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3-D: The eyes have it! - Variety 2/5/07


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  • 3-D: The eyes have it! - Variety 2/5/07

    3-D: The eyes have it!

    H'wood says more than gimmick this time

    By Ben Fritz, Nicole Laporte
    February 5, 2007

    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 double 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 now are betting hundreds of millions of dollars on the expansion of new technology that works on any screen with a digital cinema system.
    And one of the key goals is to re-establish the primacy of filmgoing.

    Though there are some developing technologies for 3-D at home, none compares to what's currently rolling out in theaters.

    Studios are banking on 3-D in a variety of formats: animation ("Meet the Robinsons"), motion-capture (the Robert Zemeckis-helmed "Beowulf"), live-action ("Journey 3-D") and even revivals (1993 toon "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is now an annual event in 3-D, while George Lucas hopes to re-release his "Star Wars" pics in the format).

    But the poster boy for the revival is James Cameron, whose "Avatar" will be released by Fox in 2009. The live-action film -- his first fiction work since the 1997 "Titanic" -- will be released only in 3-D. Proponents hope Cameron and his film will be a rallying point for the new format.
    That tradition continues with upcoming toons. Because pics like Disney's "Meet the Robinsons" are already rendered in 3-D, it's a relatively simple process to add effects that take advantage of the RealD technology.

    There are three different categories of pics in the works for 3-D, with different levels of cost and risk.

    The safest, cheapest bet is CGI toons. The second set are films of various genres that are turned into 3-D after they've been shot, such as "Nightmare Before Christmas." Other studios are known to be combing their libraries for potential 3-D re-releases, viewing it as a new way to mine revenue from existing product.
    A key is to woo audiences. Some are wary after complaints of headaches or nausea after viewing the few non-Imax 3-D pics that were released, such as "Spy Kids: Game Over" (although that pic was profitable).

    "We have to re-educate people," says Landau. "The in-theater presentation of 3-D is a quantum leap ahead of what it was even two years ago. ... The screen has always been a barrier for the audience's experience of the movie. Quality 3-D removes that barrier. The screen disappears."

    However, there'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.
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

  • #2
    Re: 3-D: The eyes have it! - Variety 2/5/07

    Thanks for info


    • #3
      Re: 3-D: The eyes have it! - Variety 2/5/07

      3D Nightmare an annual event? Nice.
      It's a Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah...Tip for Today!


      • #4
        Re: 3-D: The eyes have it! - Variety 2/5/07

        Other studios are known to be combing their libraries for potential 3-D re-releases, viewing it as a new way to mine revenue from existing product.
        I know they're talking about conversion here, but they really need to look into re-releasing the good 3-D classics, like House of Wax or Dial M For Murder!


        • #5
          Re: 3-D: The eyes have it! - Variety 2/5/07

          I love 3D movies and I'm glad to hear that there will be more of an opportunity to go see them. Although probably not in Eureka...


          • #6
            Re: 3-D: The eyes have it! - Variety 2/5/07

            Im curious for Star Wars in 3D.....that should be interesting.
            HEARTS CLUB !!


            • #7
              Re: 3-D: The eyes have it! - Variety 2/5/07

              Yeah, I've gotten sucked into the 3-D movie versions too.
              It's really amazing how long it's taken to get these 3D Movies
              into regular theaters. The old red/blue glasses were not
              good. The 1st time I experience this new technology was
              in EPCOT in the imagination pavillion. And that was 20 YEARS

              The 3D movies that sucked me in were Polar Express at IMAX
              a couple years ago. Didn't care for the creepy plastic looking
              people. The only thing that looked good in 3D was the snow.
              IMAX did much better with their other 3D Movies ~ specifically
              an underwater movie they had.

              Next up was Chicken Little, it was just ok, and except for the
              initial couple moments, nothing really lent itself for the need to
              be in 3D.

              Saw the Nightmare 3D version at El Capitan, and 3D effect
              just was not needed for this movie. The transfer to 3D
              didn't alway look right.

              Monster house was another movie, that had some potential,
              but left rather disappointed.

              Most recently, I had to see the 3D version of "Open Season"
              and it was really the best out of the bunch. The River scene
              was perfect for the 3D effect.
              Critter Country's a mess ev'r since the Country Bears were kicked out. Ya can't cover pooh with honey and 'spect people ta like it.
              An Adventurers It's Time to Put the Spotlight Back on Bring Back the REAL Disney Gallery
              Life for Me! ~ ~ ~ Melvin, Buff, and Max!!! ~~~~ Dump the Dream Suite!
              Meese-ka Moose-ka Mice-Chatter!


              • #8
                Re: 3-D: The eyes have it! - Variety 2/5/07

                Originally posted by Aladdin View Post
                The old red/blue glasses were not
                That's why, after the first major films in 1936/1937, very few movies were ever shown red/cyan and red/green anaglyph. The common concept of the anaglyphic 50s is a huge myth. Most movies of the 1954 and 1984 3-D booms were shown polarized, just like the current Disney movies and the movies in the parks.


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