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Friday, May 15, 2009

10 Reasons Why We Will See A Major Studio Go All 3D For Live Action By 2011

Jim here. There you go, I said it - you heard it here first.

Now that the three major animation houses are totally 3D from this year going forward, I expect to see a major live action studio to follow suit before we see 2011.

Certainly, this is going out on a limb. But numerous indicators are pointing me in this direction:
1. The credit markets will open up VERY soon and you will see unbelievable growth in Digital 3D screens before AVATAR is released in December.
2. Animation has proven the 3D tentpole can work and work extremely well. Domestic gross from this spring's MONSTERS VS. ALIENS is already at ~$190 million and ~$330 million worldwide. 3D brings in the most per screen BY FAR. We are talking 2 or 3 times revenue and at times as high as 6 or 7 times revenue. MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D had 71% of it's revenue derived from 3D screens.
3. AVATAR. Need I say more. This movie will not only define what is the pinnacle of cinematic achievement for 2009, but for our generation. The next wave of directors will be heavily influenced by it's performance capture and of course 3D superiority.
4. Affordable 3D is here. With more and more equipment manufacturers seeing the future and producing 3D cameras, rigs and industry experts - economies of scale will kick in and you will see fresh new directors coming from nowhere, grabbing affordable - yet striking 3D tools and creating innovative and exciting new projects that the studios will latch on to. Further, the fledgling new industry is developing 3D expertise at all levels: Knowledge will no longer be scarce.
5. The bottom line is MUCH better. Studios see the effect on 3D pragmatically and want to leverage that 3D premium price at the box office. Audiences don't mind paying a little more for a premiere 3D experience. This is a fact. Moreover, studios can open their vaults and bring back their previous movie hits with re-releases of 2D to 3D converted material! Why not leverage their library to their maximum potential? Lucas is doing it with STAR WARS. Peter Jackson WILL do it with LORD OF THE RINGS (right Peter?), Disney is doing it with TOY STORY... It just makes sense.
6. The elimination of piracy, at least temporarily. 3D greatly hinders that shadowy thief with the camcorder in theaters. Again, an increase in bottom line and protection of the quality of their library.
7. That all important innovator tag associated with the studio. That first studio to step forward and commit to 3D with all their resources will inherit an aura of 3D authority around the world. Each and every project announcement going forward will be that much more exciting because all will know it will be in stereoscopic 3D. It's all about building your brand and 3D is a key. When PUSS IN BOOTS was announced, everyone knew it would be in 3D!
8. The studio will be well positioned to capitalize first on the fast growing 3D Home Video market. By committing to 3D, the first studio will have recent 3D hits to market aggressively in the 3DHD home entertainment market. If my estimates hold true, we should be seeing a 3DHD video standard by the end of next year. The SMPTE already has specs for what the master should look like before splitting to various viewing platforms. This reality is driving my timeline more than anything else really. Once we have a pipeline to get 3DHD to the home - it's over. 3D will be the defacto choice.
9. If studios remain 2D, they risk losing their human resources and future contracts to a 3D studio. Directors, Producers, DPs, etc all want to further their careers and if a studio remains stagnant it is inevitable that they will lose vasts amounts of creative talent. It is a true evolution we are seeing here. No one wants to be the next GM or Chrysler of the motion picture industry. Adapt or suffer the consequences.
10. 3D belongs to this generation. There are kids out there that have ONLY seen 3D movies. Whether it be Hannah Montana or MONSTERS VS. ALIENS or CORALINE this fact remains. Their expectations are - you had better wow me and to do that, you need 3D. For lack of a better word, they 'own' 3D.

I am not saying there isn't a market for 2D projects. Of course there is. But I am talking about the first movers and shakers - the true innovators of Hollywood. I am sure there will be 2D movies for awhile yet as it was with the transition from sound to talkies, and black & white to color. But don't fool yourself. This eventuality is coming whether the naysayers like it or not. The Roger Eberts of the world are still living in "the earth is flat" mode, and most likely will not change their tune. Oh it's a gimmick. It's distracting. Yadda, yadda.

Sorry. The audience has spoken. The creative talent have spoken. The financial bottom line has spoken. Those are the big three in 3D - not the few gasps for air from a dying breed of inert 2D abettors.

I, for one, am absolutely thrilled to be a part of this. It is my pleasure to bring you daily news from the 3D front and opine of ways to better present it to you. Quite frankly, we are lucky to be witnessing this transition first hand! And to answer the questions of your kids and grandkids like: "You mean there used to be flat movies?"

Yes, there were. They were great actually. But 3D is better.

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Jim Dorey
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jim (at) marketsaw (dot) com

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