vintage projectors proved to be a headache, and their restoration cost between $8 and $10 million. Some of the projectors came from private collections, while others came from theaters that had recently gone digital, and some from service companies that had been active when film was the goto format. Most of the projectors were in need of refurbishing. And the projectionists at the 100 screens needed special training to insure that this all came off without a hitch on opening night.
After such an intensive process, it makes sense that theaters would be eager to continue using the 70mm projectors. But it's unclear if any other studios are aboard the prospect of keeping these screenings going. While Warner Bros. admits that they are seriously considering presenting Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in this format, no other studio has agreed to follow suite. There have been rumors that Disney and LucasFilm may also screen Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in the 70mm format. But that is only speculation and rumor, with the studios not yet chiming in on whether or not this might actually be a possibility. What do you think? Would you pay a little extra to see Batman v Superman? Or is IMAX perfectly fine for your cinematic tastes?