In his Word of Mouth column, Times Hollywood reporter John Horn discusses the continuing trend of 3-D films. As “Clash of the Titans” prepares to debut, the glut of films and scarcity of screens, along with the quality of films converted from 2-D to 3-D, may soon come into question among filmgoers. Here’s an excerpt:
It worked for classic children’s literature. The signs look equally promising for Greek mythology.
Hollywood’s stereoscopic crusade has led several studios to rush to retrofit two-dimensional movies into 3-D releases. While some smaller companies dabbled in the conversion strategy before with mixed results — such as 2007’s “Battle for Terra” — so far only two studios have finished rebooting movies originally conceived and shot as 2-D titles.
The first, Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” is a massive hit, with a domestic gross approaching $300 million. A whopping third or so of the Lewis Carroll adaptation’s revenue is attributable to the higher ticket prices charged by theaters with 3-D screens, in which tickets can cost an extra $2 to $4 more. Next up: Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures’ remake of “Clash of the Titans,” which is poised to have the best Easter opening ever (the holiday record of $40.2 million was set by 2006’s “Scary Movie 4”), with weekend sales projected to be more than $60 million, with $70 million not entirely out of reach. It opens in wide release Thursday night with more screens added Friday.
The PG-13 rated mythology movie, starring Sam Worthington as Perseus, Liam Neeson as Zeus and Ralph Fiennes as Hades, is generating strong interest from men in their 20s and 30s, according to audience tracking surveys. Among the two other new wide releases, younger girls will likely head for Miley Cyrus’ “The Last Song,” while African Americans, particularly black women, are leaning toward Tyler Perry’s sequel “Why Did I Get Married Too?”
Given the enormous returns generated by the 3-D “Avatar” — a worldwide haul nearing $2.7 billion, with about 80% of its $740.7 million domestic take coming from theaters with 3-D screens — Hollywood’s growing affection for the format is hardly surprising, especially as ancillary revenue from DVDs plummet. Among movies previously envisioned as 2-D productions, Sony is planning a 3-D reworking of its 2011 vampire story “Priest,” while Warners has similar stereoscopic plans for the last two “Harry Potter” films, 2011’s “Sucker Punch” and “Green Lantern.”
But the tactic does have its doubters, including “Avatar’s” own James Cameron. “It’s typical of Hollywood getting it wrong,” he told MTV. “Now it’s being crammed down from above and now people are being told to make movies in 3-D, when it should have been the other way around.”
— John Horn
Photo: “Clash of the Titans.” Credit: Legendary Pictures
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