The force is definitely not with Quentin Tarentino.
The acclaimed director who made such hits as Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction in the days when Disney owned Miramax is now accusing Disney of stabbing him in the back. His new film, The Hateful Eight, was set to start its run at the Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles on Christmas Day. Now, instead of a movie featuring drama, betrayal and guns, the ArcLight Cinemas outlet will show a blockbuster featuring drama, betrayal and lightsabers.
While appearing on Howard Stern’s Sirius XM radio show this week, Tarantino said that Disney coerced the theater to drop his movie and continue the Star Wars: The Force Awakens run uninterrupted through the holidays. If they didn’t, Disney would pull the latest Star Wars movie from all ArcLight Cinemas screens.
Tarantino is taking the decision personally, even stating that Disney “is going out of their way to f— me.” Los Angeles is his home turf, and he had the Cinerama Dome in mind when he shot the 70MM film, he told Deadline during the Dec. 7 premiere. The Dome’s logo also appears in the opening credits. Since the film is in an unusual format, he arranged contracts with particular theaters who had the equipment to show it the way he envisioned. Now, even though he had a contract with ArcLight Cinemas, he is losing that particular venue during a prime time for movie attendance.
“It’s vindictive, it’s mean and it’s extortion,” he told Stern.
While ArcLight Cinemas has not responded publicly to the accusations, they did release a statement on Tuesday saying they prepared for the imminent run of Star Wars: The Force Awakens with a bevy of technological updates to the Dome, including dual-head Christie 6P laser projectors and Dolby 3D for the ultimate Star Wars experience.
During the interview, Stern called out Disney CEO Bob Iger on the move, saying that although “Quentin’s a weirdo,” Iger should do the right thing and let Tarantino have the space.
“You’re sitting on top of the world. You’ve got Star Wars. What, do you need this?” asked Stern. “Bobby, be a gracious man. I want Quentin to show this new movie. He’s worked his a– off. He wants the equipment. Hatefully, would you do it for me?” Summoning the seasonal spirit, he added, “It’s Christmas for Christ’s sake.”
Iger hasn’t responded to Stern’s appeal, and Disney hasn’t made any public comment either.
Although Star Wars: The Force Awakens is taking over the Dome, the ArcLight Cinemas website is still showing tickets available for The Hateful Eight in 70MM format starting Christmas Day so fans won’t miss out completely. No matter what happens on the screen, the biggest showdown may take place behind the scenes.