The pundits that comprise Hollywood ‘insiders’ are debating today whether or not 3D has bounced back from this year’s earlier box office blues. They are wondering if TRANSFORMERS: DARK SIDE OF THE MOON has eclipsed the dark side of 3D.

These knowledgeable people look at the incredible grosses for Michael Bay’s loud, meaningless TRANSFORMERS: DARK SIDE OF THE MOON as proof.
The problem was simple. Hollywood has banked on 3D technology to wow audiences and to fill their coffers. Initially the new technology did indeed bring audiences back to the theaters, but after duds like PRIEST and even GREEN LANTERN, it became apparent. 3D will only go so far. It is too costly for families to pay the ticket cost premium. More importantly, the quality of the films being offered in 3D was simply inferior. Poor plots, ill conceived use of the effects and more, told movie goers that they were being sold snake oil.

Prior to the film’s release the LA Times quotes director Bay, “Let’s make the audience believe again” referring to 3D. The vice chairman of Paramount, the distributor was also quoted. He said, “In the U.S., we had to win a lot of people back to 3-D.”

So Hollywood is looking at TRANSFORMERS as the oracle that will assure them they don’t have to worry. At first blush the numbers makes that assurance. A closer look tells a different story.

For example, factoring out revenues, the same number of people saw the film in 2D as 3D. Factor in that many locales did not offer a 2D option. Hollywood has been insisting theirs convert to 3D or else. Paramount being one of the more aggressive in forcing exhibitors to bend to their will.

Is TRANSFORMERS the divinely inspired savior of Hollywood? No. Will 3D make a rebound? No. Is 3D dead? No.

Like many industries, film making and by extension film going is in transition. Well crafted 3D films like TRANSFORMERS are events. Please note, I said well crafted. The 3D effects in TRANSFORMERS are top of the line special effects.

Event pictures will always draw people into the national conversation and do well at the box office, but 3D films alone will never be Hollywood’s main focus. What TRANSFORMERS has confirmed is that films like this will be made for the gobble marketplace, not the national one, but that’s another story, one in black & white, profit & loss.


Read more at Boston


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