Sunday, August 23, 2009

Three Deee!

There's been discussions here and elsewhere about whether movies in three dimesions are just a flash on the silver screen, as in the 1950s, or will have staying power. Personally, I think the question has already been answered, what with all the 3-D features already in the pipeline and marketplace.

Until now, of course, those pictures have mainly been animation and mo cap. But I think the question is about to be answered as regards live action:

Screenings of 16 minutes of footage from "Avatar" were held across the country in 102 Imax locations and in 238 additional theaters overseas ...

The reason behind Fox's decision to mount "Avatar Day" was two-fold: To whip up a fan base among moviegoers and encourage theater owners to install more 3-D screens before "Avatar" opens Dec. 28 ...

Fox's 3-D toon "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" has grossed $615 million at the international B.O., the most of any film this year and surpassing "Titanic" in a handful of Latin American markets. On "Ice Age 3's" opening weekend, the 3-D screens repped only 18% of the total theater count, but made up more than 35% of the gross, at least ...

21st century Three Dee has already lasted way longer than the dimensional movie splurge of 55 years ago. And the box office returns are now way too pronounced for any of the conglomerates to ignore the technology.

It won't be long before 3-D features are the rule instead of the exception. (I'm not sure this is necessarily a good thing; the three dee product I've seen hasn't bothered me, but it seems a tad ... I donno ... gimmicky. Of course, it doesn't really matter what old fuds -- of which I'm a member in good standing -- think is good. It's all about what the prime movie-going audience likes, and it appears to like 3-D quite a lot.)

Last week I talked to some of the crew that is working on the dimensional reboot of Beauty and the Beast at Disney. When I mentioned semi-facetiously that I couldn't wait for the 3-D versions of Gone With the Wind, Wizard of Oz and Casablanca to roll out, one of the artists said to me:

"After working on Beauty and seeing what's being done with it, I think it would be kind of neat to work on those old pictures and make them into 3-D. The process is getting easier and more powerful all the time, and I think maybe it will happen."

If the studios sniff money to be made in reconfiguring old productions ... and the cost for doing it is low enough ... I have few doubts that at some point we'll see Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion and the rest of the Oz posse prancing down the yellow brick road in glorious Three Dee.

The quest for increasing cash flow and profit margins, after all, is eternal.

10 comments:

Floyd Norman said...

Surprise, surprise! Looks like this 3D thing is actually going to stick this time around. That's fine with me, even though I have no interest in seeing films this way.

While they're at it, maybe Disney can cook up a 3D version of "The Jungle Book."

Disney is really good at selling us what we already own -- or have already have seen.

Anonymous said...

3D is just a way for them to charge 15.00 or more a ticket which is insane. then they will tell you the glasses cost a lot (2-3 dollars actually). then why not keep the glasses and have a separate charge for anyone that needs a pair. as it is they ask you to turn them in after you have paid for them. maybe they will be useful when the U.S. gets polarized television sets some time next year.

g said...

Ive said it before and Ill say it again:

Sure, 3D is a tad gimmicky, but what I love about 3D films is that not only do I get to see it in 3D, but I also get to see it digitally projected, which is definitely worth the money for CG animated films, since that's its native format.

Anonymous said...

You know, a 3D Wizard of Oz isn't all that bad an idea...imagine the twister scene in 3D...that could seriously rock...

Neal said...

I hate wearing the glasses. They are fuzzy around the edges and feel so foreign, since I'm not a glasses-wearer (or even contacts).

I await the day when they perfect glasses-less 3D projection.

That's the revolution I'm excited for.

Anonymous said...

I think the main reason 3-D will last longer this time around is because the movies and stories aren't reliant on the gimmick. They're pretty good movies and stories without the gimmick. And they're not filled with spears, fists, lions and monsters flying into camera, poking the audience in the face. The current use of 3-D is supplementary to the movie and story and isn't upstaging the action. UP is a good example. Appropriate, intelligent use of 3-D is very pleasing.

The thing I look forward to is holographic movies in a rotating round theater with synchronized motion simulation built into the seats. Yahoo!

Anonymous said...

Why anyone would bust their arses to make a good film only to have both projection and glasses dim the contrast and brightness up to 30% is beyond me. Does anyone care about the image anymore?

Jhon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The 30% figure is either less noticeable than 30% sounds, or it's not really 30%. It feels only like 10-15%.

Paul Burrows said...

I hate this 3D trend. The picture is dimmer and its hardly noticable that theres even a 3 dimentional effect. My 4 year old usually won't even keep his glasses on and it costs 2 or three dollars more. I hope that it dies again.

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