Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Toronto International Film Festival Adds DIAL M FOR MURDER 3D And FINDING NEMO 3D

If you're going to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and you love 3D movies you're in a bit of luck! TIFF has decided to include two very interesting library movies that have been updated to modern stereoscopic 3D standards.

While Alfred Hitchcock's DIAL M FOR MURDER was originally made in 3D, it will take work to get it remastered for today's digital 3D theaters. Here's the description from TIFF: "Alfred Hitchcock’s devilish drawing-room thriller, about a retired tennis pro (Ray Milland) who plans the “perfect” murder of his adulterous wife (Grace Kelly), is revived in a new, eye-popping 3D digital restoration."

Also being added is Pixar's FINDING NEMO which should be a stunning experience in 3D. As you probably know if you're a frequent reader of MarketSaw or a 3D fan, underwater 3D is absolutely amazing whether it's animation or real life (same goes for space or mid-air shots). The reason is objects are suspended in front of you without being cut off by the end of the frame and therefore can utilize more space to present the 3D. Another way of describing it is that when you take off your 3D glasses you will see a blur on the screen - that blur represents the overlapping visual information for each eye being presented at the same time. Now if those blurs are too close to the edge of the frame they can't be presented without being cut off somewhat, causing issues to be avoided. Suspended objects are no where near the edge of frame and the 3rd dimension can be exploited if so desired.

Here's the TIFF description for FINDING NEMO:
"Academy Award-winning film Finding Nemo returns to the big screen in thrilling Disney Digital 3D™ for the first time ever. Teeming with memorable comedic characters and heartfelt emotion, this stunning underwater adventure follows the momentous journey of an overprotective clownfish named Marlin (Albert Brooks) and his young son Nemo (Alexander Gould) –– who become separated in the Great Barrier Reef when Nemo is unexpectedly taken far from his ocean home to a fish tank in a dentist’s office. Buoyed by the companionship of Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), a friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish, Marlin embarks on a dangerous trek and finds himself the unlikely hero of an epic effort to rescue his son –– who hatches a few daring plans of his own to return safely home."

Looks like TIFF is putting on another great show! Let me know if you're going...

Monday, July 30, 2012

YES!!! Middle-earth Fans Rejoice - Peter Jackson Announces A Third HOBBIT Movie! UPDATE: Confirmed 3D!!

What a beautiful day today made complete with the knowledge that Peter Jackson and his team have succeeded in presenting a compelling third movie in THE HOBBIT series of films to the studios!

Yes, Jackson has officially announced the news via his Facebook page and THE HOBBIT is now a trilogy to compliment THE LORD OF THE RINGS (LOTR) threesome. 

Jackson and his team will be using the appendices that were part of Tolkien's THE RETURN OF THE KING and there's plenty of action to be explored to lead us elegantly to THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING. Namely (from the pen of Jackson himself), "the story of Bilbo Baggins, the Wizard Gandalf, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer, and the Battle of Dol Guldur." And I know there are AMPLE stories of Aragorn here! The tales of Strider (as he was known to the Hobbits) as he fights with his Rangers of the North, the Dunedain, against the dark forces. The Tolkien books further mention that Aragorn had watched over the the Shire borderlands, so we are bound to see his character develop leading into LOTR, I'm hoping. REALLY hoping.

Jackson did not mention that it will be 3D and shot in 48 frames per second, but clearly to maintain the consistency of THE HOBBIT it surely will happen. **SAME DAY UPDATE: Yes, it will happen! Confirmed by the official press release.

Those six movies are sure to look handsome on my movie shelf! Anyone else a wee bit happy about this small bit of news? ;-)

And MANY thanks to the many readers that emailed, texted and commented to me that Jackson made this announcement! I was at an appointment and missed it!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

AVATAR 2 Not Expected Until At Least 2015

We have gotten an update for the release of AVATAR 2 and as expected it looks like 2014 is out. 2015 or later is the newly revised estimate from the man himself, James Cameron.

However the upside is that Cameron will be shooting AVATAR 2, 3 and 4 at the same time so while we'll have to wait for the front end of these movies til 2015, the follow up movies should come on a fairly good schedule afterward.

New Zealand will definitely be a huge part of the AVATAR sequels as Cameron plans on using Peter Jackson's Wellington studios as well as his Weta Digital visual effects company. Motion capture will be done in Los Angeles.

Cameron is also personally investing in the kiwi island nation by purchasing a 2500 acre home on Lake Pounui. Word is he is considering building his own studios in Auckland. He was careful to point out however that "I'm not there to compete with Peter."

More AVATAR news when we get it!

Source: NYTimes

Saturday, July 28, 2012

MUST WATCH: First Trailer For SILENT HILL: REVELATION 3D Remembers The Magic!

I am a huge fan of SILENT HILL from it's video game beginnings to the first movie. Now comes a much anticipated sequel and it looks to be captured some of that (dark) magic once again.

For me it wasn't the creatures as much as it was the town that got to me. I was really hoping for more of that feeling of dread in this one. The trailer reveals some of what I am looking for, but also a desire to show off creatures in full light - something that I am uneasy with, because I am a bit of a purist with this series. After all, it's more of a psychological horror than anything else. I won't go into specifics right now because I don't want to ruin the trailer for you, but all in all my anticipation is still very much there.

But oh, that town. The presence of a wicked unknown, bridging what's real with the supernatural. It's such a tricky place to finally reveal the evil behind the dread so I will reserve full judgement until after seeing the movie, to which I will be first in line. The falling soot and ashes will look SPECTACULAR in 3D, especially as this movie is being shot in native 3D using 3ality Technica rigs! Such a great setting, one of the best I have ever seen. SILENT HILL affects my location writing more than any other movie (yes, I'm writing!).

GAME OF THRONES talent clearly has an impact on the casting as Sean Bean returns to the franchise bringing Kit Harington along with him.

Here's the movie's storyline:
Based on the groundbreaking video game franchise, SILENT HILL: REVELATION 3D is the sequel to the hit film SILENT HILL, which opened to number one at the U.S. box office and took in nearly $100 million at the worldwide box office. Featuring an unparalleled horror experience, Konami’s Silent Hill franchise has captivated fans for more than a decade and has spawned a hit comic book series, graphic novels, collectible action figures and numerous soundtracks from rock bands. In SILENT HILL: REVELATION 3D, Heather Mason (Clemens) and her father (Bean) have been on the run, always one step ahead of dangerous forces that she doesn’t fully understand. On the eve of her 18th birthday, plagued by horrific nightmares and the disappearance of her father, Heather discovers she’s not who she thinks she is. The revelation leads her deeper into a demonic world that threatens to trap her forever.

SILENT HILL: REVELATION 3D opens on October 26.

