Back in December, Quentin Tarantino went on a much-publicized rant against Disney on The Howard Stern Show, claiming that the studio engaged in “extortion” by bullying the Arclight theater in Hollywood to push The Hateful Eight out of its famed Cinerama Dome to make room for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. At the time, neither Disney nor the Arclight replied to HitFix's request for comment and the story effectively died, with even the normally-verbose Tarantino falling silent on the matter.
It's only now, two months after the original story broke, that the controversy has resurfaced in a Deadline interview with Hateful Eight cinematographer Robert Richardson, who tells the site that the alleged incident “hurt Quentin, emotionally” while further insinuating that the Arclight actually backed out of a contract made with Hateful Eight distributor The Weinstein Company to screen the film in the Dome (a decision Tarantino contended was made after Disney threatened to pull The Force Awakens from every Arclight theater in the country).
From the Deadline interview:
Quentin was famously, majorly disillusioned with Disney”s decision to push The Hateful Eight out of the Cinerama Dome in order to screen Star Wars: The Force Awakens in yet another theater. We haven”t heard much from Quentin in the aftermath.
I found out pretty much when everyone else found out. From what I gather, it might”ve been decided prior to the premiere, but people didn”t want to discuss it with Quentin. They did discuss it after the premiere. This has been the one place he wanted to put the film. I”m not going to say this was something directed at Quentin, but I will say that if he had that screen for two or three weeks, I believe that Star Wars would”ve survived elsewhere.
Do you think this all hurt The Hateful Eight?
I think it hurt Quentin, emotionally. I believe that the director of the ArcLight, and everyone else should”ve stood by and honored Quentin and the commitment they had made to him a great deal prior. I don”t know exactly what the pressure was to have ArcLight pull it from there, but it”s sad that it had to happen, but it did, and the film moved on.
Whether Tarantino's extortion claim has any basis in fact or not, having The Hateful Eight — a film Tarantino not only shot in 70mm but which actually opened with the Cinerama logo — pushed out of the Dome was clearly a major blow for the director, who has a nostalgic attachment to the famous theater being a longtime L.A. resident. It's also telling that neither Disney nor the Arclight shot down his claims in the press, something you'd think they would have done if his rant had been patently false.