Theater Owners Angered by ‘Interstellar’s Film Projection Favorability

By Will Ashton

Among the hottest new movies of the fall season is co-writer/director Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, coming into theaters on November 7 unless, of course, you are among the lucky townspeople who live near cinemas with film projections. For, those select theaters with 70mm IMAX, 70mm and 35 mm film projections will get to host the movie two days before everyone else on November 5. As expected, however, some digital-only theater owners are not taking this news too kindly.

As The Hollywood Reporter reveals, many theater owners feel that this is a slap in the face to everything they have done to accommodate to the rapidly changing film market. After going through the very expensive process of switching from film to digital projection, they feel their efforts are not being appreciated.

“This devalues what we’ve done,” said Joe Paletta, CEO and founder of Spotlight Theatres, a small, now all-digital theater chain told THR. “I can’t afford to get the projectors out of the warehouse for two days, and I don’t even have anyone to operate them.”

Paletta is not alone, as Byron Berkley, CEO and president of Foothills Cinema in Texas, feels that it “makes no sense to step back in time.”

Rob Moore, Paramount’s vice chairman, said the decision is solely about encouraging the moviegoing experience, and that’s it. He parallels it to the studio’s decision to open Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol five days early in IMAX formats in 2011. He’s taking this opportunity to advance the movie’s word-of-mouth while also getting more out of their investment, not belittling the theater companies’ efforts.

Considering that Mission: Impossible sequel went on to become the series’ most successful box office effort, as well as star Tom Cruise’s most financial successful film, according to Deadline, it’s easy to see where he’s coming from.

Interstellar plays spectacularly, and we have a filmmaker who loves film, so we wanted to take a moment to showcase film as an important part of our heritage,” Moore told THR.

He also added that Nolan will host a special community on Google exploring all formats, and not just film. But this seems to do little in terms of un-ruffling theater chains’ feathers. Regardless of what they feel, however, moviegoers will likely be making their way to the movie in droves when it comes out next month.

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