Friday, July 27, 2012

INDEPENDENCE DAY 2 In The Works - Sequel Worthy Story Written By Emmerich And Devlin

Interesting news from producer Dean Devlin (INDEPENDENCE DAY, STARGATE) from our friends over at Collider - INDEPENDENCE DAY 2 is definitely in the works!

Here's what Devlin had to say at the Saturn Awards:
“I can tell you that Roland Emmerich and I are working together for the first time in eleven years and we are working really hard to try and make this happen. I think that the story that we finally cracked is finally worthy of a sequel. And I think that the people who have been fans will feel like they got the movie they were waiting for.”

Further Devlin said that the time between the movies would be used as part of the plot which makes total sense to me. Time is a requirement for most fictional space travel so why not? I see it as being a plot device too for the sequel to DISTRICT 9 should that happen too.

However, I don't believe Devlin is your standard Hollywood writer / producer. Want proof? How about this quote from him:

“Many years ago, I was actually hired to write the sequel to Independence Day. And I wrote a sequel. And they paid me a boatload of money to go write this thing. And after I wrote it, I read it and I gave them back the money and I said, ‘look, this is an okay movie I just wrote. But it’s not worthy of the sequel to Independence Day.’ And I literally gave back the money. And afterwards I said, ‘You know what? I’m not even going to try anymore.’ And it was only about a year-and-a-half ago that Roland called me up and said, ‘We should try again.’”

No word on whether Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum or any of the other stars will be returning to the sequel, but Devlin did allude to it when he said that (paraphrased) it's necessary to account for the time between movies because the actors get older. Hint, hint.

More details when I get it! I am definitely up for another ID movie. Loved the first one despite some cheesy moments. Goldblum has GOT to come back.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A New Look At Gollum And An Update On A Potential Third Hobbit Movie!

Obviously the performance capture tech behind Gollum has improved dramatically since the LORD OF THE RINGS days and one only needs to look at he first shot to see just how it is being shot this time around.

Of note is that Gollum (being played by the perfcap maestro himself, Andy Serkis) is able to be in the same room and perform with Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) at the same time. This is a huge advantage over the LOTR series where they had to perform separately. Now the actors can work off of each other and potentially improve on an already impressive pedigree in visual effects.

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY will have a young Gollum involved which should prove to be very visually impressive! Can't wait to see what they have in store for us - all shot in native 3D with Red Epics on 3ality Technica rigs in 48 frames per second!

After watching Peter Jackson's final production diary video (there are upcoming post-production diaries coming too), you have got to be wired in to this movie! What more could possibly happen to get us even more excited?

How about a third Hobbit movie! Yes, it's in the works. Peter Jackson and his team are huddling with the studio now to try and line up financing for some shooting next year of a "bridge movie" that would connect THE HOBBIT: THERE AND BACK AGAIN and THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (which was released a surprising 11 years ago! My how time flies).

Here's what Peter Jackson had to say about the notion of a 3rd Hobbit movie:
"We've been certainly talking to the studio about some of the material we can't film. And we've been asking them if we can do a bit more filming next year…I'd like to shoot a bunch more material that we can't shoot. There's so much good stuff in the appendices that we haven't been able to squeeze into these movies."

On the other hand, they may get the go ahead to turn the extra shooting days into an extended version of the two Hobbit movies for release on disc. I'll take "Make it a third movie" for $100 Alex.

Here's the storyline for THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY:
THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY follows title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain, first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever… Gollum. Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities… A simple, goldring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.


Source: E!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ok It's Here! Check Out The First Trailer For Ang Lee's LIFE OF PI

We've seen some impressive imagery from Ang Lee's LIFE OF PI already but will the first trailer hold up to the intense expectations being set upon the movie?

YES. It does. Amazing so in fact. It reminds me a bit of how Tarsem Singh might have handled the movie - incredibly visual, surreal and yet intensely alive. I love it.

I won't go on too much about it until you've seen the trailer and have had a chance to absorb it perhaps with multiple viewings. Imagine this is 3D! And it's a native 3D production to boot shot with Cameron | Pace Groups 3D rigs.

Here's the storyline from the book:
The son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior and a fervent love of stories. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes.

The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days while lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them “the truth.” After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical, much more conventional – but is it more true?

Here's the trailer! Enjoy...

LIFE OF PI opens on November 21.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

3D Animation Roundup: ME AND MY SHADOW, DESPICABLE ME MINIONS And DWA Acquires Casper, Voltron And More...

Tons of 3D animation news this week! Lets start off with a poster from Dreamworks Animation and their all-star cast for the upcoming 2014 film ME AND MY SHADOW, featuring Josh Gad (Love and Other Drugs), Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs) and Kate Hudson (Almost Famous, Something Borrowed).

Animation veteran Alessandro Carloni, who most recently served as head of story on DreamWorks Animation's Academy Award-nominated HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, will make his directorial debut on Me & My Shadow. Melissa Cobb (KUNG FU PANDA 1 and 2) will produce and Jeff Hermann (KUNG FU PANDA 1 and 2) will co-produce. Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember (GET SMART) are writing the screenplay. The original script was written by Steve Bencich and Ron J. Friedman.

When recently asked about traditional hand drawn animation, DreamWorks Animation Chief Creative Officer Bill Damaschke spoke about the hybrid animation in ME AND MY SHADOW:

"Me And My Shadow, which is out in spring of 2014, is a combination of CG and traditional hand drawn animation. There is a reason to tell the story in that fashion. It's about what would happen if your shadow, that has been following you around and basically just follows what you do your whole life, just stood up and took over. The shadows will be animated hand drawn, and the other characters will be CG animated. There is a reason to do it [hand drawn animation] that felt creatively interesting."

Here's the storyline for ME & MY SHADOW:
Me And My Shadow reveals the once secret world of shadows and their human counterparts. Stan, our hero's shadow, yearns for a more exciting life but happens to be stuck with Stanley Grubb, a timid guy with an extreme aversion to adventure. When a crime in the shadow world puts both of their lives in danger, Stan is forced to take control of Stanley. They go on a madcap adventure to investigate the crime and stop the shadow villain from leading a rebellion where shadows take over the human world. During this adventure, Stan empowers Stanley to let go of his fears and embrace life. Through their adventure, they both learn that one cannot be whole without a true friend. 

Look for ME AND MY SHADOW in the Spring of 2013. Here's the official Facebook page.


One of the best features of the DESPICABLE ME franchise are those minions. They are pretty irresistible aren't they? Very funny stuff indeed. In fact, they are so irresistible that they have secured their own movie!

Yes, according to Deadline, Universal Picture are going to spawn a spin off movie from the original franchise.

Apparently Pierre Coffin (DESPICABLE ME) will direct with Kyle Balda (THE LORAX) acting as co-director and Brian Lynch (PUSS IN BOOTS) writing the screenplay.

