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David Poland

By David Poland

3D Too Hot?

I’ve landed in NY and posting via iPhone is still an iffy proposition… But Beowulf’s soft Saturday really struck me… Did the 3d gambit narrow the overall number?
Does it matter if it did? Will it create legginess?
The experiential story is my nephew last night, who went to the 2d when all 3d shows were sold out. He went, but how many people decided to wait for 3d?

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26 Responses to “3D Too Hot?”

  1. Eric says:

    I’m planning on seeing it in 3D tonight. If it’s sold out, I won’t bother.
    Same thing happened to me with Polar Express— I heard it was so much better in 3D, I decided not to bother with the 2D. (And then I never got around to seeing it while I was near a 3D screen, so I never saw it at all.)

  2. a_loco says:

    Will there be any numbers released on attendence at 3D screenings vs. regular 2D screenings? That might help tell the whole story, I know the IMAX 3D screening I went to in Toronto was sold out on Friday.

  3. The Carpetmuncher says:

    Is anyone over the age of 25 going to care at all about a total dorkfest like Beowulf?
    And by 25, I’m talking mental age, not actual.

  4. TheJeff says:

    This AP article has the breakdown of regular vs. 3D vs. IMAX grosses.

  5. doug r says:

    I saw a 9:30 IMAX show on Thursday-about half full. My wife went to the theater at 7:00 on Saturday-both late IMAX shows were sold out. I talked her into waiting til 1:00 pm today.
    My opinion, I don’t think it’s worth it going to a theater for 2-D. I’ll get to see it that way on DVD later anyway.

  6. a_loco says:

    well, I think the 20% of the screens making up %40 of the gross is pretty impressive. I wonder if in the future, films will be released exclusively to 3D and allowed to build an audience. I could see big films getting their legs back that way.

  7. Blackcloud says:

    I will be seeing it in 3D since it’s not in IMAX near me. As for 2D, I would skip it if 3D were sold out. I won’t have to worry about it, since I’ll be going at a dead time on a weekday.

  8. IOIOIOI says:

    The 3-D is freakin tremendous. It might have narrowed the number, or it’s an R-rated movie. Once again… it’s an R-rated movie. It did pretty well for an R-rated movie. This all means that with or without the 3-D, that Beowulf may have had a cap to it’s earning potential.

  9. Tedward says:

    As a filmgoer, here’s my take;
    Almost all the reviews I’ve read about this film have been gushing over the 3D visuals and, and all reviews spent time on the motion campture/animation aspect of this film, and mentioned that in order to truly appreciate this film you absolutely MUST see it in 3D.
    Not many reviews actually spent much time on how good/bad the film was, as a ‘film’ and not eye-candy.
    There are three 12-plexes, and a number of smaller theatres in the city I live. Almost all of them were showing Beowulf, but NONE of them had the 3D presentation. They were all 2D.
    After reading a number of reviews, I’ve decided to wait until I get a chance to see it in 3D, which may or may not be never. If I don’t get that chance, then I’ll wait until it comes out on dvd.

  10. martin says:

    Beowulf is PG-13, don’t be stupid. And as Dave always says, “it’s the movie, stupid”. Stop making excuses for “lower than expected” box office. It still opened fine. If people like it, it will make a lot of money. If all it’s hitting is the AVP/Resident Evil, then $80 mill is likely. If all it makes is $80 mill., is that a disappointment? Seems to me that’s still a reasonable number.

  11. jeffmcm says:

    If it cost $150 million, a final gross of $80 would most definitely be a disappointment. That would also make it Zemeckis’s lowest grosser since Death Becomes Her.

  12. TheJeff says:

    With IMAX and 3-D prints and a huge advertising push, the P&A for this thing must be huge too. 80 million would be a disaster.

  13. doug r says:

    Monster House opened to $22 million and made $140 million worldwide. I think Zemeckis and company view Beowulf as building for the future, a lot of reviews mention that we are seeing the future of film.
    It’s true, it did have that same feel that you get watching that Halloween Simpsons episode “Homer Cubed” when Homer ventures into the 3rd dimension.

  14. IOIOIOI says:

    PG-13 my ASS. It’s an R movie that they gave a soft rating. Try not to be shock when the UNRATED version comes out on DVD in March. Nevertheless; what the fuck Martin? What part of my post read as if I were making excuses for the flick? It’s called SPECULATION. You might not be familiar with it, but it makes the internet GO ROUND AND ROUND. ROUND AND ROUND. So… that’s my spec… and I thought Beowulf was an R. This goes to show how little attention I pay to ratings.

  15. It’s playing in regular ole 3D here where I live. But NEXT weekend I can drive to San Francisco and see it in 3D IMAX…and I certainly don’t need to see the film twice.

  16. jeffmcm says:

    Maybe the best way to put it is that it _looked_ R and therefore scared off some number of parents. Probably not enough to make a huge difference.

