Everybody knows Wes Anderson‘s The Grand Budapest Hotel (opening today, Fox Searchlight) is presented in three aspect ratios — 1.37, 1.85 and 2.39. This 3.6 Slate piece by David Haglund and Aisha Harris explains the whys and the particulars. The question is whether or not commercial “projectionists” (I use that term loosely as most theatres have senior ushers working the booths) will project it correctly or not. When Budapest goes to 1.37, mind, the image goes higher and deeper — it doesn’t just become a narrow windowbox image. The high-end projectionist on the Fox lot screwed this transition up (albeit briefly) when I first saw it with the trade reviewers, so what are the odds that average projectionists might do the same? I’m planning to visit two or three of the best LA theatres playing The Grand Budapest Hotel and see if they’re managing it properly. If anyone notices any a.r. problems anywhere, please inform.
Stanley Kubrick used to check projection standards in the ’60s and ’70s, as I recall. Particularly with A Clockwork Orange (1.66, not 1.85) and Barry Lyndon (which he also wanted shown at 1.66 and not 1.85). I can hear the grinding of teeth from the 1.85 fascists, particularly those who reside in the New York area, but they’re just going to have to accept the way things are now.