Quentin Tarantino goes ballistic on Disney, accuses studio of ‘Star Wars’ ‘extortion’

Welcome to Outrage Watch, HitFix's semi-regular rundown of entertainment-related kerfuffles. Not anxious enough already? Get your fix of righteous indignation below, and stay posted for outrage updates throughout the week.

Quentin Tarantino is none too happy with Disney this morning, accusing the studio of bullying Hollywood's Arclight theater into reneging on their deal to show the director's “Hateful Eight” in their famed Cinerama Dome — one of the few theaters already equipped to project films in 70mm — in order for their “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” to play there for the duration of the holiday season. (You can listen to an audio clip and watch video from the appearance 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,” an audibly upset Tarantino said on “Howard Stern” this morning. “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.' We have the 70mm projectors. They didn't have to move them in. That's the thing. We even start off with the Cinerama logo at the beginning [of 'The Hateful Eight']…by the way, ['Star Wars' is] playing at the Cinerama Dome and the Grauman's Chinese Theater, one mile away from each other. 

“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.'”

The director seemed primed to spill his anger during this morning's “Stern” appearance — the Sirius XM series is a regular stop on his promotional tours — and his voice shook as he vented his rage at what he called the studio's “extortionist practices” around their biggest movie of the year.

“They've got the biggest movie in the world We're talking about one effing theater…they are going out of their way to fuck me,” he continued. 

When Stern predicted that “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” director JJ Abrams would “fix” the issue after hearing about it, Tarantino replied: “I would hope that that would be the case…it's vindictive, it's mean and it's extortion. They literally threatened the Arclight.” The director also made sure to clarify that he wasn't blaming Abrams or “Star Wars” the movie, merely the studio: 

“As far as I'm concerned, and let all the entertainment reporters call up Disney as of now and ask for their comments about their extortionist practices,” he said, adding later: “They didn't need to be this vindictive. There's a few movies coming out around the same time…none of us are any serious competition to 'Star Wars.'”

When Stern mentioned that not only Abrams but Disney CEO Bob Iger is a regular listener to the Sirius XM program and would rectify the issue in Tarantino's favor, Tarantino responded: “I could only hope he does.”

HitFix has reached out to Disney for comment on this story.