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Does Deep Breath Really Deserve a Theatrical Release?

Guest contributor Garrett Castello takes a look.

deep-breath-cinema

It was recently announced that the feature-length Series 8 premiere, Deep Breath, will be getting a release in theaters to coincide with its debut on television. Opinions about this have been fairly divisive since the announcement was made. So, does Peter Capaldi’s first official episode really deserve to follow in the steps of The Day of the Doctor and make an appearance on the silver screen? I’m going to give a rundown of the arguments for and against this and then wrap things up with my own personal thoughts on the matter.

Why It Does

Doctor Who: Series 8: Episode 1Deep Breath is certainly going to be an important episode. Not only is it simply the first episode of Series 8 but it’s also the first full episode to feature Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor. The debut episode of a new Doctor is always an important occasion with plenty of significance to back it up. Looking at it further, Deep Breath can also be seen as the beginning of a new chapter in the Doctor’s life as he’s at the beginning of a new regeneration cycle. Everything from An Unearthly Child to The Time of the Doctor was the first chapter. The story of the Doctor’s life throughout his first regeneration cycle. Doctor Who: Part 1. Whatever you wish to call it. Deep Breath is the start of Part 2. A new Doctor. A new regeneration cycle. A new objective for which the Doctor is striving for: Gallifrey. It seems fitting the the beginning of this second chapter is finding its place on the big screen.

Secondly, due to The Day of the Doctor‘s success in theaters, there’s been plenty of talk about Doctor Who finding its place in cinema. Deep Breath could very well be the beginning of the show’s integration into the world of cinema depending on its success. It’ll not only provide Whovians with yet another chance to experience Doctor Who on the big screen but it could also prove to be a good entry point for new fans. If Deep Breath proves to be a theatrical success like The Day of the Doctor, we could very well start seeing future big episodes of the show get theatrical releases. We might start seeing feature-length Doctor Who specials appear in cinemas during the long breaks between series. Maybe even 90-120 minute Doctor Who films!

Why It Doesn’t

Series-8-TV-launch-trailer-(11)While Deep Breath is definitely an important episode, it obviously isn’t as big of a milestone as the 50th anniversary of the show. It may be a significant debut episode for a new Doctor but there have been significant Doctor debuts in the past and none of them received the theatrical treatment. Not the first episode of both the revival series and Christopher Eccleston’s era as the Ninth Doctor nor Paul McGann’s introduction as the Eighth Doctor in the 1996 film. If those two significant Doctor debuts didn’t get a spot in cinemas, why should Deep Breath get the special treatment?

Secondly, this cheapens the significance of the 50th anniversary special a bit. The 50th anniversary of Doctor Who was a huge achievement and one worthy being celebrated on the big screen. But now, a mere two episodes later, we have an episode that’s of equal length, being simulcast, and getting a theatrical release. This makes the release of the 50th anniversary special appear less unique. Besides, there’s no guarantee that Deep Breath will be as big of a success as The Day of the Doctor was. Plenty of Whovians prefer to watch Doctor Who within the comfort of their own home; and the debut appearance of a new Doctor probably won’t have as much of a hook to the mainstream audience as the 50th anniversary of the show did.

Where I Stand

Personally, I’m neutral about the whole thing. I can understand why people are both for and against this. As of now, I’m planning on watching Deep Breath at home. But if a friend of mine really wanted to see it in the theater and they invited me to come see it with them, I wouldn’t refuse. There’s certainly something pretty magical about watching Doctor Who appear on the big screen and I’m happy that we Whovians now have the opportunity to experience this. Whether you’re in favor of this or not, you’ve got to admit that it’s pretty special that our show will have now had two of its episodes be released in theaters. How many other shows today have managed to surpass the realm of television and have their episodes appear on the silver screen? Not that many. And that just goes to show just how special Doctor Who really is.

In the end, it doesn’t matter whether you’re enjoying Doctor Who on your living room couch, in a theater seat, or even in front of your computer. What matters is that we’re all celebrating a show that is most definitely worth celebrating in our own different, special ways.

Step back in time...

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231 comments
Maiden_Ty_One
Maiden_Ty_One

I honestly cannot fathom why anyone could possibly be 'against' such a thing; if you don't like the idea of seeing it in a cinema, then don't go see it in a cinema. Simple. It's not like the people seeing it in cinemas are getting it any earlier, it's going out at the same time as the BBC showing. 


As for it cheapening the 50th.....ugh. How? How does it 'cheapen' the 50th? Was it 'being shown in cinemas' that made the 50th the achievement it was? Or was that a side effect OF it being the achievement it was? Any moron can work out the correct answer to that.