Look for the minions in their own big screen movie in 2014.


And back to Dreamworks Animation - HUGE news. The studio has just acquired a treasure trove of characters and properties from Classic Media. Just how classic? How about Casper The Friendly Ghost, The Lone Ranger (doesn't affect the Disney movie that's about to pop), Voltron, George Of The Jungle, Rocky And Bullwinkle, Lassie and Where's Waldo?, not to mention all the characters in the Golden Books series. The price of the deal was valued at $155m.

Congratulations to everyone involved and continued success with these iconic brands.

Here's the official press release:
DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Classic Media, owner of one of the most extensive portfolios featuring many of the best-known and most-enduring franchises in all of family entertainment, for $155 million in cash from Boomerang Media Holdings I LLC, a portfolio company of Chicago-based private equity firm GTCR.

Classic Media’s library of intellectual property, which is focused on family characters and brands, features a vast collection of filmed entertainment with over 450 titles and more than 6,100 episodes of animated and live-action programming. Classic Media owns one of the world’s largest comic book archives and media rights to the titles in the Golden Books library, which have sold over two billion copies worldwide. Their properties have been distributed in over 170 territories around the globe.

With well-established titles such as Casper the Friendly Ghost, Where’s Waldo?, Lassie, The Lone Ranger, George of the Jungle and Rocky And Bullwinkle, Classic Media’s properties have been a fixture in mainstream entertainment for decades. The Christmas Classics – Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town – are the longest-running, highest-rated holiday specials in television history. Classic Media counts among its holdings contemporary bestsellers such as VeggieTales and the beloved Olivia property, as well as hits Postman Pat and Noddy in international markets.

“Classic Media brings a large and diverse collection of characters and branded assets that is extremely complementary to DreamWorks Animation’s franchise business, and we plan to leverage it across our motion picture, television, home entertainment, consumer products, digital, theme park and live entertainment channels,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, Chief Executive Officer of DreamWorks Animation. “Founders and co-CEOs Eric Ellenbogen and John Engelman – seasoned executives with over 20 years of industry experience and a proven track record of success in managing high-quality content – have built an amazing team at Classic Media and are a welcome addition to the DreamWorks Animation family.”

Classic Media has approximately 80 employees and is headquartered in New York City, with offices in the UK and a division, Big Idea Entertainment, in Nashville, TN.

“No company knows the family entertainment business better than DreamWorks Animation and we are excited to join their family in a natural extension of our long-standing relationship that began years ago on Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” said Eric Ellenbogen, co-CEO of Classic Media. “Classic Media brings to the table extensive rights to some of the most beloved family entertainment brands in the world. Our combination with DreamWorks Animation will expand the opportunities for us and for our content and distribution partners around the globe.”

Classic Media’s joint venture with Jay Ward Productions, a legend in animation, manages the rights to the entire Jay Ward animated catalog, which includes Rocky And Bullwinkle and Mr. Peabody And Sherman. DreamWorks Animation’s 3D feature film Mr. Peabody And Sherman is scheduled for release on December 25, 2013.

“For over 75 years, Classic Media’s iconic properties have entertained kids and families around the world with a unique, cross-generational appeal that is also a defining characteristic of DreamWorks Animation’s films,” added Bill Damaschke, Chief Creative Officer at DreamWorks Animation. “We believe their characters and brands will continue to serve as a creative magnet for the industry’s top directors, producers and artists.”

For the 12 months ended February 29, 2012, Classic Media earned net revenue of $82.2 million and operating profit of $19.2 million.The acquisition of Classic Media will be financed through a combination of cash and borrowings under DreamWorks Animation’s revolving credit facility. The purchase price of $155 million includes amounts required to retire indebtedness.

“As part of DreamWorks Animation’s ongoing diversification strategy, this acquisition combines our hit-driven business with Classic Media’s extensive and sustainable library revenue stream,” added Lew Coleman, DreamWorks Animation’s President and Chief Financial Officer. “We expect the transaction to be accretive to our earnings in the first full year following the completion of the acquisition.”

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the expiration or termination of the required waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976. DreamWorks Animation expects that the transaction will be completed during the quarter ended September 30, 2012.

J.P. Morgan Chase And Co. acted as financial advisor and Cravath, Swaine And Moore LLP and O’Melveny And Myers LLP served as legal advisors to DreamWorks Animation in connection with the transaction. Jefferies And Company, Inc. acted as financial advisor and Kirkland And Ellis LLP served as legal advisor to Classic Media in connection with the transaction.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Peter Jackson's Final Production Diary Brings It Home - THE HOBBIT Is On It's Way...

Click to enlarge
Here's your chance to watch something and then have a silly smile planted on your face for at least a few hours! Honestly, Peter Jackson has created his own signature method of marketing a movie (two in this case) that at once underscores the need to go see it and at the same time minimizes the need for on set employees to feel as though they must share the magic they are creating.

Look, directors (let alone directors shooting back to back tentpoles movies) are busy enough. For Jackson to care enough about his product and audience to do this for us is remarkable.

3ality Technica Rig Housing Red Epic Cameras In 3D Config
In an amazing twist that kept creeping into my mind, I was feeling quite moved at the end of this eighth and final production diary (there will be more post-production diaries), quite moved indeed - and yet we still have the movies to look forward to! For me anyway, this is perfect marketing. This is how you make a classic movie in today's world. 

With that out of the way, I won't spoil anything for you in the diary. You WILL be able to see some brief footage of what was made available to audiences at Comic-Con this year - although nothing too earth shattering, so I think it's ok to watch it.

And a shout out to Jackson's team on these movies: WELL DONE! You know who you are and there certainly are far too many to list, but without you the magic just wouldn't be there. Congratulations on the wrap. Next up? All those creative talents in post-production! Time to pick up the ball and run with it like few others can...

Here is the storyline for the first movie, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY:
From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," the first of two films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece “The Hobbit,” by J.R.R. Tolkien. The second film will be “The Hobbit: There and Back Again.”

Click to enlarge
Both films are set in Middle-earth 60 years before “The Lord of the Rings,” which Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen in the blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar®-winning “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.”

The adventure follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers.

Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever…Gollum. Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities … A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.

Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, the character he played in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and Martin Freeman in the central role of Bilbo Baggins. Also reprising their roles from “The Lord of the Rings” movies are: Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Ian Holm as the elder Bilbo; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; Orlando Bloom as Legolas; and Andy Serkis as Gollum.

Have a watch!

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY opens this December 19. I can't believe it's almost time!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

MUST WATCH: New Teaser Trailer For MAN OF STEEL!

