According to The Hollywood Reporter, Quentin Tarantino “really wants to get people back into theaters,” and he has a plan to make that happen. Rather than doing something simple like offering free popcorn coupons or dropping ticket prices by a few dollars (both of which are things that he can’t control), Tarantino is going to convince people to go to theaters by making sure that his movies look super awesome on the big screen. The actual “how” of that is a little heavy for anyone not involved in the cinematography industry, but the gist of it is that his next movie, The Hateful Eight, was filmed with old-fashioned anamorphic lenses that—as far as anyone knows—haven’t been used since the ‘60s. We’re not sure what specific difference that makes, but apparently “the look created by these lenses” is “different” enough for three-time Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Richardson to say, “This is it.”
We’ll trust that Richardson knows what he’s talking about (because if anyone does, he does), but without seeing any of The Hateful Eight for ourselves, it’s hard for us—speaking as hypothetical moviegoers who don’t know what any of this stuff means—to really get it. However, Tarantino did recently screen some test footage from the film, and THR says it “received enthusiastic applause.” On top of the weird lenses, this footage was projected with 70mm anamorphic film, evidently the key to making Hateful Eight look really nice. Apparently, when Tarantino himself watched this footage, “he started bouncing in his seat.”
Cinematographer Bill Bennett was also in the audience, and he tweeted some of his reactions (including a photo of the screen that he apparently didn’t get in trouble for taking):
The problem is that most modern theaters aren’t equipped to handle 70mm anamorphic film, so Tarantino might have made The Hateful Eight too “crazy beautiful” for his plan to succeed. However, THR says that “word on the street” is that about 50 theaters will be specially upgraded to allow for this specific kind of film, while others will receive a special “digital version for digital cinema release,” which sounds like it defeats the purpose a little. Still, it sounds like The Hateful Eight is going to be pretty awesome—visually, at least.