Plus, the 50th wasn't THAT good anyway...

RomseyKeith
RomseyKeith

At the cinema you don't just get to see the episode on the big screen. You also get a live Q and A with Peter Capaldi. It's an added bonus. And judging from the trailers, it looks to feature some very good special effects.

Malohkeh
Malohkeh

Seeing it in theaters will just be a bit of fun for the fans who want to go. I think the same would be true with any episode, special or not.

shanetoner00
shanetoner00

This will give the show the money they need for cgi think how many people will be watching who then this could be the start of something big

SteveWillis
SteveWillis

Not really. But, if it's a way to gauge how profitable it might be to do a feature length Doctor Who film again, I don't oppose it. Generates hype etc...



Tbmferris
Tbmferris

Come on everyone. In the grand scheme of things whether Deep Breath deserves to be in movie theaters really all that important? No, it's not. Some people like the atmosphere of going to the movies. Some people like to stay home, sit in their favorite chair and watch the show. This is nothing for folks to get so worked up over.

VinnieBartilucci
VinnieBartilucci

The episode being "Good enough" to be shown in theaters is not the point.  The theatrical releases are intended to whip the fans up into a frenzy, and to get publicity for the show in general, In the hopes that new people may check it out,.  They've done Theater showings in New York for years, including the premieres for the last two or three Smith seasons.


The only one that "Cheapened" the experience was the recent presentation of Return of the Cubermen / The Age of Steel, which was primarily done to push the new documentary Tennant had narrated.  That had no sense of occasion at all, and I known of nobody who bothered.

Julian_Prime73
Julian_Prime73

I'm sorry but this kind of questioning winds me up big time. Who are we to say it doesn't? When Who was cancelled you would have bitten someone's hand off if they offered you a new ep premiering in a cinema! I went to Day. The atmos was electric. This time I'll be at Leicester Sq with the q & a after and I can't wait. These are halcyon days. Rejoice not bicker and whine. I only mildly liked Who in the classic days. Even then it's concept was better than the execution. Budgets etc. I fell in love in 2005 but I've never known a more moany group of hardcore fans of anything. Not all obviously but wow. Some people will not be pleased happy and grateful. I am.

cyberbrayde
cyberbrayde

I don't think it cheapens Day of the Doctor. Day of the Doctor was bold, fresh and anew. It showed the future. And Deep Breath IS the future. Though I'll be missing 3D, nothing is cooler than a room of enthusiastic, energetic, weird-looking but great-looking, Doctor Who fans. As Moffat said in an interview for Day of the Doctor, TV will still be TV. It's just giving the fans the opportunity to experience it in multiple ways. Again, Doctor Who is for everyone. It's the longest running sci-fi show in the world. And there's a reason why. Because it endeavors into the hearts of people. It's still Doctor Who. And we'll still love it!


Deathvalleydemon
Deathvalleydemon

I had contemplated attending my local cinema to support this, but when they are charging £13.00 + fees for tickets it has put me off.

I have a 52' tv anyway and it will look glorious on that.

I just hope by the time it is on the tv the doctor has got used to the colour of his kidneys!!!

ShadGray
ShadGray

In the end, it's not so much a matter if Deep Breath is "cinema worthy". The simple truth is that these events are a chance for fans of the show to gather together. Obviously, we all hope the episode is a worthy entry, but in the end... those of us that will be going are doing it because it's a chance to enjoy it in the company of other like-minded people. It's why people crowd into pubs to watch sporting matches.

GRANDMARSHALL
GRANDMARSHALL

"The Day Of The Doctor" was a huge success Because of the long build up and acticipation,curiousity and most Importantly the Return of David Tennant and Billie Piper. High rating for "The Day Of The Doctor BECAUSE of the HYPE and CURIOUSITY) is the reason for its Huge Ratings success ,SO LETS BE CLEAR AND REALISTIC ON WHY IT WATCHED BY SO MANY. The BBC STYLE IS MUCH LIKE THE WAY A CLIFF HANGER WORKS,The fans want to tune in because they are curious of whats going to happen "Deep Breath the 1st episode of series 8 has all the elements to Play on fans curousity So The BBC surely does know what They are doing to milk the cow and to cash in . WILL "Deep "Breath be a hit? I can not see how it would not be a great episode, .However if series 8 proves to be less then a smash hit, I really think the next change should be a new showrunner! (Note to The BBC, A NEW SHOWRUNNER WILL SURELY MAKE THE RATINGS IN SERIES 9 SHOOT THROUGH THE ROOF AND HIGHER THEN EVER BEFORE! THINK ABOUT THAT BBC BOSSMAN LOL!)

