Like the brilliantly convoluted film itself (a story within a story within a story), projecting “The Grand Budapest Hotel” in theaters requires special instructions.
Fox Searchlight sent its specification for the film’s “proper projection” to theaters before its release last week. Although Wes Anderson’s crime caper was shot in three different aspect ratios (1.37, 1.85 and 2.35:1) to inform viewers where they are in the timeline, which alternates between 1985, 1968 and the 1930s, instructions state in large, bold red font that the film is meant to be projected in 1.85:1 aspect ratio (the standard).
Aside from the projector setting, the directions, shared on Reddit, include information on framing the picture, image brightness, audio configuration and fader setting.
“Renowned filmmaker Wes Anderson has spent the last few years bringing ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ to the screen. We think you’ll agree that this epic film is an exciting experience and the key to this experience is proper framing on your screen. Below are our specifications for the proper projection of ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel.’ We’re grateful for your attention to these critical details. Your efforts will make all the difference,” the first of many paragraphs reads.
The efforts must have helped as “Grand Budapest Hotel” had the highest-grossing limited live action debut of all time when it opened last Friday. The dramedy, which checked into only four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, averaged more than $200,000 per theater.