Click here to read J.R. Jones’s review of last night’s screening of The Master at the Music Box.

Last night, Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film The Master screened before a packed house at the Music Box Theatre in Lakeview. Although the film is highly anticipated and has yet to have its proper theatrical release, last night’s screening was no mere “sneak preview.” In fact, it was a rare opportunity—likely the only one Chicagoans will have had for a while—to see the film as it was meant to be seen: on 70-millimeter film stock, presented on a massive screen.

How did this happen? It all started with a blog post by Time Out Chicago film critic Ben Kenigsberg, who was curious as to whether The Master, which Anderson shot using 65-millimeter film, would screen as such when it was released in theaters this September. (If you’re wondering where the extra five millimeters went, 65-millimeter film stock requires an additional five millimeters of magnetic stripping to hold four of the film’s six audio tracks, thus bumping it up to 70-millimeter). After some research, he learned that the Music Box, one of Chicago’s most popular art-house theaters, had a projector that was capable of running 70-millimeter and was more than willing to screen the film in this format. To make a long story short, one thing led to another and the Music Box, with the help of the Film Foundation (more on them later), was able to procure a 70-millimeter print of the film.