While most of the film industry is fighting to get their content in front of as many eyes as possible, one filmmaker is taking the scarcity model to heart. Darren Aronofsky, whose last feature was the one-location drama The Whale, is putting the finishing touches on his next film, Postcard from Earth, which will only be available to view in one theater on Earth.
The venue in question is MSG Sphere, set to open in Las Vegas this fall and feature an immersive screening experience, along with concerts and residencies. Featuring a 16K LED screen and a beamforming spatial audio system––both the largest of their kind on the planet––the 160K square foot venue also features 4D experiences with haptic seats and environmental effects, and can house 10,000-20,000 people depending on the set-up.
As for Aronofsky’s film, it was shot by longtime collaborator Matthew Libatique as well as Andrew Shulkin, who operated the Big Sky camera. “The single-lens camera has a 316-megapixel, 3-inch x 3-inch HDR image sensor that Sphere Studios says can capture 18K x 18K images up to 120 frames per second,” THR notes. There’s no word yet on how long Aronofsky’s new film will run as it’s still in post-production, but showtimes are listed at 2.5 hours apart so we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s in the 1.5-hour range.
“I see SPHERE as a great opportunity to pluck people from the bling and thrum of the Vegas strip in all its human constructed madness and immerse them as fully as possible in the wonder, awe, and beauty of the natural world. Postcard from Earth is a sci-fi journey deep into our future as our descendants reflect on our shared home,” said Aronofsky. “At its best, cinema is an immersive medium that transports the audience out of their regular life, whether that’s into fantasy and escapism, another place and time, or another person’s subjective experience. The Sphere is an attempt to dial up that immersion.”
A rendering of the MSG Sphere.
He added, “Every day we’ve taken out the camera we’ve gotten better at getting the best possible shots. It’s a learning process because the technology is new. And it’s the same with post. Delivering a half-petabyte movie––that’s 500,000 gigabytes––that utilizes more than 160,000 speakers is mind boggling. But honestly, every film is always a learning experience. You are always in a process discovering the language of the film and unearthing the story using the tools you’ve got at hand. Here it’s about how to make the beauty and fragility of our planet feel as potent as possible. The tools might be a little different on this film, but the task is the same.”
“Postcard actually has narrative elements as well documentary ones,” Aronofsky concluded. “We designed it to be as effective as possible to communicate the message we wanted to deliver in an emotional way, so it’s less about genre than about the audience experience.”
Postcard from Earth opens on October 6 at Las Vegas’ The Sphere. Tickets are now on sale.
Check out a behind the scenes look below.