Why You May Struggle to See Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight" in UK Cinemas

By Gerald Lynch on at

Looking forward to seeing Quentin Tarantino's directorial return for The Hateful Eight at your local multiplex? You may be in for more of a trek than you expected, as major cinema chains Cineworld, its subsidiary Picturehouse, and Curzon announced that they will not be screening the bloody cowboy flick.

Collectively responsible for 135 UK cinemas, the three chains have failed to secure a distribution deal for the Oscar-tipped film.

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According to a Cineworld spokesperson:

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.

A similar response came from Curzon Cinemas, which tweeted:

 

 

As hinted at by the Curzon tweets, it appears that the film's UK distributor, Entertainment Film, made demanding requirements of the cinemas, requesting special screening parameters (such as the use of 70mm presentations) be met. However, the distributor seems to suggest that this was only required for special exclusive screenings (seemingly the premier) and that the other chains could have booked elsewhere regardless. According to Entertainment Film:

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 1,680 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.

If Entertainment Film's statement is to be believed then, this whole debacle seems to concern sour grapes over prestigious early screenings meant for industry bods and the press. As ever, it's Joe Public that suffers.