Warner Bros. has released a new teaser trailer for MAN OF STEEL and it - looks - AMAZING. I saw it last night too pre-rolling in front of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. Zach Snyder is directing and we know him to be a very capable helmsman, but throw in Producer Christopher Nolan and it really starts to pick up some unique energy, perhaps like no other movie we've ever seen. Marvel has every right to look over their shoulder at this movie because if it connects like I think it will, then DC and Warner's are on their way back into the superhero genre in a big way. Justice League anyone? Imagine a JL movie helmed by Nolan. It might be the only way to get back in the director's chair for another superhero movie. One of it's targets? Best THE AVENGERS. Not an easy task.

I LOVE how Snyder is using Clark Kent as a fisherman in this thing. It's a new spin and it works. The soundtrack and editing on this thing are going to be impeccable. Henry Cavill is looking great so far in the role - that casting HAD to work and it seems to be.

This teaser is narrated by Kevin Costner. There is actually a second trailer out there too with the exact same content, except it is narrated by Russell Crowe.

Now, a small note that Warner Bros. still hasn't confirmed the post production of MAN OF STEEL in 3D, but for me - it's a no-brainer. Look at the success Marvel is having with the genre and the studio would be daft to not follow that model. Sure you could look at Nolan and the work that he's done with Batman without 3D, but do NOT kid yourself, his movies would gross much more and be all that much more enjoyable to legions of fans with immersive 3D. It's a perfect match for superhero movies that have been proven over and over again with Marvel. Even IMAX had listed MAN OF STEEL as being an IMAX 3D movie until Warners told them to take it down.

Clearly Nolan's fingerprints are ALL of over this movie - even Hans Zimmer is scoring it rather than Snyder's usual accomplice, Tyler Bates. The big question here is just how far will the money (Warner Bros.) and the true creative talent (Snyder) allow a Producer to wield. It's well known that Nolan is anti-3D and is quite evangelistic about it. 

Apparently Nolan hasn't met anyone who enjoys 3D! I guess that makes Nolan pretty lonely in Hollywood, never talking with his peers like oh say: Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott, James Cameron, Ang Lee, Peter Jackson, Bryan Singer, Steven Spielberg, Henry Selick, Robert Zemeckis, Joseph Kosinski, Rob Marshall, Tim Burton, Michael Bay, Alfonso Cuaron, Baz Luhrmann, Wim Wenders, Jean Luc Goddard, Werner Herzog and the list goes on. However I have to say if he is a traditionalist as he seems to be (sticking with film and no 3D), then I believe he should leave the creativity to his hired creative talent and not interfere at such a fundamental level. Clearly he is practically alone in Hollywood and to me that is not understanding a market very effectively. Man, I would have LOVED to have seen BB, TDK and TDKR in 3D. Multiple times I might add.

Here's the movie's storyline:
Henry Cavill plays Superman in director Zack Snyder's "Man of Steel." The film also stars Amy Adams as Daily Planet journalist Lois Lane, and Laurence Fishburne as her editor-in-chief, Perry White. Starring as Clark Kent's adoptive parents, Martha and Jonathan Kent, are Diane Lane and Kevin Costner.

Squaring off against the superhero are two other surviving Kryptonians, the villainous General Zod, played by Michael Shannon, and Faora, Zod's evil partner, played by Antje Traue. Also from Superman's native Krypton are Lara Lor-Van, Superman's mother, played by Ayelet Zurer, and Superman's father, Jor-El, portrayed by Russell Crowe. Rounding out the cast are Harry Lennix as U.S. military man General Swanwick, as well as Christopher Meloni as Colonel Hardy.

Here's the movie's official site. Want more photos?

Stay tuned for more! Can't wait to see this in 3D...

Photo: EW
Thanks: James Stewart

Friday, July 20, 2012

New Images From DREDD!!

Click to enlarge
We've got some more images for you from Karl Urban's upcoming DREDD. I am really liking the special effects makeup on Lena Headey - she definitely looks intense!

This could be the DREDD we've all been waiting for. Fingers crossed. So far, the word is good!

Here's the movie's storyline:
DREDD takes us to the wild streets of Mega City One, the lone oasis of quasi-civilization on Cursed Earth. Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is the most feared of elite Street Judges, with the power to enforce the law, sentence offenders and execute them on the spot – if necessary. The endlessly inventive mind of writer Alex Garland and the frenetic vision of director Peter Travis bring DREDD to life as a futuristic neo-noir action film that returns the celebrated character to the dark, visceral incarnation from John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra’s revered comic strip.

The future America is an irradiated waste land. On its East Coast, running from Boston to Washington DC, lies Mega City One–a vast, violent metropolis where criminals rule the chaotic streets. The only force of order lies with the urban cops called “Judges” who possess the combined powers of judge, jury and instant executioner. Known and feared throughout the city, Dredd (Karl Urban) is the ultimate Judge, challenged with ridding the city of its latest scourge–a dangerous drug epidemic that has users of “Slo-Mo” experiencing reality at a fraction of its normal speed.

DREDD opens on September 21.

Source: JoBlo

Thursday, July 19, 2012

SAN ANDREAS: 3D Has A New Writer Quilling The Quake

Carlton Cuse
Writer Carlton Cuse (LOST, BATES MOTEL) has been signed on to write SAN ANDREAS: 3D for New Line.

Also attached to the earthquake thriller are director Brad Peyton (JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND) and producer Beau Flynn (HANSEL AND GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS) who is also teeing up a third JOURNEY installment.

From Variety:
"Story takes place when a massive quake strikes California and centers on one man who must make the treacherous journey across the state to rescue his estranged daughter."

What I want to see is a realistic earthquake movie that truly shows what would happen during "the big one". Not the outrageous outcome of Emmerich's 2012, but something that I can suspend my disbelief and get drawn into, especially in 3D. It can be done. If you'll remember 1974's EARTHQUAKE, the scariest thing for me as a child was when those people were swept down in the dark sewer system and not all the buildings collapsing. If you humanize it, people will get it.

More info when it happens!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

3D Conversion Tech Legal Disputes: Digital Domain And Prime Focus Settle; Thomas Randolph Sues StereoD Including Giovanni Ribisi

There have been some interesting legal developments in the 3D conversion space this week, one disagreement being settled amicably and the other just starting to develop.

First off we have a software producer, Thomas Randolph who has made a claim against 3D conversion specialist StereoD for failure to pay him a 5% cut of the company.

Here's a portion of the story taken from Courthouse News Service:
Randolph and his company Interactive Artists LLC sued William Sherak (son of nonparty Tom Sherak, president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and a former partner of Revolution Studios); movie producer Christopher Mallick; actor Giovanni Ribisi; Kuniaki Izumi, the owner and developer of VDX software; and Hollywood agent David Phillips, who along with Sherak allegedly introduced Randolph to Mallick.

Mallick formed MRSR LLC fka StereoD LLC in 2009 to market and sell Izumi's VDX technology, according to the complaint. Randolph claims that he created the business plan for the 3D conversion company and introduced Mallick to Izumi's software, which converts 2D movies into 3D.

