Projection problems at the ArcLight Hollywood derailed 70mm screenings of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” Friday, but the theater has resolved the issue and says the Cinerama Dome is once again prepped to screen Quentin Tarantino’s latest on celluloid.
Moviegoers reported projector problems derailed the midnight 70mm screening of “Once Upon A Time” early Friday morning in the Dome, which led the theater to project the last half of the digitally. The midnight showing for the 165-minute film didn’t finish until 4:30 a.m., according to a Twitter post.
2AM. A nice Arclight employee tells crowd they have to play the rest of Once Upon a Time digitally b/c 70mm is not working (but will give refunds.)
A rude woman yells “What the fuck” loudly.
A man immediately responds, “Shut up and watch the movie, it was shot in 35mm anyway!”
— Samantha Rae (@ASamanthaRae) July 26, 2019
Technical difficulties also prevented a Friday morning 70mm screening, people reported on social media.
A representative from ArcLight told IndieWire that the problem had been rectified and the movie would be shown in 70mm, beginning with the 3 p.m. screening Friday.
“It was an unfortunate situation, but we are back up and running,” she said.
She declined to state the exact nature of the technical difficulties or provide her name. It’s unclear whether the problem was with the theater’s equipment or with the 70mm print.
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Representatives for Sony Pictures and Tarantino did not return requests for comment.
Other theaters — 51 total, including eight in LA — are projecting the movie in 35mm. Among them is the Tarantino-owned New Beverly Cinema, which boasts programming exclusively in film — no digital.
Sources who have seen both the ArcLight’s 70mm and 35mm “Once Upon A Time” screenings reported that the smaller format has been a more positive viewing experience.
At twice the size of 35mm, 70mm film is harder to project. The ability to work with either is a niche skill in the digital age.
The ArcLight started screening “Once Upon A Time” last week. It opened in wide release Friday. The film grossed a strong $5.8 million Thursday night, with $40 million now looking like a reasonable guess for the weekend, above some earlier estimates.
ArcLight Hollywood is among is small number of theaters equipped to project 70mm. Combined with the size of the screen at the Cinerama Dome, that makes the Sunset Boulevard theater a prestige venue.