Paul Thomas Anderson really does want to show The Master in 70mm as widely as possible. But it’s not entirely up to him.
First, the local bad news: The Music Box will not show The Master in 70mm this September. Programmer Brian Andreotti is in the process of finalizing his fall schedule, and he says the Weinstein Company has passed on the opportunity to play it there. "They're not offering it to us," Andreotti says. "They've made other arrangements." Since the Music Box is the only public venue in Chicago that can present 70mm, it’s safe to say that those arrangements involve either 35mm or DCP.
The good news: This post, advocating for TWC to show the movie at the Music Box in 70mm, has gotten a lot of attention. A PTA fan site’s link to it was even retweeted by Megan Ellison, who funded the film.
Yesterday I was contacted by a source close to the director who was canvassing for 70mm-capable theaters, and who’d learned about the Music Box through the post. “I showed it to Paul and he flipped out [with excitement],” the source says. Anderson apparently hopes more theaters like the Music Box will come forward. Especially with the conversion to DCP, lists like this one are out of date and incomplete. Gauging the number of theaters that can still show 70mm is essential to determining how much play the film could get in that format. Other cinemas my source is eyeing include the ArcLight in Los Angeles and the Seattle Cinerama.
But as the Music Box’s experience indicates, the Weinstein Company seems to be moving forward with its own booking plans. On Monday, I asked my TWC rep if the company knew how many 70mm prints would be made available. A follow-up query today was not immediately answered; it seems that number is still being negotiated.
My source emphasizes that he’s not a party to conversations between Anderson and TWC, but he’s under the impression that the director’s push to show the film widely in 70mm has been met with “blowback.” Still, he says, Anderson remains hopeful about getting the film shown as broadly as possible in the wide-gauge format. “Paul's not one to give up on what he wants,” the source says.
If all of the above is accurate, here's hoping TWC and Anderson work it out. Where you come in: Team PTA wants to hear about venues that are 70mm-capable, and about how close they are to being ready, in terms of the labor of getting a projector up and running. "The worst thing that happens is that a month after the movie comes out," my source says, they learn of a theater that could have shown 70mm and wasn't considered.
My suggestion: Fans should make their voices heard. More importantly, exhibitors who can show 70mm—and are interested in screening The Master—should leave their contact info in the comments. Interested parties may be reading.