Monday, February 15, 2010

A Three Dee Crash and Burn?

The question I have: Is this gimmick going to collapse of its own weight?

Hollywood studios, juiced by the success of "Avatar," are tripping over each other to release movies in 3-D. In the process, they risk overloading multiplexes, which are equipped to handle only a portion of the 3-D pack at a time.

More than 20 3-D releases are scheduled already for this year, and additional titles are expected to be announced. Costly productions could wind up cannibalizing each other as they jostle for screens. As of the beginning of the year, less than 10% of the U.S.'s roughly 40,000 screens were 3-D enabled

The whole Three Dee explosion was as predictable as the sun coming up in the east this morning.

As soon as Avatar and all the animated features began making huge money, the stampede to stereo viewing got serious. Like for instance:

"There are dozens of projects that are being looked at right now for last-minute 3-D conversion to be released in 2010," says Chris Bond, who heads up the 3-D team at Prime Focus, the special-effects company working on "Clash." but has never before converted a major feature film into 3-D. "A lot of studio executives are going to look at 'Clash,' and if it works—then 3-D conversion will explode."

Brace yourself for a big explosion.

Before it's all over, the congloms will turn every movie this side of Birth of a Nation into a dimensional extravaganza, because the blood is now n the water and the big finned fish are having a feeding frenzy. And when the cloudy red water finally clears, audiences will have become sick of all the sh*tty Three Dee (and alot of the "good" Three Dee along with it) and grosses will slide.

And then the corporate hand-wringing will start. "What the hell happened?! It's Three Deee! Why aren't the rubes coming anymore!?"

There will be angst. There will be recriminations. A little while after that, all eyes will turn to Jim Cameron to find out what the Next Big Thing will be, and the next stampede will commence.


Anonymous said...

I just want to watch a good movie. I don't care if it's in 3D or not.

Anonymous said...

Bond is already behind the times, it already has exploded. There are a number of 3D conversions being completed in Korea and other lower cost markets already. But it's boring work though...roto and paint, roto and paint, rinse and repeat.

On the other hand, sure it might have been a little before it's time stereoscopic-wise, but Animal Logic lost a lot of money when they tried to convert Happy Feet into 3D. In the end, due to poor pipelines and setups they gave up.

Anonymous said...

hollywood execs are a bunch of lemmings.

as soon as someone makes a great sock puppet feature they will drop 3D in a second and chase the next big thing, exploit it to death for coin and then complain when the coffers run dry.

story rules...

Dorseytunes said...

My kids and I watched Coroline in 3D. We agreed we'd rather have watched it in 2D. Now that "How To Train Your Dragon" is 3D...we're burned out. :<

Like what was said before. Forget the gimmicks and lets just have a good story.

Anonymous said...

Gloom and doom, is that all you sell here Steve?

Hows about getting the minimum rates improved? The crunch under control? Employee contracts at Disney?

I know, I know, just pay my dues and shut up.

Justin said...

We went to see Percy Jackson & the Olympians yesterday, and my son ask "do we have to wear glasses" I didn't really understand what he meant at first. Then I realized he meant 3D glasses. I then told we are not watching a 3D show. With a loud voice he yes! then he proceeded to tell me how he doesn't like watching those shows with the glasses. I thought it was cute, but I don't think we will be going to any more 3D movies as a family anymore.

Anonymous said...

I just cannot WAIT for "Sophies Choice" in 3D! And then ALL of the Merchant-Ivory films...

Visual artist said...

Anon above:
"story rules..."

YES!!! That's what I've been trying to tell everyone, but they won't listen. AVATAR was all about the AMAZING story!!!

You could put Avatar on as a radio play, and it would STILL make billions, because it's the greatest story ever written!

C'mon, am I right, or am I right?!?!

Story rules, right guys? Who's with me?!


Now what am I going to do as a visual artist? Guess I don't mean anything since it's story that matters over anything visual.

Gee. If only I could find a VISUAL medium, where the visuals matter, and creating fantastic beautiful imagery that soars and uplifts the spirit actually could make enough money that I could be employed in that field. Gee. I wonder what industry THAT'd be?

Anonymous said...

Cameron's last movie Titanic was a huge hit, mainly because it was in 3D. No, wait...

Anonymous said...

Hows about getting the minimum rates improved?

The minimum rates have been pushed up steadily in every contract since forever. Not high enough for you? Were you and all your peers ready to go on strike last contact to make them higher? No, actually, over 90% of the membership has ratified every recent contract.

The crunch under control?

You mean put in the contract that the Guild gets to control studio production schedules? That the Guild gets to decide how much overtime someone can do? I'm beginning to think you're just a troll who likes to whine.

Employee contracts at Disney?

Yep, definitely just a troll. 'At will' employment has been the nature of the animation business for most of its history. Term contracts have been the exception rather than the rule. But you're willing to strike for that one, too, right?

Who's really peddling the gloom and doom?

Visual artist said...

