Check this interview of Leon Vitalli :
One of the areas of greatest debate in the DVD community is about aspect ratios. The two films that people talk about the most in terms of aspect ratio are Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut, maybe because those are the ones that have been seen theatrical by the DVD buying audience. But people will go through kind of frame by frame and say "In the trailer of Eyes Wide Shut, you can see a sign on the street that you can't see on the full frame video. You can see an extra character…" So how do you address the differences between the theatrical releases of Eyes Wide Shut and of Full Metal Jacket in the DVD releases?
The original video release of Full Metal Jacket was in the supervised hands and owned by Stanley. The thing about Stanley, he was a photographer. That's how he started. He had a still photographer's eye. So when he composed a picture through the camera, he was setting up for what he saw through the camera - the full picture. That was very important to him. It really was. It was an instinct that never ever left him. What he wanted the videos to reflect was how he shot the film through the camera, what was on the original neg and what his composition when he was shooting it was. That's why Full Metal Jacket is in full frame. If people looked, okay? What you get on the video that you didn't get in the theatrical because of the 185 masking, was what Stanley was invisioning. You assume these soldiers in the world that they're in. And he uses wide angle uses to shoot. I mean an 18 millimeter lens was the commonest one. He used 24 sometimes. Wide angle lenses. It was important to him the relationship between things. You can see in Full Metal Jacket how small the people were in relation to this huge landscape.
The thing with Eyes Wide Shot, it was how he saw the thing through the camera and how he set it up. That's what he wanted to reflect in his videos. He did not like 1.85:1. You lose 27% of the picture on 1.85. Stanley was a purist. This was one of the ways it was manifested.
If full frame was so important why didn't Kubrick release them theatrically that way?
After Barry Lyndon, more and more theaters were showing films 1.85 or in Cinemascope even if it wasn't shot that way. He had no control. He couldn't go around every cinema and say "You show this film in 1.66" as you could with Clockwork Orange, because then the projectors had 1.66 mask. With multi-plexes things are different and so they only show a film in 1.85 or in 2.21, the Cinemascope. You know? You cannot put a mask in 1.66 as it should be for Clockwork Orange. You can't put a 1.77 in as it should be for Barry Lyndon and that's what Stanley understood with The Shining onwards. He realized that his films we're going to be shown in 1.85 whether he liked it or not. You can't tell all the theaters now how to show your movies. They say it's 1.85, that's it. Stanley realized that masking for 1.85 would far outweigh having 1.66 projected at 1.85. We did a re-release of Clockwork in the U.K. and it's 1.66. It's composed for 1.66. It's shot in 1.66, and the whole shebang. Well, you know, they had to screen it in 1.85. I can't tell you how much it hurt that film.
That must have been awful.
It's horrible. It's horrible. It's heartbreaking. I mean, it's heartbreaking. You realize that when we got to The Shining, this was after the release of Barry Lyndon, this is how it was all being done. He realized that the best thing he could do is to at least do it so that he understood that beside the 1.85 frame line, they were going to have the composition that he would want you to see. From The Shining and Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut, Stanley had marks on the camera lens so he could see where the 1.85 lines. He composed his shots for 1.66, which is the full screen, but he wouldn't be hurt by going to 1.85 if he had to do it.
So he did the reverse of what most directors do, who look at the 'TV Safe Area', Stanley looked at the '1.85 Safe Area'.