Cineworld, Picturehouse and Curzon cinemas won’t be showing Quentin Tarantino’s much-anticipated western The Hateful Eight after failing to come to an agreement with the film’s distributor.
The film, released on 8 January, is set to be one of the month’s biggest hits but will not be played at three of the country’s biggest cinema chains. Cineworld, who also own Picturehouse, alone represents around 800 screens.
After various users queried the notable absence, Cineworld’s official Twitter account stated that it was “a last-minute decision”.
In a statement to Digital Spy, a spokesperson said: “We can confirm that The Hateful Eight will not be shown at our cinemas. Unfortunately we were not able to reach an agreement with the movie’s distributor. We make every effort to show a wide variety of movies and we’re very excited about other releases in January including Joy and The Danish Girl.”
Curzon cinemas also tweeted that it was down to the format of the print being made available: “We love a Quentin Tarantino movie but it is with great regret that we will not be showing The Hateful Eight from Friday 8 January. On this occasion, the distributor has chosen to screen the film only in 70mm in the West End and in selected venues nationwide.”
In an official statement, the film’s UK distributor Entertainment said the following in response:
"Cineworld had made us aware that they were very unhappy that The Hateful Eight had been booked into the Odeon Leicester Square for an exclusive 70mm Ultra Panavision presentation, and specifically that they would therefore not be able to play the film at their Picturehouse Central venue. Due to the special facilities required for the unique 70mm Ultra Panavision presentation we needed the largest theatre and screen possible in the West End and the Odeon Leicester Square was the natural choice. The technical elements and costs involved with this special presentation meant that this would need to be the exclusive West End venue. The Odeon Leicester Square seats 1680 and Picturehouse Central only seats 344 so clearly this was not a viable alternative.
Cineworld had every opportunity to book the film in their other cinemas across the country on the same basis as other exhibitors and declined to do so. This is despite the fact that there is no dispute over the financial terms for this release.
We feel very sorry for Cineworld’s customers and in particular their Unlimited cardholders who will be denied the chance to see the film at a Cineworld cinema using their Unlimited card - a result of this Picturehouse issue relating to a single London West End cinema. As far as the general release is concerned we will be booking more sites with other exhibitors to compensate for Cineworld’s lack of support for a film that has already been given 5 stars and declared as Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece by The Guardian.
If Cineworld change their mind by tomorrow morning and decide to book the film in the proper way along the lines of the other exhibitors we would be happy for them to do so."
Irish cinema chain IMC cinemas has also announced that they won’t be running the film. In a post on their Facebook page, the company stated: “Once again Entertainment Film (@EFDFilms on Twitter) will not supply IMC Cinemas with their latest film - Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight - be sure to let them know how much this disappoints you if you wanted to see it!!”
The film was one of many high-profile releases leaked by pirates last month in a move that may have affected its box-office chances. It is yet to replicate the success of Tarantino’s recent films in the US, making just $15.7m in its first weekend of wide release, compared to Django Unchained’s impressive $30m opening.
Producer Harvey Weinstein has also claimed that the underwhelming returns could be blamed on the continuing success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
“We’re living in a Star Wars universe,” Weinstein told Variety. “I love Star Wars. I think it’s great. It’s not sour grapes, but if I’m writing a memo to myself, I would say: Do not open against Star Wars. Do not open against the biggest movie of all time. We would have doubled the gross without Star Wars.”
This article was written by Benjamin Lee, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 5th January 2016 14.06 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010