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Movie Theaters Receive Special Instructions on How to Project ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

Movie Theaters Receive Special Instructions on How to Project 'The Grand Budapest Hotel'

Most films are projected in one aspect ratio ( most commonly, 1.85:1), but Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is presented in three aspect ratios, which is why it’s not surprising that Fox Searchlight would send movie theaters special instructions on how to project it.

“Renowned filmmaker Wes Anderson has spent the last few years bringing ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ to the screen. We think you’ll agree that this epic film is an exciting experience and the key to this experience is proper framing on your screen. Below are our specifications for the proper projection of ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel.’ We’re grateful for your attention to these critical details. Your efforts will make all the difference.”

The instructions (which one Redditor shared) include information on how to frame the picture, what volume to set the sound system at (7.0) and how to provide the optimal light level. “The correct light level is vital to a great presentation,” according to the instructions. Despite the three aspect ratios, the instructions say that “all of these ratios are within the standard 1.85:1” ratio.

Read more about the aspect ratios in the film over on Slate.com.

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Comments

Dan Mirvish

Cool. Reminds me of the instructions Stanley Kubrick sent to projectionists for "Barry Lyndon" – they've got a copy in the booth at Film Society of Lincoln Center. Ask Eug to get a picture of it.

RichardWad2U

Oh wow y'all, I'm Wes Anderson, and I just don't get how and why I'm so indie-ish and quirky! I'm just so crazy and edgy like that! I even invented a little accent for myself. You know, like the Decemberists did! Go see my movie if you want. But if you don't that's fine cause it's not for everybody… just us quirky indie-ish people. Cause we're quirky. And indie-ish. And I'm so tired of people saying we're "hipster". What does that word even mean?…

Paula Bernstein

Sorry, Ray. We didn't see the original source. We will add credit in the story.

Ray Pride

And here's where the image was nabbed from, without credit instagram account: raypride

Glenn

I get why Anderson did it, and it works, but it's frustrating since now there are big black bars all over the screen. Masking exists for a reason and when a film uses multiple aspect ratios, there's nothing for places without experienced and dedicated projectionists can keep up. Masking is our friend!

Glenn

I get why Anderson did it, and it works, but it's frustrating since now there are big black bars all over the screen. Masking exists for a reason and when a film uses multiple aspect ratios, there's nothing for places without experienced and dedicated projectionists can keep up. Masking is our friend!

Glenn

I get why Anderson did it, and it works, but it's frustrating since now there are big black bars all over the screen. Masking exists for a reason and when a film uses multiple aspect ratios, there's nothing for places without experienced and dedicated projectionists can keep up. Masking is our friend!

Ken

So Fox doesn't know how to spell "Wes" Anderson's first name?

Maybe it's not a direct quote and it was mistyped, but the "renowned filmmaker West" probably doesn't like having a letter added to his name.

Donnacha

These are nothing new. Projectionists have received similar instructions for years.

The Pixar ones are especially pretty (and sometimes have prizes! Get a hat for showing you did a quality check! Yay!)

Sometimes it's just a faxed set of instructions, or a photocopied sheet in the can/DCP case. The one for Miss Congeniality 2 said the sound level needed to be played at a sound level of 7 because "we've noticed a sound design flaw – the film is so funny, people can't hear the dialogue over the laughs!"
Of course, Miss Congeniality 2, I believe you.

You can imagine how much projectionists actually pay attention to these, of course. Never. Sound never gets played at 7 because customers *will* complain (unless it's a Tyler Perry film – his films are always mixed quiet and you have to turn them up). The bulb will already be shining as brightly as the boss will allow, and a "personal note from (film director)" won't change that.

So why is this news? The changing aspect ratios might rattle some, but honestly, that would never have been an issue for a projectionist to figure out – DCPs are generally only ever formatted for "Flat" (1.85:1) or "Scope" (2.39:1), and it says the "F" for "Flat" right there in the filename, right before the "EN" to show it's in English.

It's not the first film with changing aspect ratios, it won't be the last. Though I can't imagine IndieWire reporting on "Escape From Planet Earth"'s projection instructions.

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