Randolph says he met with Mallick in late 2008, while he was a principal of Kerner Technologies, when the filmmaker expressed an interest in converting 2D movies into 3D.

Randolph says he told Mallick about the VDX technology, and persuaded Izumi to combine VDX technologies with Kerner's CPX technologies and with Kerner's consent entered into a venture with Mallick.

Under the terms of deal, Randolph would be the venture's Chief Technical Officer, own a 5-10 percent stake and license FrameFree and CPF technologies from Kerner, according to the lawsuit.

Randolph is seeking damages for breach of contract, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, intentional interference with contractual relations, fraud and negligent misrepresentation. His representation is Alexander Volchegursky, with Lvovich, Volchegursky & Szucsko, in San Francisco.


Secondly we have a settlement between Digital Domain (who recently bought the top tier conversion house In-Three) and Prime Focus. The two companies will be actually working together in the future so it is my understanding that this is an amicable arrangement.

Here's the press release for the settlement:

Digital Domain Media Group and Prime Focus World Settle DDMG Patent Infringement Claim on 3D Technology Through Licensing

Companies Will Collaborate on Visual Effects and 3D Conversion for Feature Films

Port St. Lucie, Fla. And Los Angeles, CA — July 18, 2012 — Digital Domain Media Group (NYSE: DDMG) and Prime Focus World NV have signed an agreement whereby Digital Domain Media Group (DDMG) will license its 3D conversion technology to Prime Focus World. The agreement settles and terminates the patent infringement litigation action filed by DDMG against Prime Focus World in 2011. Under the agreement DDMG and Prime Focus World will collaborate on visual effects and 2D-to-3D conversion services work for feature films.

“Ultimately this was a lawsuit between two companies that enjoy working together, so we’re happy to put it behind us and resume our prior relationship with Prime Focus one of performing high-quality VFX work collaboratively,” said John Textor, CEO and Chairman of DDMG. “We understand that Prime Focus has its own significant 3D technology and we are pleased to report, as this license suggests, that they respect ours as we respect theirs.”

“Prime Focus is dedicated to delivering the highest level of conversion to its clients. The technology that we’ve licensed from Digital Domain Media Group enhances our own robust proprietary processes and increases our efficiency for our customers. We look forward to continuing our work with DDMG on their most important VFX projects,” said Namit Malhotra, CEO and Chairman of Prime Focus World.”

Through the Digital Domain Stereo Group, DDMG owns the six U.S. patents that represent the original commercially feasible computerized process for converting 2-dimensional filmed imagery into 3-dimensional stereoscopic imagery. The DDSG patents provide fundamental coverage of any modern conversion process that involves rotoscoping (i.e., computerized, semi-automatic and semi-automatic conversion with roto), and relate to any conversion process that includes horizontal image displacement / transform. In 2011, DDMG made its patent portfolio available to select companies in the broader industry through a studio-friendly licensing program. Prime Focus joins Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., which licensed DDMG’s technology in 2011 for use in its consumer electronics, components, services and software businesses.

About Digital Domain Media Group
Digital Domain Media Group (DDMG: NYSE) leverages its expertise in digital visual effects (VFX) and computer-generated (CG) animation across a group of interrelated businesses. At its foundation is Digital Domain Productions (DDPI), an award-winning digital production company founded in 1993. This leading provider of visuals has contributed to more than 90 major motion pictures, including Titanic, the Transformers series, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and TRON: Legacy, hundreds of commercials, and recently created the virtual likeness of rapper Tupac Shakur for Dr. Dre’s show at the Coachella Valley Music Festival. Mothership, a DDPI subsidiary, focuses on creating advertising, entertainment and branded content from concept to completion, across multiple media platforms. DDMG, its work and its employees have been recognized with numerous awards, including seven from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The company is building on its success in VFX to participate as a co-producer in major productions and is currently co-producing the upcoming live-action sci-fi feature film Ender’s Game, as well as virtual likenesses for Elvis Presley that will be jointly owned by CORE Media Group and DDMG. DDMG also converts two-dimensional (2D) imagery to three-dimensional (3D) imagery and holds key patents in this area. The company is also applying its CG expertise to produce original, family-friendly animated feature films at its subsidiary Tradition Studios. The first movie, The Legend of Tembo, is in pre-production and two more features are in development. The company’s education subsidiary, the Digital Domain Institute, sets a new standard in digital media education through a pioneering public-private partnership with The Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts. DDMG is expanding its worldwide footprint of the highest quality visual effects and animation at the lowest possible cost through global partnerships in India and China. The company has studios in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Florida, Vancouver, Mumbai and London, and is currently establishing studios in Beijing and Abu Dhabi.

Prime Focus World is a leading global technology services company providing comprehensive creative and technical services to the film, broadcast and advertising industries. Providing 2D to 3D conversion, visual effects and animation services for major media and entertainment companies, the Company has brought its expertise to many wide release Hollywood films, including Men in Black 3, Star Wars: Episode One – The Phantom Menace, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Green Lantern, Immortals, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Avatar. Prime Focus World has global operations with a presence in key centers of creative content production – Los Angeles, New York, London, Vancouver and Mumbai.

This post makes no interpretation of who is right and wrong in these legal matters that are in the hands of the courts.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Must See: Amazing Aerial Images From The IRON MAN 3 Set!!

Click to enlarge
I have to admit my jaw dropped on these shots from the set of IRON MAN 3. It looks like some kind of intricate combination practical / visual effects shot that Shane Black has had up his sleeve. Perhaps a slo-mo shot? Would they dare drop all those stunt people at the same time in that close of a proximity to each other?

It looks to me as though Tony Stark is in mid-transition to becoming Iron Man in what seems to be an entirely new suit. What kind of suit? Does Extremis have something to do with this? Good question.

The stuntwork sounds amazing on this production and reminds me of the work done on MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL.

Note that the cameras they are using do not seem to be in stereoscopic configuration and so it's fairly clear IRON MAN 3 will be post converted to 3D just like CAP, THOR and THE AVENGERS.

Here's some official info about the movie:
Following in the footsteps of the record-breaking Marvel Studios’ release “Marvel’s The Avengers,” production on the highly anticipated film “Iron Man 3,” directed by Shane Black, has production locations in North Carolina, Raleigh/Durham, Miami, Florida and China.

Based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series, first published in 1963, “Iron Man 3” returns Robert Downey Jr. (“Iron Man,” “Marvel’s The Avengers”) as the iconic Super Hero character Tony Stark/Iron Man along with Gwyneth Paltrow (“Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2,”) as Pepper Potts, Don Cheadle (“Iron Man 2”) as James “Rhodey” Rhodes and Jon Favreau (“Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2”) as Happy Hogan. Set for release in the U.S. on May 3, 2013, Marvel’s “Iron Man 3” marks the second feature to be fully owned, marketed and distributed by Disney, which acquired Marvel in 2009.

