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‘Hateful Eight’ wins best movie at Capri – Tarantino’s latest doesn’t top his best

This photo provided by The Weinstein Company shows Kurt Russell (from left), Jennifer Jason Leigh and Bruce Dern in a scene from the film, ‘The Hateful Eight’, directed by Quentin Tarantino. The movie opened in US theaters on Jan 1. (AP)
This photo provided by The Weinstein Company shows Kurt Russell (from left), Jennifer Jason Leigh and Bruce Dern in a scene from the film, ‘The Hateful Eight’, directed by Quentin Tarantino. The movie opened in US theaters on Jan 1. (AP)

LOS ANGELES, Jan 4, (RTRS): Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” won best movie honors at the Capri Hollywood Film Festival.

The Weinstein Co release also won best actor for Samuel L. Jackson, best supporting actress for Jennifer Jason Leigh and best musical score for Ennio Morricone.

The awards were announced by Lina Wertmuller, honorary president of the festival, and Pascal Vicedomini, secretary general of the Institute Capri in the World.

The festival’s board includes Bille August; Bobby Moresco; Gianni Quaranta; Indian filmmaker Shekhar Kapur; film producers Aurelio De Laurentiis, Fulvio Lucisano and Marina Cicogna; Franco Nero; Andrea Purgatori; Mimmo Calopresti; Tony Renis; and Israeli singer Noa.

TWC’s “Carol” won best adapted screenplay for writer Phyllis Nagy and best production design for Judy Becker. Costume designer Sandy Powell, who worked on “Carol,” received the Legend Award. Powell also won the best costumes award for “Cinderella.”

Thrilled

TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein said in a statement: “Quentin Tarantino and the entire team from ‘The Hateful Eight’ are beyond thrilled to have been acknowledged in such a big way from the Capri Hollywood Film Festival. He is a massive fan of Italian cinema, which he often pays homage to in many of his films. I believe that this fantastic accolade is the beginning of the road to the Academy Award Best Motion Picture nomination that Quentin thoroughly deserves.”

“The Hateful Eight” will open in Italy on Feb 4. The film debuted in the US on Christmas Day on 100 screens in 44 cities in a special limited release in 70mm, opened nationwide on Dec 30 and has grossed about $30 million at the US box office.

Netflix’s “Beasts of No Nation” won for awards for Cary Fukunaga for best director Idris Elba for best supporting actor and for cinematography. Brie Larson won the award for best actress for “Room.”

David O. Russell won best original screenplay honors for “Joy.” The best editor award went to Pietro Scalia for The Martian.

Best animated film went to “Inside Out” and “Labyrinth of Lies was named best foreign film. Best song honor went to “See You Again,” by Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth for “Furious 7.”

Debut

“The Hateful Eight” earned a solid $16.2 million in its first weekend of wide release, but the reception for the blood-drenched film pales in comparison to Tarantino’s previous efforts.

In fact, that stands the lowest result for one of the director’s solo efforts since “Jackie Brown” kicked off to $9.3 million in 1997. It trails the debuts of “Inglourious Basterds” ($38 million), “Django Unchained” ($30.1 million), “Kill Bill: Vol.1” ($22.1 million) and “Kill Bill: Vol. 2” ($25.1 million).

Harvey Weinstein, the indie mogul who has fielded every one of Tarantino’s releases, took umbrage with an earlier version of this article, calling Variety to press his case that the piece did not fully account for the box office juggernaut that is “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” The seventh film in the science-fiction franchise has dominated ticket sales, racking up more than $740 million domestically in its first three weeks of release.

The popularity of ‘Star Wars” coupled with “The Hateful Eight’s” roughly three hour running time has prevented the film from commanding as many screens as it might have and from having as many showtimes. Weinstein also noted that “Django Unchained” debuted against the second weekend of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and “Les Miserables,” while “Inglourious Basterds” faced no other major studio release.

“We would have doubled the gross without ‘Star Wars,’” said Weinstein, who believes “The Hateful Eight” will show some endurance in the coming weeks.