The Whoniversal Man
The Whoniversal Man

"If those two significant Doctor debuts didn’t get a spot in cinemas, why should Deep Breath get the special treatment?" 
I feel as though that's tantamount to asking "If every episode of Series 7 aired on the same day in the US as in the UK, then why didn't Series 1 appear on US television until 2006?" Clearly, the show's ever-booming stature amid world audiences has facilitated its ability to have anything shown on cinema screens at all. I'm pretty sure that if the show's current audience and budget were yet identical to their state in 1983, "The Day of the Doctor" would have gotten treatment little beyond that of "The Five Doctors." 
Nevertheless, I acknowledge that the cinema appearance of "Deep Breath" does somewhat undercut the 50th Anniversary Special's uniqueness, but I hardly see this as outweighing the value for the countless many fans who are no doubt thrilled at the prospect to share in another particularly large-scale and communal Doctor Who gathering to commemorate another milestone, whatever its nature. And as for those who prefer to view Doctor Who from the comfort of their own homes (and sofas)... well, that's hardly being ruled out as an option!

mblue247c
mblue247c

I like the idea of having it in theaters/cinemas (I'm American, so I'll use theaters). It's a great opportunity for Whovians to get together and celebrate something together, especially those who can't travel to and/or afford cons. I was hilariously excited to find that my city was going to be included until I looked at the date. My biggest critique of how "Deep Breath" is being released is it is only being simulcast in select, larger cities, while the "general" showings are occurring days later, on a Monday night. As a student, attending this is impossible, as I've got to get up for classes in the morning, and it's not worth paying $12 to go see the episode again when I've already seen it on BBC America. I'd jump at the chance to see Doctor Who in theaters on a Friday, Saturday, or even Sunday afternoon (read: the day the episode is released), but Monday evening isn't going to happen.

Oodkind
Oodkind

I think it's fine that it's in cinemas. Day of the Doctor was the first in theaters, yes, and perhaps more will make it seem less special, but just because it hadn't happened before doesn't mean it should never happen again. I would have liked to see The Eleventh Hour in theaters, too, as well as Rose, The End of Time, and all those "important" episodes, but the show simply wasn't popular enough to make a good profit.

I'm not planning to go, I don't need to spend the time, but I don't oppose the idea. It makes the show more popular and it gives fans a chance to get together. I really don't see what people have against it.

SirTrey
SirTrey

I don't mind one way or the other; while I'm not planning to go (time and money), it would likely be pretty cool to see on the big screen and I'd be very excited if it helped lead to a feature of some sort, or even something like an "Easter Special" between seasons.  
















Regarding why previous episodes weren't there - specifically the two examples cited - there was likely a contractual reason for the 8th Doctor's tv movie since it was made specifically for FOX, an American network.  As for "Rose", nobody knew if the show was going to be a success and launching in cinemas would've been an extremely bold maneuver.

















Polyphase
Polyphase

I don't really mind either way, As long as it doesn't become the most important thing. If it was a choice of cinema releases or more episodes, I would go more episodes please :)

brianmaybug
brianmaybug

I think the crux of the matter is that Deep Breath is feature length i.e. the length of a movie, if the bbc have put the effort in to get Mr Wheatley to direct it and made it movie length then why not give us fans the option to watch it on the big screen surrounded by other fans? I'm glad that Doctor Who is such rude health that we can do this these days! Seriously, who thought a few years ago that we would be watching Doctor Who in 3D or the 12th doctors feature length debut on the big screen? Rejoice whovians, its all good x

TheNightmareChild is LISTENing!
TheNightmareChild is LISTENing!

Unless the episode was shot in Cinema 4K, one big reason why watching it cinemas might be a problem is because the image quality would be pretty bad.  Unless it's being shown on a really small screen or something.

Tbmferris
Tbmferris

I have amazon prime also. But it's still fun to go to the movies and see it. I watch it again as soon as I can download it.

DDBlue
DDBlue

It amazes me anyone is against a cinema release. I mean, is the argument really that only the 50th is special enough? Do fans really what the BBC to sit around making sure nothing they do is as cool or awesome as the 50th.. because I guess if fans want the BBC to strive for mediocre, they could do...but wouldn't it be a sad day for DW?

