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Dunkirk sticks it to The Hateful Eight with widest 70mm rollout in 25 years

Dunkirk (Photo: Melinda Sue Gordon)

A big part of the marketing push for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight was that 100 select theaters would be screening it in 70mm, an aggressively old-school format that is better than modern technology in every way except for the fact that the machines it requires are prone to breaking, very few people actually know how to use them, and they’re more expensive to operate than the equipment needed for newer formats. Basically, screening the film in 70mm was supposed to be a labor of love for the art of cinema, and only Tarantino himself would so something so artsy on such a grand scale.

Now, though, Christopher Nolan has barged in and demanded that his next movie be even bigger and artsier than The Hateful Eight. According to Deadline, Nolan’s Dunkirk will be screened in 70mm in 125 locations, making it what Warner Bros. claims is the widest 70mm release in 25 years. 30 of the 125 locations will be IMAX theaters, and the rest will be made possible by the actual 70mm projectors that Tarantino and The Weinstein Company paid $11 million for in 2015 (Warner Bros. swooped in and bought them recently).


Considering how weirdly traditional Dunkirk looks to be when compared to the rest of Nolan’s work, giving it the biggest rollout in decades on a format that nobody cares about does seem like a bit of a Nolan-esque twist—especially if the movie is secretly about aliens or something instead of just World War II soldiers. Some space monsters would really pop on 70mm film, after all.

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