Netflix cuts The Hateful Eight Extended Version into four 50-minute episodes. Directed by Quentin Tarantino, the 2015 western thriller is available to stream in its original form, however the April 25 addition of the longer cut shows that Netflix lists the film as a "Season."
Distributed by The Weinstein Company, The Hateful Eight chronicles the meeting of eight strangers during a blizzard. Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, and Jennifer Jason Leigh headline the film, though it features an accomplished ensemble cast of supporting players like Channing Tatum and Bruce Dern. Produced for approximately $44 to $54 million, The Hateful Eight earned over $155 million at the box office and earned three Oscar nominations, with the iconic composer Ennio Morricone winning for Best Film Score. Like all Tarantino films, The Hateful Eight made headlines for its controversial racial and gender-related themes, and the film's release preceded the downfall of Harvey Weinstein. The Hateful Eight was originally intended to be a sequel to Tarantino’s 2012 western Django Unchained, and a script was leaked in 2014. Ultimately, the final version mostly resonated with fans and critics alike, as The Hateful Eight currently has a 74 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating and a 76 percent audience score.
Today, Netflix released The Hateful Eight Extended Version and lists the film as a four-part season rather than a 210-minute film. “Season 1” begins with the “episode” entitled “Last Stage to Red Rock,” which is followed by the subsequent episodes “Minnie’s Haberdashery,” “Domergue’s Got a Secret,” and “The Last Chapter.” Under the “More Like This” section, The Hateful Eight is unsurprisingly correlated with the original film, in addition to the Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, the latter of which is a six-chapter anthology film that Netflix didn’t separate into various sections. Under Netflix’s “Details” tab for The Hateful Eight, the streaming service notes that Tarantino’s film is “Gritty” and “Controversial.” On Twitter, it didn’t take long for people to express their concern about Netflix’s decisions to chop up The Hateful Eight into four episodes.
The Hateful Eight originally released on Christmas Day 2015. For many, it was a cinematic event, as Tarantino’s film received a roadshow 70mm film release. For context, Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2012 film The Master also screened in 70mm, making it the first fiction film to have such a release since Kenneth Branagh’s 1996 film Hamlet.
For Netflix, the decision to break apart the The Hateful Eight Extended Version will fuel the debate about the differences between a theatrical viewing experience and a domestic streaming experience. Steven Spielberg has been on record many times about his concern for Netflix’s distribution model, though the streaming service is reportedly set to acquire the famous Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, allowing for weekend theatrical screenings of Netflix Originals. Even if the “Season” version of The Hateful Eight may not seem problematic, it’s definitely not a good look for Netflix.