  17. Zemeckis didn’t direct Monster House fyi so it shouldn’t count towards him. Gil Kenan was the director.
    “Is anyone over the age of 25 going to care at all about a total dorkfest like Beowulf?”
    I would think that many people under the age of 25 would be turned off by the a) silliness of the whole thing (“that shit looks fuckin’ retarded, man!” and b) that it’s Beowulf, a text many of them have probably studied at some point. Yet older audiences may be willing to give it a go as an action movie that isn’t just stuff ‘splodin’ and cars going vroom.
    …but, alas, I am probably entirely wrong.

  18. doug r says:

    I think Zemeckis deliberately pushed the edge of the PG-13 envelope. It’s very similar in tone to soft-R Matrix and even (PG-13) Die Hard 4.0. It’s all about the teenagers, man.
    I suspect the Digital 3-D may be clearer than the IMAX 3-D. Real-D has a different rotation on their polarization and they sell you brand-new glasses.

  19. frankbooth says:

    The 3D is the only reason I plan to see this. Is it really that much better than previous attempts? Did it give anyone a headache?
    And is it true that they give you plastic glasses that they take back and wash between shows?

  20. PastePotPete says:

    I don’t know about the Imax 3D but the digital 3D presentation I went to, we kept the glasses(they’re pretty cheaply made and we paid a $2 surcharge for them anyway).
    As for the headache, I didn’t get one but my two friends did. The problem with 3D in Beowulf at least is that it’s good enough that your eye wants to look around the frame but the cinematography doesn’t let you… you pretty much have to focus on whatever Zemeckis wants, which can be straining on the eyes. It’ll take some getting used to.
    It’d be interesting to see the result if the Wachowski’s everything-in-frame-in-focus technique for Speed Racer were shown in 3D.

  21. doug r says:

    IMAX 3-D=recycled glasses
    Real-D=sell you new glasses at about $2

  22. movielocke says:

    I thought Beowulf was supposed to be on a 1000 3d screens if it’s just on 638 have no screens been added since Nightmare/Monster House last year? because I thought that 650ish was the number of 3d screens they had. I guess theatres still aren’t installing the technology.

  23. frankbooth says:

    Thanks. I’ve since talked to someone who saw it, and he raved. But he’s also in his twenties, and loved 300 and Transformers.
    In fact, he said “The 3D is awesome, but the story isn’t as good as 300.” If I’d been drinking something just then, I would have done a spit-take.

  24. ployp says:

    Here’s what I find funny and ironic:
    The film is PG-13, yet there was a red-band trailer.

  25. frankbooth says:

    Saw it. There was a long line (on a Tuesday) and I wound up in the second row. The 3D was indeed amazing, at least when objects were center screen. Fast-moving stuff and anything off to the side was a bit blurred. I may go back and see it again with a better seat. Can anyone tell me if this would make a difference?
    The animation was impressive. You could see pores and tiny hairs on the character’s faces, and the dead-eye problem, while not completely solved, wasn’t bad enough to distract me. Story-wise, it was less stupid than it could have been, and it never dragged. I think it will make tons of money, though some parents might be taken aback by the amount of sexual innuendo. Then again, it isn’t any worse than what you see on network TV.
    Something I learned from this movie: massive dragons have human-sized hearts. And John Malkovitch can’t do accents worth shit.
    It occurred to me while watching it that there are a couple of advantages to the motion-capture route, the first being that you can age the actors more believably than you could by gluing latex appliances to their faces. The second — and this one is of major significance — is that you can chose an actor by his ability rather than by his looks, as was done with Winstone.
    Somebody should make a new Conan film this way, which would get around the problem of having to cast a big muscular guy who can’t act. (Imagine Ed Harris as Conan.) Not that we need any more of these fantasy epics, but a nice hard-R, Frazetta-looking Conan with boobs and gore would be ideal for this format and might be enough to awaken my slumbering inner geek.

  26. scooterzz says:

    i thought malkovich did a great bette davis accent….

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~ Steven Soderbergh

I feel strongly connected to young cinephile culture. The thing about filmmaking—and cinephilia—is that you can’t keep hanging out with your own age group as you get older. They drop off, move somewhere. You can’t put together a crew of sixty-somethings. It’s the same for cinephilia: my original set of cinephile friends are watching DVDs at home or delving into 1958 episodes of ‘Gunsmoke,’ something like that. The people who are out there tend to be young, and I happen to be doing the same thing still, so it’s natural that I move in their circles.

In terms of the filmmaking, there was a gear shift: my first movies focused on people around my age, and I followed them for three films. Until The Unspeakable Act, I was using the same actors, not because of an affinity for people at a specific age, but because of my affinity for the actors. I like to work with actors a second time, especially if I don’t feel confident casting a new film. But The Unspeakable Act was a different script, and I had to cast all new people. Even for the older roles, I couldn’t get the people I’d worked with before. But when it was over, the same thing happened: I wanted to work with Tallie again in the worst way, and I started the process all over again.

I think Rohmer did something similar around the time of Perceval and Catherine de HeilbronnHe developed new groups of people that he liked to work with. These gear shifts are natural. Even if you want to follow certain actors to the end of their life (which I kind of do) the variety of ideas that you generate makes it necessary to change. And once you’ve made the change, you’ve got all these new people around.”
~ Dan Sallitt