It looks like the only person who isn’t excited to see The Force Awakens is none other than famed cinephile and director Quentin Tarantino. But QT isn’t angry at the Force being awakened simply because he isn’t a Star Wars fan. On the Howard Stern Show earlier today, the Hateful Eight director went on a NSFW rant against Disney, which he claims has strong-armed his movie out of showings just to keep director J.J. Abrams’ new Star Wars movie in as many theaters for as long as possible.
Tarantino’s gripe is aimed at The Force Awakens being booked at Los Angeles’ famed Cinerama Dome, where it was supposed to play in its 70mm roadshow version starting on Christmas Day. Instead, Tarantino explained Disney broke a contract they had with the theater to keep The Force Awakens on those screens and, in effect, blocking The Hateful Eight from playing there altogether.
You can listen to Tarantino tell it himself on a clip from Stern’s show above or you can read what he had to say below:
“We were gonna play at the Cinerama Dome on the 25th. We were gonna open there and play there exclusively for two weeks. And Star Wars was gonna play the two weeks before us. And I grew up in Los Angeles, so I think of the Cinerama Dome as a real big deal and imagine seeing it at the Cinerama Dome. So the thing about it was, Disney, who owns Star Wars, decided, ‘Well, you know what? Maybe we wanna play throughout the entire holiday season. So we’re gonna go to the Cinerama Dome and say that they can’t honor their contract with us to show The Hateful Eight.’ And the Arclight people that own the Cinerama Dome, said ‘No no, you can’t do that. We have a deal with the Hateful Eight people, and showing it in 70[mm]. That’s what we do.”
Tarantino quite rightly explains that The Hateful Eight even has the Cinerama logo in the opening credits of the movie as an homage to the wide-angled epics his new movie is trying to emulate, so to be rebuffed by that iconic theater is a bit of a slap in the face. He also mentions that it’s not as if The Force Awakens doesn’t have other screens to play on. In fact, it’s also playing at the nearby TCL Chinese Theatre.
But as Tarantino goes on to explain:
“As of yesterday, Disney came to the Arclight people and said ‘No, you are going to play Star Wars in the Cinerama Dome for the entire holiday season, and if you don’t, if you honor your deal with The Hateful Eight, we will not allow you to have Star Wars, the biggest movie in the world, we will not allow you to show it at any of your Arclight movie theaters.”
In the rest of interview, Tarantino goes on to call the maneuver “mean” and compares it to “extortion,” while saying of Disney: “They are going out of their way to fuck me.”
While the director is quick to point out that his gripe isn’t with J.J. Abrams and squarely with the Disney executives trying to pull some funny stuff, Stern tried to calm the director down by saying he assumed Abrams would hear the interview and intervene to make the conflict right. Abrams and Disney haven’t stepped in to comment yet, but rest assured Tarantino will stop at nothing to get his movie seen the way it was meant to be seen.