Quentin Tarantino went on the Howard Stern Sirius radio show and spoke about how Disney is strong-arming Arclight Cinemas to push the director’s 70MM presentation of his eighth film The Hateful Eight aside in favor of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in LA’s famed Cinerama Dome. The director first learned about this on Monday. The western was originally due to play there claims Tarantino starting on Dec. 25th, but now Force Awakens is getting an extended play through the holidays.
“It was real bad news and it fucking pissed me off,” Tarantino told Stern. “They are going out of their way to fuck me.”
All per Tarantino: when ArcLight Cinemas told Disney they were honoring their contract for Hateful Eight, Disney threatened to pull Force Awakens from all ArcLight locations.
However, many sources tell Deadline that Disney secured the Dome months ago to play the Force Awakens through the holidays. This was further reflected in the fact that the Dome was an option to prospective Force Awakens ticket buyers when they went on sale on Oct. 19. Apparently, Tarantino only recently learned about the booking situation and decided to voice his protest on Stern. Tarantino owns and programs the New Beverly Cinema, a renowned revival house in Los Angeles.
For years there was a clearance boundary whereby if a film was playing at the Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd, then it couldn’t be playing at the Cinerama Dome. But that’s not the situation here with Star Wars: The Force Awakens: It’s playing at the TCL Chinese Theater, Disney’s El Capitan and The Cinerama Dome.
Living here in L.A., The Cinerama Dome is a prized venue for Tarantino. In fact the Cinerama logo appears in the opening credits of The Hateful Eight. The premiere for the film was held on Monday, Dec. 7 at the Cinerama Dome and the director told Deadline’s Pete Hammond, “I made The Hateful Eight for the Dome … This is the first time seeing it at the Dome for me too, and it was like I hadn’t even seen it before, not like this.”
“It’s vindictive, it’s mean, and it’s extortion,” an uninformed Tarantino added. The Oscar-winning fimmaker further added that his beef isn’t with Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams, but with the top suits at Disney. In fact, Abrams worked with Tarantino when the director starred as McKenas Cole on Abrams’ ABC show Alias. “I made a lot of money for the Disney corporation,” Tarantino told Stern referring to the days when Disney owned Miramax and released such titles as Pulp Fiction ($213.9M worldwide) and the Kill Bill two pic saga (combined $333M worldwide) as well as Jackie Brown ($40M domestic).
It’s no secret that there is a particularly hard fight for screens this holiday season with a glut of films and in fact, Hateful Eight wisely changed up its distribution pattern to accommodate that glut. “It’s so damn crowded right now that everyone is pushing everything,” said one exhib about the fight for screens. “I had (one studio) tell me I have to hold (their movie) on one line while on the other I had (another studio) screaming at me about (their film). “The real problem is that it’s too packed and it’s hard to juggle all these films and we are telling them (the studios) that’s there are too many movies to juggle right now.”
During the broadcast, Stern told Tarantino that Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger was an avid listener. The radio host addressed an absent Iger during the show, calling out: “Listen Bob … I don’t give a shit about this theater. Quentin’s a weirdo — sorry Quentin … They’ve got the stupid 70mm – they got all that shit that he cares about. He just wants to show his goddamn movie there. You’re sitting on top of the world. You’ve got Star Wars. What, do you need this?”
When reached by Deadline, Weinstein Co. and Disney provided no comment.
In a statement yesterday, Arclight Cinemas announced how they were preparing for Star Wars: The Force Awakens; that the Dome was upgraded with dual-head Christie 6P laser projectors and Dolby 3D, which can project more than double the light of an average 3D projection system and enable moviegoers to see the nuances in Star Wars: Episode VII.
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