“Iron Man 3” continues the epic, big-screen adventures of the world’s favorite billionaire inventor/Super Hero, Tony Stark aka “Iron Man.” Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige is producing the film. Executive producers on the project include Jon Favreau, Louis D’Esposito, Alan Fine, Stan Lee, Charles Newirth, Victoria Alonso, Stephen Broussard and Dan Mintz.

The creative production team on the film includes two-time Oscar®-winning director of photography John Toll, ASC (“Braveheart,” “Legends of the Fall”), production designer Bill Brzeski (“The Hangover,” “Due Date”), editors Jeffrey Ford, A.C.E. (“Marvel’s The Avengers,” “Captain America: The First Avenger”) and Peter S. Elliot (“Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer”), and costume designer Louise Frogley (“Quantum of Solace,” “Contagion”).

Oh and you have GOT to watch Robert Downey Jr.'s entrance to Comic-Con this year! Hilarious!! Check it out:

IRON MAN 3 opens on May 3, 2013.

Photo source: Marvel's Facebook


Click to enlarge
I've been waiting for this movie for a long time! I think a lot of you have too. I'm a big fan of the first movie, well the first two acts at least. So when news came that there will be clips from the movie at Comic-Con I was ecstatic. 

Here's a clip that you can view now that reveals some of the creatures. I thought that the build up in the first movie BEFORE you see any creatures was amazing and that you could cut the tension with a knife. I'm hopeful that the sequel will continue in the same mold.

I like the unpredictability of the creatures in this clip. There's huge potential in the Silent Hill franchise and with the original actors coming back including Sean Bean in this sequel, I'm hoping for a huge hit for this native 3D movie, being rigged by the experts over at 3ality Technica.

After the clip, check out what was said at their panel...

Here's the movie's storyline:
Based on the groundbreaking video game franchise, SILENT HILL: REVELATION 3D is the sequel to the hit film SILENT HILL, which opened to number one at the U.S. box office and took in nearly $100 million at the worldwide box office. Featuring an unparalleled horror experience, Konami’s Silent Hill franchise has captivated fans for more than a decade and has spawned a hit comic book series, graphic novels, collectible action figures and numerous soundtracks from rock bands. In SILENT HILL: REVELATION 3D, Heather Mason (Clemens) and her father (Bean) have been on the run, always one step ahead of dangerous forces that she doesn’t fully understand. On the eve of her 18th birthday, plagued by horrific nightmares and the disappearance of her father, Heather discovers she’s not who she thinks she is. The revelation leads her deeper into a demonic world that threatens to trap her forever.

Here's what JoBlo had to say about the panel:
The panel began with two clips:

#1: A girl frees her friend who’s encased in some kind of web or tape, just as a weird spider-like creature made up of mannequin parts begins to come after them. The mannequin monster was CGI and looked more silly than scary. (Though I haven’t played the Silent Hill games, so this might be something I’m just not familiar with.) The two girls take off running, with one telling the other she got lost in the fog.

#2 (The clip in this post): Kit Harrington (Jon Snow from Game of Thrones) is strapped to a table in a room filled with those creepy knife-wielding nurses from the first movie. A girl comes in and offers to free him if he helps her find her dad. The nurses are almost motion activated, so every time she moves to cut his straps they moved a bit closer to them. She cuts the final strap just as the nurse gets to them—typical tension stuff.

Director Michael J Basset (SOLOMON KANE), actress Adelaide Clemens and producer Samuel Hadida then came out to address the crowd.

- SILENT HILL: REVELATIONS is a sequel to the first movie, an adaptation of the third game, but also works as a standalone film. There will be easter eggs for fans of the series.
- The mannequin monster is the only adversary in the film that was not done practically on set. It was inspired by the game but they developed it further.
- Basset said the movie is a hard R and the clips we saw were the only PG-13 parts of the movie. “I didn’t want to scare the Hobbit fans out there.”
- He said they’re taking the character of Sharon from the first film and turning her in to Heather in this film. Supposedly that’s explained at some point.
- The film was shot in 3D, not post converted. Bassett was initially not a fan of the format but said if there ever was a universe to immerse yourself in, it’s this one.
- Members of Konami and Universal Studios came out for a special announcement: the launch of a Silent Hill maze attraction at both Universal Studios Hollywood and Orlando during their Halloween Horror Nights this October.
- Sean Bean returns for the sequel, prompting someone from the audience to ask if he dies in this movie like he does in every other role. Bassett’s answer was “Yes and no. You have to see the movie to understand. You’ll have something to add to the [Sean Bean Death Montage] YouTube video, but not in the way you expect.”

*Rubs hands together* SILENT HILL: REVELATION 3D opens on October 26.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Comic-Con Updates For THE HOBBIT!! A Third Movie In The Works?

Click to enlarge
Guys, here's a rundown of some of the information I have read on THE HOBBIT thus far from Comic-Con 2012. First of all let me tip my cap to the sources for this info, Collider and Deadline as it is no small feat to be able to get to these events, position yourself and take notes / record. 

What's THE most new and exciting thing about Peter Jackson's revisit to Middle-earth? How about a 3rd movie! The potential is there and is being considered by the studio. They have the rights to use the appendices from The Lord Of The Rings which opens the door to numerous possibilities. One of the things of concern for shooting THE HOBBIT was the disappearance of Gandalf for few chapters of the book which is now being addressed by using those appendices. It turns out this portion of the movie will be darker and help lead into THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING. Apparently Jackson is prepared to add on weeks of shooting to complete a third movie if the studio approves the request. Fingers crossed.

Here's the information the Deadline accumulated: 

Guillermo Del Toro told me he didn’t feel badly about stepping away from directing The Hobbit because the film ended up in the right hands, your hands. Everybody felt that way but you it seemed. Why did it take you so long to embrace a return to Middle Earth as director?
JACKSON: It did seem that way, but you’re talking about a series of events that were largely out of everybody’s control at the time. I have a certain belief in fate. Not in a religious way but over my life I find that if you try to assert yourself and influence things too much, it’s not necessarily the best idea. You kind of take your foot off the clutch at some stage and freewheel and let things happen. Guillermo was developing The Hobbit, I was producing it and I had other things that I was developing of my own at that time. And for the 18 months he was on it, we never had a green light. MGM was in all sorts of trouble, and teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. There is a certain disillusionment that happens when you work so long on a project that has no guarantee of happening. Also, Guillermo always has a lot of things he is developing and it was out of our hands. He’d made up his mind, and we fully understood. When he left, the film still didn’t have a green light, it was still another three or four months before the MGM situation resolved itself. At that point, as the producer on the film, there had been a significant amount of development money spent on the project during those 18 months, with script development, locations and everything else. And I just felt I couldn’t now try to find another director to take over. To protect the studios’ investment, I thought as producer that I had to do the smart thing here and step up. I guess I was superstitious. The reason I never really went there at the beginning was, I was thinking about that superstition of lightning never striking twice, and I thought I’d always be competing against myself. That I’d go to work each day thinking, I’ve got to shoot this scene better than the one I did 10 or 12 years ago. As it was, that never happened and I never had those thoughts. But I feel the same way as Guillermo. I feel that fate dictated that Pacific Rim getting made, and that otherwise would not have gotten made. From everything I’m hearing, that is a kick ass film and I got to make The Hobbit and I thoroughly enjoyed my time on it. Sometimes you’ve just got to let go of the steering wheel and let fate take you where it’s going to take you.

