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Is Paul Thomas Anderson Having Difficulties Getting ‘The Master’ Exhibited In 70mm Format?

Is Paul Thomas Anderson Having Difficulties Getting 'The Master' Exhibited In 70mm Format?

Much to everyone’s surprise, Paul Thomas Anderson‘s “The Master” is almost upon us. One of the most eagerly anticipated films of the year, many months of silence went by until a few brief teaser clips were revealed to whet appetites. And out of nowhere, a spectacular full trailer for the film arrived, swiftly followed by reports that “The Master” would play at both the Venice and Toronto film festivals this fall. And suddenly, a big bump up in release dates occurred that meant the film was only six weeks away, set to start rolling out in limited release in the middle of September, soon after the end of TIFF.

But there does seem to be something of a tiny hitch on the road to release. Anderson shot a good chunk of the film in the plus-size, hi-res 65mm format, and has been committed to showing the film, where possible, on 70mm (films of this kind are shot on 65mm, with the extra 5mm going to sound, but projected in 70mm), to the extent where the delay on festival announcements reportedly came down to whether or not they’d be able to show the film in 70mm. But Time Out Chicago report that The Music Box, the only theater in the city capable of showing the film in Anderson’s preferred format, have been telling fans that the film won’t be exhibited. “They’re not offering it to us,” the Music Box reps told Time Out Chicago about distributors The Weinstein Companys decision. “They’ve made other arrangements.”

The good news for Chicagoans is that all hope’s not been lost: reports about the situation in the city have made their way to Anderson himself (according to a source close to the director), and the director apparently “flipped out” with excitement when he heard about the Music Box, unfortunately it was too late to book the film there. But it seems to be indicative of something of a disconnect in the distribution of the film. Anderson’s camp are seemingly still trying to work out which theaters in which cities are capable of exhibiting the film in 70mm — something presumably rushed along by the release date shift. And at the same time, in Time Out’s words, “as the Music Box’s experience indicates, the Weinstein Company seems to be moving forward with its own booking plans.”

Their source in PTA’s camp suggests that the idea of showing the film as widely as possible in 70mm has met with “blowback” from the Weinstein Company’s end. Presumably, Harvey & co. care less about how people see the film, and more about people seeing the film in large numbers, and it sounds, from Time Out’s report at least, that there’s a little bit of a clash behind the scenes here. What seems to be clear at this point is that the filmmakers behind “The Master” are keen to learn of 70mm capable theaters as soon as possible, so if you live near one or work in one, now may be the time to make your voices heard. We imagine exact release plans for “The Master” will become clearer nearer the release date, but let’s hope that Anderson and the Weinsteins come to terms, and manage to get the film in front of every screen capable of showing it in the format in which it was shot when the film opens on September 14th.

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I'm crushed this won't make it to the Music Box!

Brian Marino

70mm at the Riverview Stadium in Philadelphia. Not sure where else in the area.


The Ziegfeld here in NYC has 70mm capability! Please make it happen, PTA!!!


70mm projector at the Astor Theatre in Melbourne Australia! Bring it here PTA and Weinstein Co!

Brock Landers

I don't care if I have to watch this on an Iphone


i truly believe this will be a fantastic film.


Anyone know what theaters in LA show 70mm features? I could swear the Cineramadome has shown 2001 in 70mm before, but maybe I just saw the placard in the lobby but it was showing somewhere else…


The only two 70mm capable theaters in New York are the Walter Reade and the Ziegfeld, correct?

Ben Kenigsberg

"Flipped out" in a positive sense. He was happy about the advocacy post, which was written before TWC turned down the Music Box. I've added a clarifying bracket.


I'm becoming more and more skeptical about this whole "you have to see it the way it was intended" bit. That was the whole thing with TDKR. "You have to see it in full IMAX with a 70 millimeter projector." Well I DID see it in full IMAX with a 70 milimeter projector (the only theater with those specifications in Connecticut I might add) and there was ZERO difference between seeing it on a regular sized screen. In fact, I went to go see Drive and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on your standard theater projection (I think it was digital but I'm not sure) and I was more impressed with the image and sound than I ever have been with the whole "you have to see it the way it was intended" routine. As far as I'm concerned, theater projection basically all looks the same. The difference is only apparent when you're watching a film on blu ray.

concerned citizen kane

joaquin phoneix kinda looks like pta in that screen-shot.

Cigs & Red Vines

We're trying to get the word out to theatre owners and PTA fans so that the film can hopefully be booked in as many 70mm screens as possible. Pass it along.

Rudebard Baken

Anyone have an idea of the DC area theatre possessing a 70mm projection system? There is a list online of US theaters that do but the list must be at least 5-10 years old.


It's Chicago-ans, not Chicago-ites.

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