Tuesday, August 20, 2013

No digital release for Christopher Nolan's Interstellar?

It's no secret that Christopher Nolan is a die-hard film-guy. Few directors have spoken out as strongly and as consistently as Nolan on the subject.

His love for celluloid extends into post production as well, where he forgoes the industry-standard digital intermediate/digital color grading for the classical photochemical grading. In fact, if you saw The Dark Knight Rises in certain IMAX theaters (LA and New York, I believe), you were seeing prints struck directly from the the IMAX camera negative.

Christopher Nolan's newest film, Interstellar, will be no different. But could Nolan be drawing a line with distribution, as well? From Interstellar's press release:

HOLLYWOOD, CA (August 13, 2013) – Paramount Pictures, a division of Viacom, Inc., and Warner Bros. Pictures announced today that principal photography on “INTERSTELLAR” is officially underway in Alberta, Canada. The film will be released in IMAX® and 35mm theaters on November 7, 2014.

Perhaps this is reading into things, but it sounds like Interstellar could be a film-only release, showing in IMAX and 35mm, but not digitally.

If that's the case, it could mean a sort of backwards George Lucas/Star Wars affair - where Lucas required theaters meet certain sound and picture specs in order to show the Star Wars films. This brings up questions; namely, how many theaters will there be left projecting 35mm in 2014? Would a studio even allow a film-only release? Aren't most IMAX theaters projecting digitally, anyway? Time will tell if this is just an oddly-worded press release or if there's more to it.

I can't help but think of an interview with director Rian Johnson in regard to his film, Looper. He talked about the process where the colorist plays the finished film in different formats for the director's approval. First, they projected the film digitally, then they projected a first-generation film print. Johnson's reaction to the film print was "Oh wow, that looks like a movie". Then they played a film print one more generation removed; his reaction was, "This looks like a living, breathing thing up on the screen. This is like what I grew up watching and this is my favorite version of it, actually". Maybe there is something special about film projection.

Paramount's Press Release
Interview with Rian Johnson

No comments: