Cineworld And Picturehouse Snub The Hateful Eight After U.K. Distribution Row

Several of Great Britain’s biggest cinema chains have snubbed Quentin Tarantino’s latest film The Hateful Eight, following a row with U.K. distributors Entertainment Film.

Cineworld, Picturehouse, and Curzon are not showing The Hateful Eight, which opened in the U.K. on Friday, after controversy surrounding the 70mm print of the film. This special version was only offered to the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square, which angered Cineworld.

In a statement sent to Digital Spy, Cineworld confirmed that their cinemas would not be screening The Hateful Eight. The Cineworld chain, which also owns Picturehouse, operates more than 800 screens throughout the United Kingdom.

“We can confirm that The Hateful Eight will not be shown at our cinemas. Unfortunately we were not able to reach an agreement with the movie’s distributor. We make every effort to show a wide variety of movies and we’re very excited about other releases in January, including Joy and The Danish Girl.”

Curzon Cinemas added their own announcement regarding The Hateful Eight via Twitter.

Entertainment Film responded in their own official statement, as reported in the Guardian.

“Cineworld had made us aware that they were very unhappy that The Hateful Eight had been booked into the Odeon Leicester Square for an exclusive 70mm Ultra Panavision presentation, and specifically that they would therefore not be able to play the film at their Picturehouse Central venue. Due to the special facilities required for the unique 70mm Ultra Panavision presentation, we needed the largest theatre and screen possible in the West End, and the Odeon Leicester Square was the natural choice. The technical elements and costs involved with this special presentation meant that this would need to be the exclusive West End venue. The Odeon Leicester Square seats 1680 and Picturehouse Central only seats 344, so clearly this was not a viable alternative.”

Other U.K. cinema chains have decided to take advantage of this decision, with Showcase Cinemas offering their special Insider price rate to Cineworld Unlimited Card holders and Vue offering unlimited popcorn refills to those who see The Hateful Eight in its opening week.

The Cineworld snub isn’t the first problem to hit The Hateful Eight, with the film being one of a series of awards season contenders leaked on torrent websites around Christmas.

U.K. critics have been split in their reviews of The Hateful Eight, which have largely been overshadowed by news of the Cineworld announcement. Robbie Collin, writing in the Daily Telegraph, awarded The Hateful Eight a five-star rating in his rave review.

“Twenty-three years after Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino has delivered his most intimate film since that auspicious debut. The Hateful Eight is a parlour-room epic, an entire nation in a single room, a film steeped in its own filminess but at the same time vital, riveting and real. Only Tarantino can do this, and he’s done it again.”

Observer critic Mark Kermode, who has been critical of Tarantino’s work in the past, gave a more measured three-star verdict on The Hateful Eight.

“With the exception of Jackie Brown (still the director’s best and least appreciated work), his films habitually eschew substance or genuine emotion for postmodern frisson. That’s not a problem in itself; a seductive surface can be one of cinema’s great thrills, but it must be snare-drum tight rather than bass-drum baggy. Despite the title, there’s nothing here to hate. Yet what there is to love runs the risk of getting lost in a blizzard of wordiness and a snowstorm of stylishly self-referential insularity.”

Regardless of the Cineworld and Picturehouse snubs, The Hateful Eight is likely to be a big success in British cinemas as a result of Quentin Tarantino’s directorial clout and a sizeable awards presence.

[Photo by Weinstein Company]