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‘Hateful Eight’ may fare well at the box office

54Quentin Tarantino’s new brutal western epic “The Hateful Eight” could generate solid box-office returns over New Year’s weekend, even as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” extends its winning streak all but unchallenged.
The violent, three-hour “Hateful Eight” is expanding to about 2,000 domestic theaters starting Wednesday, with some screenings beginning Tuesday night. The bloody drama is expected to gross $20 million to $22 million in ticket sales through Sunday, according to people who have reviewed pre-release audience surveys. The movie began its theatrical run Christmas Day on 100 screens in 44 cities for its so-called roadshow debut, where it played on special wide-scope 70-millimeter film, a format praised by cinephiles for its high-resolution image quality. The movie has grossed $5.7 million as of Monday for a per-theater average of $56,000, an impressive result considering the new “Star Wars” movie continues to dominate the marketplace. Longtime Tarantino collaborator the Weinstein Co. is releasing the film, which cost an estimated $62 million to make. Box-office analyst Bruce Nash of Nash Information Services said the unusual release strategy for “The Hateful Eight” might be a smart move for a director with a following as loyal as Tarantino’s. “I think it reinforces Tarantino’s brand,” Nash said. “He’s an uncompromising filmmaker and he wants to present his vision to an audience. If he didn’t do that, he wouldn’t be Tarantino.”