The advance showings of the sci-fi tentpole, starring Matthew McConaughey, will play in more than 240 screens in 77 markets across the U.S. and Canada, including 41 Imax screens, 10 in 70 mm and 189 in 35 mm.
Nolan shot the movie with a combination of 35mm anamorphic film and 65mm Imax. The picture will unspool in film formats in its early showings, something of a rarity now that most theater chains have switched over to digital projection.
But Nolan is a film purist and has loudly advocated for the preservation of film. Last summer, he joined a band of A-list directors that included Quentin Tarantino, JJ Abrams and Judd Apatow to successfully push studios to reach a deal with Kodak so that the company would continue manufacturing film stock. Previously, Kodak said it would discontinue production because it was no longer profitable.
“Chris is someone who shoots on film, is a huge fan of film and cares a lot about the presentation of his films,” said Paramount vice-chair Rob Moore. “A lot of people put a lot of energy into making sure that film continues to be a part of the future of the business. We wanted to take a moment to honor it and its storied history.”
Nolan will also be involved with Paramount’s team in crafting language that explains to ticket-buyers the differences between the various formats.
“Now people have so many entertainment options, they need to educate themselves to figure out what they care most about,” said Moore. “We want to make sure the information they need is easily available when they’re making their ticket purchases.”
Film proponents argue that 70mm and 35mm projections offer brighter, clearer images than digital.
Tickets for the advance showings went on sale Wednesday.
Cast includes Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn, John Lithgow and Michael Caine. Story centers on a team of explorers traveling beyond this galaxy to discover whether mankind has a future among the stars.
Nolan directed from a script he co-wrote with his brother Jonathan Nolan. Producers are Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan and Lynda Obst.
Paramount and Warner Bros. co-financed. Warner is handling the release overseas.