Quentin Tarantino stormed out of a meeting where it was suggested that The Hateful Eight should be screened on iPhones. The director is a hardcore cinephile, which just about everybody knows. Tarantino, along with Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and Christopher Nolan are big advocates for the moviegoing experience and what it offers to viewers. Nolan is currently fighting hard to have Tenet released into theaters next month, even though there's a strong chance that it will have to get pushed back. Releasing it on VOD is not an option at the moment.
In a new interview, CEO of NBCUniversal, Jeff Shell, talked about a meeting he had with Quentin Tarantino back when he was head of the Universal movie division where he suggested screening The Hateful Eight on iPhones. At the time, Tarantino was pitching the idea of releasing the movie on 70mm film, which would require a special projector to be used at only select theaters. Shell simply replied, "What if we released it on iPhones?"
Quentin Tarantino reportedly said, "great," in response to Jeff Shell's iPhone suggestion and then "stormed out of the meeting". The director has no time for jokes about his art after spending every waking moment up to that point trying to make a project the best that it can be. Tarantino eventually secured a deal with The Weinstein Company to distribute The Hateful Eight with some special limited 70mm screenings, which were praised by critics. Obviously now, one can easily watch a Tarantino movie on their iPhone or tablet, but that's not how he originally envisioned people enjoying his stuff.
Martin Scorsese ran into similar problems with The Irishman, which was released on Netflix. The iconic director had to fight for movie theater screenings as he did not want everybody's first experience to be watching the movie on an iPhone or tablet, arguing that the screens are too small. In defense of smartphone or tablet viewing, it may actually make the de-aging CGI used in The Irishman look a lot better, since it was a little less than stellar after being hyped up so much. Even people at home with their DeepFake software were able to create more convincing work made for an iPhone or a TV screen.
The future of movie theaters and the moviegoing experience is in limbo at the moment. Major theater chains have been closed down since the middle of March and are only now announcing plans to try and open up again. Instead of requiring masks, due to the world's current state of affairs, chains like Cinemark and AMC originally agreed to let people make their own choices, which put them right in the middle of a political debate, further dividing people on the issue. It's unclear if people will want to go back, even when theaters are able to fully reopen. The interview with Jeff Shell was originally conducted by The Wall Street Journal.