Despite “Star Wars” mania, going into the weekend most analysts were expecting “The Hateful Eight” to pull in at least $20 million. The Weinstein Company acknowledged it would have liked to see a higher gross.

“It’s a really crowded marketplace,” said Erik Lomis, distribution chief at the Weinstein Company. “We were looking to do a little more, but it’s a good start.”

The film also had to contend with a number of films aimed at older audiences, including the lesbian romance “Carol,” the financial comedy “The Big Short,” and the biopic “Joy.” The fight for sophisticated moviegoers will grow more pitched next weekend when “The Revenant,” a historical drama with a gore quotient that may outmatch “The Hateful Eight’s,” expands nationwide.

Lomis noted that “The Hateful Eight” had an unorthodox release pattern. The studio debuted special, longer versions of the film in 100 theaters over Christmas week, where it screened in 70mm. That form of projection has largely been abandoned in an era of digital prints, but cinephiles believe it results in a crisper image.

Combining the $6.6 million that “The Hateful Eight” made exclusively from its “roadshow” version during its initial week in theaters would result in a gross that is closer to the average opening for a Tarantino film, Lomis argued.

This roadshow version has proven to be popular with Tarantino’s core fans. Last weekend, 15% of the film’s gross came from 70mm venues, and Lomis thinks exhibitors will keep the film in these special theaters through January. Demographically, the R-rated film is skewing heavily male, with men making up 62% of ticket buyers. Nearly 60% of the audience is between the age of 25 and 49.

Tarantino has been on a historical kick of late, revisiting the past to put a spaghetti western-infused spin on dark chapters such as Nazi-dominated Europe and slavery in the antebellum South. “The Hateful Eight,” a western that unfolds in the wake of the Civil War, continues that exploration, and, like his recent “Django Unchained,” has generated controversy for its use of the N-word. Tarantino also sparked a firestorm of media attention and threats of a police boycott (one that never materialized) after appearing at an October rally against police violence.

Ultimately, a film rises or falls on its own merits. To that end, reviews for the film have been positive, although “The Hateful Eight” hasn’t achieved the same level of acclaim as “Django Unchained” or “Inglourious Basterds.” Moreover, critics like the New York Times’ A.O. Scott have contended that the film is misogynistic because of the way that characters treat Jennifer Jason Leigh’s criminal firebrand as a punching bag. Despite the furor surrounding it, the film and Leigh are expected to be major contenders when Oscar nominations are announced this month, something that could goose receipts.

Apology

Meanwhile, the piracy group behind the leaks of “The Hateful Eight”, “The Big Short”, “Spectre”, “Creed” and more high-profile movies is apparently sorry for the much-publicized leak of Quentin Tarantino’s latest.

According to Business Insider, the group, dubbed Hive-CM8, issued a statement on Sunday to apologize for the ordeal, saying it’s “sorry for the trouble we caused.”

“We didn’t plan to comment at all on recent events,” Hive-CM8 said. “But we feel now that we should.”

“Sorry to disappoint, but there was no hack or any such thing,” it goes on. “We got the copies sold from a guy on the street, no decryption was needed. We were definitely not the only ones.”

The group also tried to reveal the rationale behind the leaks of the many Oscar-contending movies, saying it simply “wanted to share this movies with the people who are not rich enough or not able to watch all nominated movies in the cinema.”

On the flipside, however, Hive-CM8 said it believes that the piracy, and the publicity that comes along with it, will end up being a plus for the industry.

“Since everyone is now talking about we dont think the producers will loose any money at cinedate, and we tell you now why,” it said. “We actually think this has created a new type of media hype that is more present in the news,radio and in the papers than starwars, and the promotional costs for this were free.”

In the end, the piracy group praised “The Hateful Eight,” thanking Tarantino for making “an excellent,thrilling and entertaining Western.”

The leaked copy of Tarantino’s western was previously traced back to Alcon Entertainment co-CEO and “Point Break” remake producer Andrew Kosove, who maintained that he never saw the screener.

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