Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Ducks Are Lining Up: 2009 Movie Schedule

Interesting! June 26th, 2009 has been announced as the launch date of "Transformers 2" which of course brings it into James Cameron "Avatar" (3D) (Memorial Day) territory as well as "Justice League of America" (May 22, 2009). "Monsters vs. Aliens" (3D) should have petered out by then as they have adjusted their release to Easter in respect to Cameron's epic. Let me tell you, the summer of 2009 is stretching at the seams with quality releases. Count Steven Spielberg's "Interstellar" in that mix as well. Oh yeah, and a little movie called "Gears Of War" could chainsaw its way through the competition :-)

UPDATE (Sep 29th 2007): Confirmation is in that Shia Labeouf will return in Transformers 2 as well as director Michael Bay taking the helm. There is a growing possibility of that June 26th date being changed - could it be that another movie is being "Avatared"?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Motion Pictures 3D: A List of Reasons For A Paradigm Shift

It's time to evaluate just what is going to start to unfold with the coming 3D movie evolution taking place right now. Lets take a look at it in four different ways:

1. Are 3D movies affordable to make?
They can be yes. While many are hopeful that the 3D movie industry will remain expensive to prohibit smaller outfits to compete against the large studios, the fact remains that you can obtain a 3D camera system for less than ~$75,000 (based on the RED One system ($20k per camera + binocular focusing system - yet to be proven in the 3D world, but likely to make huge waves). Count me as someone very interested in obtaining one of these systems.

2. What about home entertainment sales; how can you sell a 3D movie to homes without 3D equipment?
Well you need some equipment in the home, namely some wireless, specialized glasses that are advancing in design every year. One of the problems with today's glasses for the home is that they only work on CRT (Tube) TVs - so no projection, Plasma or LCD screens which kind of defeats the purpose to begin with. After this major hurtle is overcome, I intend on selling 3D Home Videos and home theater equipment from my site Home converters of 2D to 3D media is also a huge market.

3. What about advertising? Will there be 3D advertisements in theaters? If home theaters can handle 3D movies then why not 3D ads?
I absolutely agree! I plan on creating 3D advertisements for both pre-movie commercials and traditional posters/billboards on my site A huge market will exist very soon.

4. Why is the 3D movie industry crucial to Hollywood?
Hollywood is at a crossroads today. Yes, box office receipts are breaking records, but the number of patrons attending movies has dropped (tickets cost more). Hollywood needs a way to differentiate from folks with thousands invested in home theaters. How can we get them to the cinema and secondly get them to actually pay more per ticket than today? 3D of course. And they will pay, up to 50% more. It is because it is immersive that the premium can be charged and it will be hard to reproduce at home for the short term. Another reason is that 3D movies are almost impossible to videotape and sell pirated copies, which is the way 90% of current movie piracy is done today.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Spielberg and Reitman doing Baywatch 3D!

EXCLUSIVE: A reliable source has informed me that Steven Spielberg and Ivan Reitman have purchased the rights to "Baywatch 3D" in a seven figure deal. No word on whether it is to be fast tracked or back burnered for now. But with the 3D revolution arriving in full force in 2009, one can only imagine.

Given the worldwide popularity of the TV series and throw in 3 dimensions as well, it could make a killing. Lifeguards in slow-mo, popping out at you while they run on the beach never gets old I guess.

I will have further confirmation of when production may begin and I will pass on any further details at that time. Stay tuned.

New Line Snagged with $125k Sanction: Peter Jackson Continues Push

New Line has been hit with a court ordered sanction of $125,000 for failing to produce documents in standard, due diligence discovery. Peter Jackson's attorneys may soon have the right to personally review New Line's documents including email if an audit is not delivered within 21 days.

This does not bode well for Jackson to be offered the helm of "The Hobbit". I still firmly believe that he is the ONLY choice and that the whole project should be attached to him, even if they have to sell the rights. This whole situation is ridiculous and I am seeing it over and over again - it has now migrated over to the 3D movie industry too with accusations of debts being owed and 'Pump and Dump' stock price manipulations (see this week's posts). Greed is destroying Hollywood slowly but surely just when cooperation should be at its best. With Raimi stating he has nothing to do with "The Hobbit" (dated I know, but still on the record), I fear for the outcome of the whole mess.

It certainly seems that New Line has something to hide. If they did indeed miscalculate revenue from 2001's "The Fellowship Of The Ring", then they are writing their own epitaph right now. If they came clean, all could be solved within days. Don't be shy Shaye.

