It is an established marketing ploy for a distributor to promote a movie by obtaining a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with attendant press and media hoopla. So the Weinstein Co. celebrated the imminent 70 mm roadshow opening of Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” with a Walk of Fame star ceremony Monday morning followed by a lunch party at Musso & Frank’s down Hollywood Boulevard.
It also happened to be Samuel L. Jackson’s 67th birthday, so the audience sang “Happy Birthday” to him as well, and at a party later that night at The Nice Guy Restaurant in West Hollywood, Tarantino presented him with a surprise birthday cake.
At the Hollywood Boulevard ceremony, Jackson said, “Thank you all sooooo fucking much.” And back to the order at hand, he said, “This is a real honor for me to stand up here and be with him on a day when he’s getting something… frankly I thought he had already…[laughter] I know what it means to him because of what he thinks and how he revers this business and the art of filmmaking. To become a name on the walk of fame… who would have thought. Thank you all for coming out and celebrating Quentin Tarantino, the baddest motherfucker making films in Hollywood!”
Tarantino was clearly tickled, and recalled going to the Chinese Theater to see the first “Airplane” and James Bond movies as a kid. “This is a real, real groovy day… I really had no idea exactly where the star was going to be. [It’s just East of the Chinese Theater forecourt—on the same side of the street.] I was expecting to go down a little more to Cherokee or Bronson. And when they said no, it was going to be right underneath that Chinese Marquee, that one right there. I went, ‘Wow.’ I guess I’ve become a big shot in the meantime, that’s very cool—I appreciate it.”
Then Tarantino and co. repaired to Musso & Franks, where I joined them for lunch. Attendees included Jackson and fellow “Hateful Eight” actors Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Demian Bichir, Zoe Bell, and Jennifer Jason Leigh, as well as a gaggle of pals such as Edgar Wright, Paul Thomas Anderson, Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski, Ed Asner, Barbara Benedek, Pam Grier, Clifton Collins Jr., Dennis Christopher, James Parks, “Hateful Eight” costume designer Courtney Hoffman, as well as producers Stacey Sher, Richard Gladstein and Shannon Macintosh and Weinstein Co. COO David Glasser.
Tarantino is still hopeful that Disney will relent on letting the Cinerama Dome show “The Hateful Eight” in 70 mm, which the Weinstein Co. booked via oral agreement months ago, but he says that Disney threatened to pull all “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” shows from the Arclight chain if they didn’t show “Force Awakens” on the big curved Dome screen.
While they missed the SAG deadline, Weinstein sent screeners to Academy members of the multiplex version of the movie—which is common practice now to ensure that voters see your contender—but already pirated versions are online. (They traced the source.) The multiplex version is shorter than the Roadshow by about 23 minutes (less 4 minute overture, 12 minute intermission, and 7 extra minutes, says the director). He likes this version too—”it’s more intense,” he says—and tested it with audiences in Long Beach, without research cards. He asked them questions afterwards, including, “What is the genre?” “Mystery,” they said. “Should we say it’s a mystery?” “No!” “Is it too long?” “No!”
—Additional reporting and photos from the Walk of Fame by Billy Vasquez.