The Living Angel
The Living Angel

I don't understand why anybody would be against it. If you dont want to watch it in the cineman then dont. Personally I wish that every episode was screened in cinema, I would pay to watch all of them and if by chance I can't make every episode then I would watch it at home. To say that it would somehow diminsh the importance of the 50th also makes no sense to me, in fact I see it as quite the opposite. It is because of the success of the 50th.



Ipad_lad157689
Ipad_lad157689

It definitely wasn't as good as Day of the Doctor, which was what I think should be the standard for cinema releases :/


Captain Grumpy
Captain Grumpy

I see why "The Day Of The Doctor" was in cinema, it was the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who!

And i still see why "Deep Breath" should be in cinema as well, it is a new start for the Doctor.

Sure there are alot of episodes you could pick out that should have been in cinema:

An Unearthly Child- First ever episode

The Tenth Planet- First ever regeneration

Rose- The first episode of "New Who"

Bad Wolf/ The Parting Of The Ways- The first regeneration of "New Who"

The Time Of The Doctor- The end of (What Garrett said) Doctor Who- Part 1

But "Deep Breath" is going to see the Doctor starting a new set of regenerations and how he copes with it and how different he is, but it is also a new start and, again, as Garrett quoted "The start of Doctor Who- Part 2" and this is definately a milestone like the 50th anniversary and, in a way, it is as important as without this Doctor Who could have ended with Matt (Seriously doubt it) but this will see a more darker Doctor like The War Doctor.

So in my opinion i think "Deep Breath" desearves to be in cinema as it marks a new start for Doctor Who.

robdw
robdw

Why are we treating a cinema showing like it's some super sacred ~symbol of ultimate prestige~? It's just a fun way to watch Doctor Who that went down a blast last time!


It worked great, made the BBC money, and as they've got another feature length episode on their hands, arguments against it are... kind of inane!

Unibot
Unibot

I think these sentiments more surround the "rule-making" of fandom + the "diminishing" fears of fandom. One 'anniversary' (vaguely) was celebrated with multiple doctors, now *every* anniversary presumably should be celebrated with multiple doctors. One doctor had a new sonic screwdriver, so presumably every doctor should have a new sonic screwdriver. One regeneration story was a "swan song", so presumably every regeneration story should be a swan song. That's just rampant rule-making that fans do internally.  Now some may argue that because we saw the 50th in cinemas, only these major anniversaries are appropriate for cinema-watching. 

In all actuality, we've seen DW in the cinemas only once - it was a raging success. Television broadcasters are starting to  understand the power of that special fan/event experience that cinema showings can bring to premieres and finales - DW has led this trend, but GoT has followed up on it. 



Moreover, fans tend to be concerned about "diminishing returns", always worried about doing something more than once because it might "diminish" the last - like returning Gallifrey or blowing up the Tardis or bringing back so and so. You got to live in the here and now and judge something by the quality of what's on the screen, big or small, not based on what it says about something from an earlier work. Take a 'deep breath' of fresh existential air, sit down, have fun with friends and fellow Whovians and enjoy the showing guilt-free! 

I know I've got my ticket - I had a blast at the last showing, despite having terrible seats and I will probably have a blast at this showing. ^^



Skylord Maldon
Skylord Maldon

Im going to remain in the middle, but I think certain episodes deserve a spot in the cimemas. These would be New Doctor stories, regeneration stories, and milestone stories like the 50th. These would be the big stories, I also think just as a stardard, any episode shown in a cinema has to be 75 mins long, could be me being cheap with my cash but I am not going out for an evening just to see a show for 45 mins to an hour :)

ClaraOswald
ClaraOswald

I'm sort of neutral too. On one side, it might be the only way for me to watch the episode legally in my own country (I'm Norwegian and Doctor Who isn't broadcast here, no news from cinemas yet though). On the other hand, although the episode is special, it's not THAT special. So yeah. I'm neutral.

CosmicSyzygy
CosmicSyzygy

I think it should be celebrated that Doctor Who has become a cinematic adventure, and I don't think having Deep Breath in cinemas makes the 50th any less special. The fact is that the Doctor Who fandom continues to grow, allowing for the desire to get together and view these special moments as an audience. That's a wonderful thing. The 50th proved that it can be done with commercial success. Obviously, they won't go about airing every single episode in cinemas, but for big things like this, I think it's absolutely valid to want to have a special experience for seeing it. Other people may be perfectly fine with viewing it on their tv or online, but there are those of us who want to share the experience with others. In some places, it's hard to find many opportunities to get together with other Whovians. These events allow for fans to cosplay and socialize. What's so bad about that? Nothing.

