Monday, February 05, 2007

The Coming 3-D Glut

And we're not talking about the much-discussed overabundance of CGI animation, but movies filmed in right eye/left eye formats...

If the weekend VARIETY is to be believed, the three-dimensional movie experience -- percolating along these past few years -- is about to expand in a big way:

Bring out those goofy glasses: 3-D is back.

While there are only 250 screens in the world now equipped to show the format, that number should doulbe in the next two months -- and quadruple by the end of 2007.

In the past few years, 3-D has proven popular on a limited number of Imax screens, where screenings of pics such as Superman Returns and The Polar Express regularly have outgrossed their 2-D counterparts. Studios are now betting hundreds of millions of dollars on the expansion of new technology that works on any screen with a digital cinema system...

Studios are banking on 3-D in a variety of formats: animation (Meet the Robinsons), motion capture (the Robert Zemeckis-helmed Beowulf)...and even revivals (1993 'toon The Nightmare Before Christmas is now an annual event in 3-D...)

What this means (and why I bring it up here) is that there's a fine chance this rush to more stereoptican motion pictures will push cgi animation to the forefront of film producers' minds. As VARIETY notes:

...[T]here's already evidence that digital 3-D can help to boost B.O. Disney's "Chicken Little" grossed three times as much per play on 3-D screens as on traditional screens. The ratio of Sony's "Monster House" was closer to fourfold.

Perhaps the most impressive showing came from "The Nightmare Before Christmas 3-D." Last fall, Disney re-released the 14-year-old pic with a 3-D upgrade and grossed more than $8 million at 168 locations, opening with a per-play average of nearly $20,000. (Overseas, it made an additional $2.8 million.) This fall, the Mouse House is hoping to make a lot more money, since it will be able to release the pic at between 750 and 1,000 playdates.

So, as the mainstream media moves away from the mantra "too many 'toons diminishes animated box office," it takes up the idea that the expanding number of 3-D screens will benefit cgi animation.

Here's hoping.


MrFun said...

Okay, I get it.

If you can't make good movies, then come up with better gimmicks.

Steve Hulett said...

Hey ho. Anything to keep grosses up.

John Wayne made Hondo in 3-D. Why not all the toons?

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