“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” will be hitting the big screen soon and it’s going to look crisp and huge, with the filmmakers shooting the project on the large-format Arri Alexa 65, which boasts dazzling 6K resolution. Thus, it was a bit of a surprise when it was revealed last year that for the next chapter in the “Star Wars” saga, Rian Johnson‘s “Star Wars: Episode 8,” he’d be going to old-school 35mm for “logistical reasons.” However, when it comes to “Star Wars: Episode 9,” the franchise is going to get big once again.
Today Kodak announced that in their processing facility in the U.K., they’ve added the capabilities to handle 65mm, and one of the projects listed to use Kodak 65mm stock is “Star Wars: Episode 9.” John Schwartzman will be reteaming with director Colin Trevorrow following “Jurassic World” (the press release mistakenly lists J.J. Abrams as the director of the film) to lens the project, and for both it’ll be a return to 65mm, which they partially used on the dinosaur blockbuster, though it sounds like ‘Episode 9’ will fully utilize the format.
And that’s not all, as Kodak reveals that Kenneth Branagh‘s “Murder On The Orient Express” and Disney’s “The Nutcracker And The Four Realms” directed by Lasse Hallström will also be going 65mm, and let’s not forget that next summer, Christopher Nolan will be delivering his WWII story “Dunkirk” in the grand style as well. Additionally, some segments of Xavier Dolan‘s “The Death And Life Of John F. Donovan” will be in 65mm, and Brady Corbet‘s upcoming musical “Vox Lux” will also use the format.
While the large-format revival has been driven early on by Paul Thomas Anderson (“The Master“) and Quentin Tarantino (“The Hateful Eight“), it’s promising to see it being used on blockbuster-sized efforts too. If this is the path filmmakers go down instead of 3D to add more bang to the moviegoing buck, I’m all on board. And hopefully it will see more cinemas keeping a 65mm projector handy so we can these movies as intended.
“The film comeback is accelerating,” said Steven Overman, Chief Marketing Officer and President, Consumer and Film Division at Kodak, “and the epic, big screen experience is well and truly back. The creative and aesthetic distinctiveness of 65mm film is still well beyond the capability of digital capture, so when discerning filmmakers want to a create work of memorable grandeur and lasting visual quality, they know that only real film delivers.”
A bold statement indeed, but certainly, in a time where we can watch anything on our laptops, the industry is fighting for value of going to the multiplex.