While Quentin Tarantino's upcoming film The Hateful Eight is coming out on Christmas Day, anybody that didn't have access to one of the select theaters showing the film in 70mm was going to have to wait a full two weeks. Today that's changed, with Indiewire reporting that The Weinstein Company will be opening the film in wide release — that means digital projection and 35mm, where available — on January 1st instead.
It's a move that is certainly going to get the movie out to more people, quicker — but it's not necessarily Tarantino's preferred way to see the film. From the very beginning, The Hateful Eight — which tells the story of two bounty hunters (Kurt Russell and Samuel L. Jackson) and a fugitive (Jennifer Jason Leigh) that are stuck overnight in a cabin with a crew of strangers (including Bruce Dern, Michael Madsen, and Tim Roth) — has been framed as a love letter to the widescreen movie formats of old. Even the script touted the intended use of "glorious" Ultra Panavision 70, an extra-widescreen format that hadn't been used since 1966's Khartoum.
In practice, however, that rollout has been a little trickier than was likely anticipated. An early press screening was termed "near disastrous" when large chunks of the movie were out of focus, before the theater just switched over to modern digital projection as a fallback. Cutting the exclusivity of Tarantino's premium roadshow presentation by half will no doubt take some of the luster off, but for fans eager to see his latest film, it's undoubtedly good news.