UPDATE: Sep 24, 2007

U.S. Magistrate Steven Hillman said in the ruling that New Line may have destroyed documents and failed to search for documents and emails it was required by the court to produce, and cited a number of examples in which the searches were "haphazard." Jackson's suit against New Line alleges that he has not received proper accounting of income from "The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring." (Variety)

I am stunned. With the money Jackson brought to the studio their should be equitable dealings across the board. Sheesh.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Monsters vs. Aliens vs. The Easter Bunny?

In a surprise move for Dreamworks Animation, Jeffrey Katzenberg announced today that they are moving the launch of Monsters vs. Aliens back to March 27, 2009 to further widen the gap between the opening nights of it and James Cameron's Avatar. Surprising because it is the first time in DWA's history that they have not launched a major movie in the summer. Both movies are of course in 3D and with only 6000-8000 screens being able to handle the technology in 2009, the pie had better be split up.

"In 2009, summer begins on March 29," stated Katzenberg.

I personally don't blame them. Avatar is going to be huge and it makes no sense to lose screens to that behemoth of a movie. Read more about their showdown here.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Advanced Review: "The Brave One" - 8 STARS

I had the privilege to advance screen the movie "The Brave One" on Monday, September 10th. I walked in with expectation of the usual great performance by Jodie Foster and a big fan of Terrence Howard - however I had just seen Kevin Bacon's "Death Sentence" and while parts of it was worth seeing, most of the vigilante themed movie tanked. So, yes, I was skeptical that it can be pulled off in today's market.

However, I was pleasantly relieved with "The Brave One". Jodie Foster was outstanding and the plot was well conceived and executed. At times there were dramatic character transitions that were extremely hard to accomplish but the acting pulled it off. There are no words to convey those emotions and both Foster and Howard delivered.

Spoiler below. Highlight the white text to view:

Foster plays a radio show host who is by her nature out in the streets of New York a great deal, and she is in fact having a love affair with the city. She is also engaged to be married - her fiance is killed in a vicious mugging with her being seriously injured. Foster goes through a dramatic character change from someone who is in love with the city to one who is threatened by it. This is extremely hard to pull off, and at one point when she is about to leave her apartment the second time after returning from the hospital, the music itself almost ruined the acting portrayal. Should have been silence with the city being the noisy background. Aside from ill advised music interruptions, Foster becomes someone determined to protect herself. She buys a gun. She in fact has to use it. Several times. She changes again from someone in defence of herself to someone cleaning the streets of evil. Another huge acting leap accomplished. All the while this is going on, she is having a close relationship with a homicide detective played by Howard. Howard slowly becomes wise to the true identity of the vigilante murders and you are truly left wondering whether he will arrest her in the end or somehow let her go. I indeed went back and forth mentally as to whether one ending will prevail over the other several times! In the end, I was pleasantly surprised again. I had elected one ending that was going to occur and I was wrong. I am rarely wrong in judging plot lines and to be surprised - and then invigorated - with a weird sense of joy and pure rapture when she carried out her final task. A task sanctified by her new love interest Howard. I have honestly never felt such feelings toward such an act before. It is a testament to Foster's ability to pull it off. Go see this movie. The music and cinematography leave somethings to be desired but believe me the movie pulls it off. Unlike "Death Sentence".

To view the spoiler, highlight the white text above.

Here are my calculations for coming up with my rating of 8.0 stars:

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Home Videos in 3D? Yes. And No Glasses!

Phillips is now showing off a $100,000 132" flat panel TV to the masses in Berlin (IFA Consumer Electronics Show) that displays 3D movies WITHOUT the polarizing glasses. It is really a combination of 9 flat panel displays linked together with what Phillips is calling their WOWvx 3D technology. It apparently will fool your brain into thinking you are seeing 3 dimensions through some special lens arrangement for each display in combination with proprietary Phillips software and hardware.

James Cameron had said that 3D televisions were in development but I had no idea that they were this ready! Awesome stuff. By the time the summer of 2009 has past us, everyone should be thinking less about HD and more about 3D. That means those 3D blockbuster movies will become available for home theater markets!

Oh yeah, I just obtained, and to back up my belief in the industry. I put my money where my mouth is! :-)

Friday, September 07, 2007

RED Digital 4K Camera now in 3D !

Holy stereoscopic developments Batman! Bob Johnston, Executive Producer with Paradise FX contacted me today with details of their announcement September 5th of 3D test involving the awesome and VERY affordable RED 4K cameras. Note that this test was taking two RED cameras out of the box (never tested), shooting in 3D and then screening the digital 4K HD movie THE SAME DAY. I am amazed at how fast the teams have put together a 3D solution using the highly touted RED system - a system that Steven Soderbergh recently announced he would be using for feature film shooting soon (2D as far as I know).