Castrovalva
Castrovalva

I would go, if it was not during our family holiday.  (Two of us are keen, but it would mean driving 4 hours there and 4 hours back again.... )

awkward912
awkward912

All I can say is I never seriously considered seeing Day of the Doctor in the cinema, due to 3D and a certainty that I'd get annoyed be people overreacting to jokes/surprises/David Tennant. But I am seeing Deep Breath in the cinema, for the experience in a slightly more low-key environment and the extra features. I'm hoping this will set a precedent for doing so on a semi-regular basis, thus also ensuring longer/double-length episodes every so often. It's academic to say "why weren't 1996/Rose/Eleventh Hour special enough for this"; they were, but the brand wasn't strong enough at that time. Now it is, so let's take advantage.

King Joffery
King Joffery

I didn't see the Day of the Doctor in cinemas and I don`t know whether or not to go to see Deep Breath at the cinemas, What was it like seeing it on the big screen? 

Strontium
Strontium

Solution to this is to have a home cinema ;) I think the real reason is that the BBC get more money out of it.

drjakeyoung
drjakeyoung

Got tickets at my local cinema. Hopefully I'm the only one with tickets, that would be awesome!!

TheSoundofDrums
TheSoundofDrums

Great article Garrett. Well written and your own views, as well as elaborating on other people's views, was nicely brought across in a way that really explained the pros and cons in an enjoyable and caring way. You really show passion towards the show which is a nice thing to see of late. Fantastic job.

I for one will be watching Deep Breath at the cinema with my girlfriend. I missed out on seeing The Day of the Doctor on the silver screen and so didn't wish to miss out on this opportunity. I feel that although Deep Breath isn't as deserving as The Day of the Doctor I can see the strong pros towards this direction. It makes the show seem grand in scale, above pretty much the rest of television in terms of its ambition. Not many shows can say they've gone to the big screen even once, never mind twice. It's a great new direction for the show and I would love for this opportunity to keep sending the show further into new heights and acclaim.

Possible Girl
Possible Girl

I'm going to see it in the cinema but I live in America so I might be seeing it on the small screen first. If it wasn't going to be on the big screen I wouldn't have a problem with it, though.

Julian_Prime73
Julian_Prime73

Actually that's very true. It is disgraceful on cost. Cost me £60 for 2 tickets to Leicester Sq! At least the team will be there tho.

brianmaybug
brianmaybug

I'm no expert but i think it will look ok.. Have you heard bad feedback from people who saw tdotd in the cinema? I imagine Deep Breath will have been shot on similar cameras etc..

Luna23
Luna23

@Captain Grumpy To be honest, the issue of the BBC taking this thing to the cinema isn't half as fascinating as the herculean efforts of so many to find epic-ness where there is none. It is the first episode of a new doctor......nothing more, nothing less.  Well, except for the level of celebrity of the new Doctor.

The Whoniversal Man
The Whoniversal Man

@Unibot Well said... I think you're absolutely right! Doctor Who should never be constrained by arbitrary precedents at the whim of an overly fretful corner of the fanbase. If it were, I doubt the show could ever have survived so long and grown so much. Whatever else it might have been, I'm sure it wouldn't have long remained what we all recognize as Doctor Who!

CosmicSyzygy
CosmicSyzygy

@King Joffery I personally really enjoyed it. If you like the experience of going to the cinema and wouldn't mind meeting other Whovians, I would highly recommend it. There is also said to be 15 minutes of bonus material in the cinema showings of Deep Breath. They had bonus stuff for Day of the Doctor as well.

Castrovalva
Castrovalva

@Possible Girl Loads of theaters in the US are showing this!  I know as I checked since I will be down south on holiday at the time.

TheNightmareChild is LISTENing!
TheNightmareChild is LISTENing!

@brianmaybug No, I haven't heard any bad feedback or anything.  I just mean that it's just like any other digital video: if you stretch a video out to make it fit a larger screen size, you inevitably lose some resolution.

BazHood
BazHood

@CosmicSyzygy @King Joffery yup, there's a five minute prequel, which will eventually be on the series boxset I presume and a 10 minute behind the scenes thing. And a live Q&A from Londinium :D

Mr Timey Wimey
Mr Timey Wimey

@TheNightmareChild sees into your soul! @brianmaybug A regular cinema screen is designed for 2K/1080p content whereas IMAX is designed for 4K. So of course if it was shown in IMAX then you'd have an issue, but it isn't so it'll be fine.

I didn't see DotD in the cinema, but I will be seeing Deep Breath and I'm not concerned about the presentation.