Interstellar header

If your local theater has a film projector, it’s likely you can see Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar beginning on Wednesday, two days before the rest of the country. It was the famously old school director’s way to paying respects to the past, and also letting people know his preferred format: film. The problem is, over the past few years, almost every theater in the country has begun to transition to digital projection. Digital is cheaper to distribute, easier to handle, and is not subject to the same sort of handling damage that can mar film prints.

The final numbers have been released and the number of theaters opening Interstellar on film versus on digital (with the digital rollout taking place on Friday) is pretty staggering. The numbers for Interstellar film theaters are below.

According to Box Office Mojo, 249 screens will open the Interstellar on film Wednesday with an additional 3,500 playing it digitally on Friday. That’s about a 14:1 ratio and a pretty accurate representation of just how much digital has taken over your local movie theaters. (By format, it looks like around 190 locations will play 35mm prints, around 10 will play 70mm prints and 40 or so IMAX theaters will play 70mm IMAX prints.)

This early rollout of film prince was a huge controversy in the film exhibition world, as many theaters no longer have film projectors. To combat the problem some large theaters, such as the TCL Chinese in Los Angeles which opened with a digital projector, specially installed a film projector for Interstellar. Other smaller theaters – such as Portland’s Cinemagic Theater and the Willow Creek Cinemas Twelve in Minnesota – are doing the same. In fact, here’s a video of the latter. Thanks to Indiewire for the heads up.

The Hollywood Reporter spoke to other theater owners who were disappointed at Paramount and Nolan for favoring film. “This devalues what we’ve done,” Joe Paletta, CEO and founder of Spotlight Theatres in Georgia, told the trade. “I can’t afford to get the projectors out of the warehouse for two days, and I don’t even have anyone to operate them.” But Paramount seems content giving fans the change to see the film a few days early, even if it’s in a very select number of theaters, especially since the number of screens explodes exponentially on Friday.

Are you going to try and see Interstellar on film? Here’s a list of locations.

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