NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell revealed to the Wall Street Journal that Quentin Tarantino once stormed out of a meeting with the head of Universal when he pitched the idea of releasing The Hateful Eight on iPhones. As WSJ reports, "Jeff Shell, at the time the head of the Universal studio, voiced his own pitch. 'What if we released it on iPhones?' he said. 'Great,' Mr. Tarantino replied, and stormed out of the meeting."
It shouldn’t come as a shock that a noted film enthusiast like Tarantino would be opposed to the concept of releasing one of his projects on the smallest screen imaginable. But it may have been especially insulting to Tarantino since he came into the meeting to propose releasing Hateful Eight on 70mm film, an approach that would’ve tacked more money onto the already $70 million budget.
Since the release of Hateful Eight in 2015, acclaimed filmmakers have warmed to the idea of releasing their movies on the small screen. Most notably, Martin Scorsese’s latest project The Irishman came out on Netflix after a short theatrical run to appease both the famed director and the award consideration requirements.
While it could be assumed that Scorsese was simply tying himself to Netflix because they were the only ones willing to fund his most expensive movie to date, and weren’t going to rein in his creative process, he still had some apprehensions about how viewers would receive his latest work. "I would suggest," Scorsese said on Popcorn with Peter Travers. "If you ever want to see one of my pictures, or most films – please, please don’t look at it on a phone, please. An iPad, a big iPad, maybe."
The great irony in this story is that Tarantino would later partner with Netflix to release an extended version of The Hateful Eight that would be split into a four-episode miniseries. The theatrical version is also available on the streaming service. Tarantino told /Film that this "extended cut" miniseries format "gives you more in a slightly different format."
"Netflix came to us and said, 'Hey, look, if you'd be interested…If there's even more footage, if you'd be interested in putting it together and in a way that we could show it as three or four episodes, depending on how much extra footage you have, we'd be willing to do that," Tarantino recalled. "I thought, wow, that's really intriguing. I mean, the movie exists as a movie, but if I were to use all the footage we shot, and see if I could put it together in episode form, I was game to give that a shot, give that a try."