I love the spirit of the RED team and the repercussions that are sweeping the industry. Heck I feel tempted to get involved directly!

Here is their press release:

Press Release
September 5, 2007 Source: Studio Daily

A quantum leap in 3D content production and stereographic post-production from a tapeless workflow, resulted in a successful 3D test shoot and screening on Saturday, September 1st . Producers Steve Gibby and Kenneth Corben of GibCor, teamed up with their 3D production partners Max Penner and Tim Thomas at Paradise FX to produce one of the first stereo 3D shoots originating with RED 4K cameras. (PHOTO: Max Penner seen adjusting the Red 4K 3D Paracam. Photo Copyright Steve Gibby)

GibCor provided RED camera #8 and their associate, Billy Summers, provided RED camera #13. Both were literally “out of the box” from the first 25 RED cameras released on August 31st. The team shot a 4K 3D dual camera test, and captured REDCODE RAW to two RED 8 GB compact flash cards.

The production alliance between GibCor and Paradise FX has been in development on their RED 4K 3D projects since February in anticipation of the cameras’ release this year. “The results of this first RED 4K 3D shoot will enable us to bring great stories, shot in stereo 3D, to audiences like never before,” said producer Steve Gibby. The RED 4K cameras were fitted with a pair of RED compact zooms (18-50mm) and mounted to the Paracam. The Paracam is a 3D camera system that employs a beam splitter and has digital control of the inter-axial and convergent positioning of each of the RED ONE cameras. By Noon the team was viewing 3D content, originating from a tapeless 4K workflow.

The 4K 3D post workflow was seamless thanks to ASSIMILATE’s SCRATCH® Digital Intermediate Process Solution and technical support from Lucas Wilson of ASSIMILATE™. The 4K REDCODE RAW (.r3d) files were imported from CF cards into a beta version of REDCINE running on an Intel based Mac system. The left and right eye files were de-bayered from 4K RAW to 2K files then imported to SCRATCH as .dpx files. SCRATCH allowed for “plug and play” into Paradise’s dual projection system for quick stereo 3D playback. After the screening, veteran 3D stereographer Max Penner said, “To take 2 cameras that have never been tested out of the box, then shoot and project 3D all in one day, is almost unheard of. All done with no umbilical cables, tape decks or digitizing. This changes everything!”

In anticipation of the continued global rollout of stereoscopic 3D enabled theaters and growing content demand, Paradise FX and GibCor are in negotiations with several major studios regarding this technology and it’s implementation in the motion picture industry. This is the first of a succession of stereo 3D tests with the RED ONE camera. Ongoing tests will help to define a workflow to apply to future 3D productions in both Large Format Film and Digital Theatrical Releases. The RED ONE camera has a small 3D form factor with a high resolution at a decent price, making it highly promising for future 3D films.

Sam Raimi NOT involved with "The Hobbit" !

It looks like "The Hobbit" is Peter Jackson's baby. With New Line stating that Jackson is involved and Raimi recently saying he no longer is, it doesn't take many taters to figure out that Jackson is back at the helm directing! This is truly great news:

  • Q: Are you involved with “The Hobbit”?
  • Sam Raimi: I am not involved. I respect the director [Peter Jackson] a great deal and he may do it some day, so no.
Hallelujah. Now lets get on with production! Green light this sucker.

Now for some conjecture: What if Weta Digital is capable of making The Hobbit in 3D? James Cameron is using Weta Digital on his upcoming mega blockbuster Avatar which is entirely shot in 3D - imagine the movie that Jackson could come up with in that scenario? Maybe wishful thinking, but whoa what an immersive movie that would be. C'mon Peter. If you are reading this humble blog use the Cameron/Pace Fusion 3D Camera System and truly make The Hobbit the next generation of Tolkien treasure.

You can read more about James Cameron and his 3D technology within this blog. It is truly amazing technology.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

New 3D Movie announced using Cameron's 3D Tech

Stereo Vision Entertainment Inc. announced that they will be using James Cameron's 3D technology for their upcoming production of "Aubrey Blaze Piranhas 3-D". The technology, known as the Cameron/Pace Fusion 3-D camera system will be used by Cameron's very own crew to film the movie for SVE.

Stereo Vision's Chairman, Doug Schwartz (Baywatch creator and executive producer) stated: "The fully manned PACE Fusion camera crew will be with me and the Stereo Vision team on the ground in Puerto Rico, for the production of the first in a series of Aubrey Blaze 3-D action adventure movies. Having the PACE commitment to work with Stereo Vision in the production of a top quality 3-D movie is great news for the Stereo Vision shareholders."

Stereo Vision Entertainment
Pace 3D Technology

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Jim Dorey
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