Anonymous wrote:

"Cameron's last movie Titanic was a huge hit, mainly because it was in 3D. No, wait..."

Wrong decade, wrong argument.

Back when Titanic came out, the argument was about computer-generated effects.

As in "everyone's jumping on this computer animation fad. Don't they know story is king? Jurassic Park was just a fluke, and soon everyone's taste for eye-candy will fade. Mark my words, you'll see. By the year 2000, nobody will want to see anything with computer effects. Besides, miniatures look better, and always will."

Anonymous said...

Not high enough for you?


You mean put in the contract that the Guild gets to control studio production schedules?


But you're willing to strike for that one, too, right?


Just show me where to sign.

God said...

"...and my son ask "do we have to wear glasses" I then he proceeded to tell me how he doesn't like watching those shows with the glasses'"

yeah, that sounds like a good idea, let's formulate the future of film making based on the whims of a three year old....


Anonymous said...

"Story rules, right guys"

Well, yes. But it's more about the storytelling. You're supposing all stories must be written--which has never been the case. But they DO have to be TOLD. And they have to connect with the audience through characters they can identify with and care about.

Yes, story rules.


Cameron can tell a story. He just can't WRITE one.

(and I thought Avatar was awful!--but I understood all 8 hours of it).

Visual artist said...

What I'm getting at is that visuals *do* matter in a visual medium like animation.

As much as the story guys think the sun rises and sets on them, what I'm saying is that the sun doesn't rise and set on *ONLY* them. This statement should be uncontroversial. But someone upthread thinks that some day a movie starring sock-puppets will be as popular as Avatar or Star Wars or Titanic or E.T.

He's smoking crack. I'm just gonna say that. Story is IMPORTANT. Very, VERY important. But you're smoking crack if you think that "visuals" are a fad.

Did you think the visuals of Avatar were awful? I'm betting not.

So how is that "story is king"? I'd say "story" is one leg of a table.

Anonymous said...

no, but really, you know what really makes a movie transcend? it is the story.

and heart.

and three jokes. no, wait, scratch that, it's vision. no - passion. true passion. and ego. ego plus passion. and individualism. passionful individualism, but with a collaborative spirit. collaborative individualism. and truth. and you have to have a message. you have to have something to say. i mean, what's the point otherwise? anyway. you know. you have characters and story and all that other stuff, too. puppets, too. definitely puppets.

Laci Morgan said...

Ugh, I'm HATING the whole 3D trend lately. I'm really susceptible to motion sickness and migraines, and the last few movies I've seen in 3D have left me with headaches and nausea throughout most of the film. And I was in the 2nd row of IMAX 3D watching Avatar, which was a waste of money because the 3D is useless and dizzying that close. It's a very BAD thing if studios are making their audiences sick. Please, studios, stick to plain-ole 2D! I want to be able to actually SEE your films!

Alex Dudley said...

I wouldn't mind 3D movies if I didn't have to wear glasses on top of my glasses.

Steve Hulett said...

... I know, I know, just pay my dues and shut up.

No, not hardly.

Come to a General Membership Meeting and speak up.

Anonymous said...

If they can bother to make glasses adjusted for people wearing glasses, then there will be a huge market for 3-D; but apparently, we millions are in the minority. I had an easier time enjoying Cloverfield and I was feeling bad for reasons other than the movie motion.

Someone should focus on adjusted glasses. Eye stigmatisms won't go away. If they have been invented, then they need to be readily available.

Anonymous said...

Actually, what they really should fix is the fact that 3D projection--and then the glasses on top of it--dim the image 30%. How awful.

I refuse to pay more for less quality.

Steve Hulett said...

Just show me where to sign.

Come to General Membership Meetings.

Make Proposals.

Serve on the Negotiating Committee. Press your agenda.

(Missed your smiling face last Spring and Summer, when we were doing this "negotiating " thing. But maybe in 2 1/2 years when the next one comes up, eh?)

Visual artist said...

3d theaters use brighter projection bulbs and a silver screen, which compensate for the loss of brightness due to the polarizing filters.

I've seen my own images in feature films projected in the theater, and I can confirm that in most cases, the images on the screen are at the correct brightness.

However, it's possible that you were in a theater with a failing bulb. That same problem can happen in any movie theater, and not just those with digital 3d exhibition.

I do not care for one of the competing 3d formats, *cough* Dolby *cough* as color fidelity suffers.

I recommend very highly seeing Avatar in digital Imax. No luminance problem there, and that's an awful big screen they're washing with light.

Anonymous said...

I think 3D movies have their place. It's a fun technology that fits certain types of films well.

I'm fine with more 3D movies in the near-term. The market will work it out. If a movie isn't better in 3D people won't pay to go see it but will either see the 2D version if available or wait for a 2D version on DVD.

Is this hue and cry similar to what people thought when sound or color was added to films? Why not add some depth? It will be nicer when glasses aren't needed, however.

But if a film doesn't benefit from the addition of 3D... if it's not an action type of film (where it works best, IMO) for instance, then release it in 2D.

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