The Hobbit is different than the epic quest of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Tonally, how does it compare?
JACKSON: The tone is partially set by the novel, which is very much a children’s novel. That all goes back to JRR Tolkien writing The Hobbit first, for children, and only after did he develop his mythology much more over the 16 or 17 years later when The Lord of the Rings came out, which is way more epic and mythic and serious. What people have to realize is we’ve adapted The Hobbit, plus taken this additional 125 pages of notes, that’s what you’d call them. Because Tolkien himself was planning the rewrite The Hobbit after The Lord of the Rings, to make it speak to the story of The Lord of the Rings much more. In the novel, Gandalf disappears for various patches of time. In 1936, when Tolkien was writing that book, he didn’t have a clue what Gandalf was doing. But later on, when he did The Lord of the Rings and he’d hit on this whole epic story, he was going to go back and revise The Hobbit and he wrote all these notes about how Gandalf disappears and was really investigating the possible return of Sauron, the villain from The Lord of the Rings. Sauron doesn’t appear at all in The Hobbit. Tolkien was retrospectively fitting The Hobbit to embrace that mythology. He never wrote that book, but there are 125 pages of notes published at the back of Return of the King in one of the later editions. It was called The Appendices, and they are essentially his expanded Hobbit notes. So we had the rights to those as well and were allowed to use them. So we haven’t just adapted The Hobbit; we’ve adapted that book plus great chunks of his appendices and woven it all together. The movie explains where Gandalf goes; the book never does. We’ve explained it using Tolkien’s own notes. That helped inform the tone of the movie, because it allowed us to pull in material he wrote in The Lord of the Rings era and incorporate it with The Hobbit. So we kept the charm and the whimsy of the fairy tale quality through the characters. Through the dwarves and Bilbo, who is more of a humorous character. He doesn’t try to be funny but we find him funny and find his predicament more amusing than that of Frodo in The Lord of the Rings. That was more serious. So the whimsy is there, but tonally I wanted to make it as similar to The Lord of the Rings, because I wanted it to be possible for the people, the crazy people in the world who want to watch these films back to back one day…

JACKSON: [Laughs]. I wanted it to feel for people like you that the films have one organic flow, that there is not film completely different than the next.

In the spirit of what you just said, The Hobbit was shot in 3D. What about converting The Lord of the Rings into that format, which would unify all five films in the series?
JACKSON: It has been discussed over the years. It’s a money thing and it’s a market thing. Look, everything in Hollywood is driven by the market and by money. If Warner Bros felt they could rerelease these films and cover the cost of conversion then I’m sure they will do it. Everyone got excited after Titanic was converted and released, and then the numbers were not great for Episode One of Star Wars. Really, as an industry, people are still wondering what the economics are for post-converting older movies into 3D. I don’t think the question has really been answered and maybe it won’t be until later when entertainment systems at home become more sophisticated and everyone has 3D. But now, I’m afraid it’s still a question mark.

People here were surprised that the clips you showed at Comic-Con were not 3D, and were not the 48 frames per second format that you hope to advance with The Hobbit. Have you licked whatever those bugs were when you first showed the footage?
JACKSON: The 48 looks completely fantastic. What my experience has been with 48, and I’ve seen a lot of frames of this over the last year and one-half is, you get used to it. You sit there and think, wow, this doesn’t look like any film I’ve seen before. And then, within 10 minutes, you just forget about it and at the end you think, wow, that was actually really nice. It’s smooth and easy on the eyes, especially in 3D. It’s immersive. It’s like Showscan, the old Doug Trumbull 60 frames per second process. You really feel immersed in it. And yet I don’t think it does 48 any justice just to screen 10 minutes of clips, without a narrative and without allowing people time to get into the story.
After CinemaCon, where we screened a six or seven-minute reel, I went on the internet to see what people thought of the first footage of The Hobbit. And nobody was commenting on the footage, good or bad. Everyone had opinions about the 48 frames. You had the film purists saying, this doesn’t look like cinema, it doesn’t look like film. Well, no, it doesn’t, it’s completely different. Those negative comments were getting picked up and spun around the world by all the bloggers. I didn’t want to risk that at Comic-Con. I wanted people to look at the actors, at the performance, the story, and I didn’t want Comic-Con stories to be all about 48 frames. Especially when it’s only a 12 minute clip reel and it’s in Hall H in a convention center, and not even in a cinema. The 3D looks like crap in that hall, so I wasn’t going to be screening 3D. I just wanted the focus to be the movie.

But you will release the film in 3D, 48 frames per second, right?
JACKSON: In December, there will be plenty of screens showing in 48 frames. We’re not going to overdo the 48 frames, but it’s very important that it’s used as a test for the industry. We’ll have some premium screens showing 48, but there will be lots showing 24 frames. People who are curious can see it. I just think frame rate is a really important issue for the future of the industry. I think 48 is really spectacular and if it can get kids off their iPads and home entertainment systems and back into the movie theaters, I think it is something everyone has to look at very seriously. And to do it justice, you’ve got to look at it in a feature length film. Not a clip in Hall H.

I recall James Cameron telling me that The Lord of the Rings showed him things that helped as he was figuring out Avatar. Is it a responsibility for you top guys to continue to move the technological ball forward?
DEL TORO: I think it is. High frame rates have been something the industry has always been curious about. But in the days of 35 mm, cameras could shoot high frame rates but every cinema in the world had these mechanical projectors that couldn’t project any higher than 24 frames. It was never feasible to push the frame rates because you literally had no way of projecting them in anything other than a theme park. Now, with the advent of all the digital projectors, they’re all capable of high frame rates. Why, as an industry where we have dwindling audiences especially among the kids, should we be content to sit back and say that we got it right in 1927? And say that that’s what cinema should look like, same as in 1927, and don’t change a thing. No! The kids aren’t going to give a toss about the frame rates. If something feels immersive to them, if it feels more exciting, spectacular, sharper, clearer, that’s what they’re going to like. I don’t think any 17 year old is going to say, I prefer the strobing, the re-panning and the motion blur of 24 frames. Those 17 year olds are just going to sit there, look at the higher frame rate and say, this is cool. This is cool! As an industry, we’ve got to try and get people back in the cinemas. Whether that’s the way to do it, I don’t know. But I’m trying. It’s an experiment, but I personally think it looks fantastic. I think this time next year, there will be a lot of movies shooting in 48, including some big tent poles. If I had a dollar to place a wager, I’d place my dollar there.

