Film Nerds Rejoice

The Hateful Eight Trailer Debuts and Brings a Rare Film Format Back to Theaters


August 13, 2015 Briefings By

When the script for his highly anticipated 8th film, The Hateful Eight, leaked to the internet, Quentin Tarantino was hurt and angry. The word “motherfucker” was thrown around. Initially he was going to cancel the movie and publish the story as a book instead, but after a table-read of the script at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles with the film’s cast, it became clear the film really was happening. Those who read the leaked script online (or were lucky enough to go to the reading) are familiar with the film’s basic plot, but it wasn’t until the first trailer dropped this week that anybody knew what it would look like.

The film takes place in Wyoming, several years after the Civil War. While this sounds like a setup for a Django Unchained sequel, the specifics are more akin to Reservoir Dogs. Eight strangers — including a bounty hunter and his target — are holed up in a haberdashery to weather a brutal snow storm. It will star Tarantino alums like Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and Kurt Russell among other big names like Bruce Dern, Walton Goggins, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Demián Bichir as the eight in question. The trailer has all the typical Tarantino staples: guns, threats of violence, acting on threats of violence, genre pastiche and a fair amount of dark humor. But it’s at the very end that things get really interesting, when the title reads: “See it in Glorious 70mm {Ultra Panavision 70}.”

Tarantino has been very vocal about his distaste for digital — not just filming in digital, but also projecting in it. At Cannes in 2014, Tarantino had this to say: “digital projection…is the death of cinema as I know it…digital projections — that’s just television in public. Apparently the whole world is okay with television in public but what I knew as cinema is dead.” Tarantino shot The Hateful Eight in 65mm stock; filming on actual film isn’t going away too soon, but projecting it in 70mm is a big deal.

It’s not just that projecting in film is becoming increasingly rare, but films projected in 70mm are rarer, still. Interstellar was projected in 70mm in 2014, but unlike The Hateful Eight it wasn’t shot entirely in 65mm or 70mm. In 2012, Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master was shot and projected in 70mm, but the aspect ratio was cropped down to 1.85:1. Since The Hateful Eight was shot with anamorphic cameras, it will be shown in an ultra-wide 2.75:1 aspect ratio — a format similar to films like Ben-Hur (1959) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). And a wide aspect ratio is great for action films to have. Historically, wide aspect ratios have been used in westerns to appropriately showcase the vast, awe-inspiring landscapes they take place in.

When Tarantino says, “What I knew as cinema is dead,” he isn’t necessarily speaking of picture quality; he’s talking about the experience and tradition of going to the cinema and seeing a film in, well, film. With The Hateful Eight, viewers will get to partake in the ritual of seeing a new film come out, in an ultra-wide-screen format shot and projected in film for the first time in a very long while. The film opens on Christmas this year, and will be shown in film for the first two weeks of its run — after that, it’s going to digital. Admittedly, to many it won’t matter. But if you’re a true film buff, then there should be no question that you see it projected in film.