The Grand Budapest Hotel, the eagerly awaited Wes Anderson feature comedy that opened in select theaters last week, is full of surprises and secret projection directions. Wes Anderson films have always been chock full of charm, mystery, hijinks and peculiarity, so it might come as no surprise that the filmmaker sent particular, peculiar projection instructions to theaters in anticipation of their showing his new film.
Fox Searchlight sent the directions for what they consider to be the film’s correct projection specifications to theaters before its came out in a very limited number of cities last week. The Grand Budapest Hotel was actually shot in three separate ratios. This was designed to better reflect the three different historical settings of the movie. While the three ratios are all different, the surprise secret projection directions dictate that the film be shown in only one aspect ratio. The ratio that Anderson demands for his film is the standard in the industry–1.85:1.
As particular as that instruction might seem, it’s not the only specification given to theater owners. The whimsical filmmaker also included definite directions regarding the film’s level of brightness, settings for audio and faders, and framing. Anyone who has seen an Anderson film knows that he cares very much about the visual look of his art and thus the secret projection directions for The Grand Budapest Hotel will only serve to bring his unique vision more thoroughly to life.
Anderson has spent much longer than most filmmakers on creating this particular project. It is reported that the production took years. The surprise secret projection directions sent to theater owners explain that fact in detail and also persuade owners to accept his requests by explaining how they can benefit the audience. The note sent also thanks the owners for their attention to these secret details, saying that their following them will have a beneficial effect on the audience.
Perhaps the directions may have helped as The Grand Budapest Hotel had an unbelievably profitable opening weekend. While many people are complaining that they are unable to see the film due to its incredibly limited release, Anderson can’t be complaining. The movie made an average of $200,000 for each of the 14 theaters in which it was shown.
The film centers on a bunch of ragtag characters including a lobby boy, his mentor, and a wealthy widow. Along the way there is a stolen painting, a police chase, a prison break and plenty of other crazy hijinks. The cast is like a dream for Anderson fans. Regulars Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman and Tilda Swinton round out a crowd of additional famous actors. Cameos abound in this film, which is being called Anderson’s best to date. It seems he keeps topping himself with every endeavor.
The surprise secret projection directions for The Grand Budapest Hotel will undoubtedly do much to bring Anderson’s visions and dreams to life. Now, if only the movie would be released to the rest of Anderson’s millions of avid fans. It’s been a tremendously long wait already, and film buffs everywhere are restless with anticipation.
By: Rebecca Savastio