And here's information Collider has accumulated: 

Question: Peter, so you really want to shoot more footage and possibly even make a third film?
PETER JACKSON: Well, it’s very, very premature. We have got incredible source material with the appendices. There’s the novel, but then we also have the rights to use the 125 pages of additional notes where Tolkien expanded the world of The Hobbit. We’ve used some of that so far, and just in the last few weeks, as we’ve been wrapping up the shooting and thinking about the shape of the story, Philippa [Boyens], Fran [Walsh] and I have been talking to the studio about other things that we haven’t been able to shoot and seeing if we could possibly persuade them to do a few more weeks of shooting. We’d probably need more than a few weeks, actually, next year. The discussions are pretty early, so there isn’t anything to report, but there are other parts of the story that we’d like to tell, that we haven’t had the chance to tell yet. We’re just trying to have those conversations with the studio, at the moment.

Because The Hobbit is more of a children’s novel, how will it fit in with The Lord of the Rings films, in tone?

JACKSON: That’s a very good question, and I think the answer lies somewhere in between because we basically used more source material than just The Hobbit. For instance, in The Hobbit, when Gandalf mysteriously disappears for chapters, it’s never really explained, in any detail, where he’s gone. Much later, Tolkien fleshed those moments out. In these appendices, he did talk about what happened, and it was a lot darker and more serious than what’s written in The Hobbit. Also, to be quite honest, I want to make a series of movies that run together, so if any crazy lunatic wants to watch them all in a row, there will be a consistency of tone. I don’t want to make a purely children’s story, followed by The Lord of the Rings. We are providing a balance. A lot of the comedy and the charm and the fairytale quality of The Hobbit comes from the characters. You are dealing with Bilbo Baggins, who is a little more reluctant, possibly, to go on an adventure than Frodo was. You’re dealing with dwarves who have a personality and a comradery, all of their own. There’s a lot of humor and a lot touch to be gained from those characters, but there’s still some serious themes involved. Hopefully, The Hobbit films will comfortably straddle both worlds.

Why did you decide not to show any footage in 48 fps at Comic-Con?

JACKSON: Well, 48fps has the potential of being quite an important moment for the film industry. We have to provide a theatrical experience to bring audiences back to the cinemas. We’re in an age where there is dwindling attendance, particularly amongst younger people. I think we have to look to the technology that we have to try to figure out ways to make the cinematic experience much more spectacular and more immersive. But, Hall H is not the place to do it. We screened 10 minutes of footage. I’ve seen a lot of 48 frames, over the past year and a half, and it’s fantastic! It’s an incredible thing. But, I didn’t want to repeat the CinemaCon experience where literally people saw the reel and all they wrote about was 48 fps. That doesn’t do us any good, and it doesn’t do 48 fps any good. To accurately judge that, you really need to sit down and watch the entire film, and that opportunity is going to be there in December. I wanted the focus to just be on the footage, the characters and the performances, and not the technical stuff.

Martin, as one of the actors who is new to this world, what was it like to be a part of this and play a character that is so small?

MARTIN FREEMAN: For me, it became really noticeable when we went to Lake Town.

JACKSON: Spoiler alert!

FREEMAN: In the book, in Lake Town, there are human beings. That’s when we became more aware that, “Christ, we’re really small!,” because we spend so much of the time just hanging out with each other. We’re very aware that Gandalf is bigger. We’re used to looking two feet above Ian’s eyes. But, among all of us, we’re just the heights we are, so it doesn’t really occur to you very often. My scale double hasn’t been used that much, really.

JACKSON: Not as much as on Rings, no.

FREEMAN: So, it’s felt fairly painless, and it hasn’t felt to contrived. Personally, I’ve been surprised by how quickly I’ve gotten used to these ways of filming that I haven’t used before. The first time that we ever shot a scene with Gandalf, where Ian had to be in a completely different room, I thought, “This is ridiculous! This will never work! Who are these people? Why are they doing this to us?” And then, an hour later, you go, “That looks brilliant!” You rehearse it and rehearse it, and it becomes normal. Your whole frame of reference for how you normally work on a film shifts. What, one minute, is completely unworkable and ridiculous, the next week just works. It becomes very easy, actually.

Martin, how does this literary adaptation of Tolkien compare to the experience of making The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?

FREEMAN: It’s even more green screen this time than with Adams. They’re very different. Apart from the fact that they have a fantastical element to them and I’m playing in adaptations, they’re literally completely different worlds. The experience of this is genuinely unlike anything I’ve ever done, and unlike anything I’m likely to do again, just for breadth of scale and time, and being in a different part of the hemisphere than I’m used to. It’s a whole different experience. It’s like a huge chunk of your life. That, alone, makes it different from anything else. The budget makes it different. You’re constantly walking onto sets and soundstages where what you’re acting on would take up the entire budget of any other film I’ve done. So, just the scale of it is quite phenomenal. For me, they’re incomparable.

In taking a character from a book, did either author make it easier to inhabit the character?

FREEMAN: That’s a good question. Not that I’ve noticed, particularly, no. With Arthur Dent, he serves, I suppose, a similar function to Bilbo, in that he’s the nearest thing to an audience member, in the film. He’s the audience’s way in. And to a certain extent, you could argue that they’re archetypes, in the hands of a much lesser actor. Cue laughter. They’re ciphers, in a way, I suppose you could say. And, they’re reluctant heroes who end up being heroes by accident because they’re archetypal stay-at-home people. Also, a lot of the time, it’s not just about whether the author makes it easier because that goes for an adaptive process, and then you’re working with directors as well. It’s the entire experience that determines whether you’re going to have an easy time of it or not. It’s not just Tolkien versus Douglas Adams, both of whom are brilliant writers. It’s who’s directing the film, who’s adapted it, and everything.

Peter, what have been the biggest advances in technology, since The Lord of the Rings?

JACKSON: The technology that advanced the most, in the last 10 or 12 years, is really the fact that we did a lot of miniature shooting on The Lord of the Rings. All the big architectural structures of Middle Earth were really miniatures, some of them quite large. But, you’re limited to what you can do with a miniature because you literally have to have a big camera that has to sweep past it, so you can’t get too close to it and the detail doesn’t hold up too well, if you do. This time around, there are no miniatures. It’s all done with CGI. Everything that we need to build, from a miniature point of view, we build as a CG miniature. I can now swoop in, over rooftops and through doorways. I can do things that I never could have dreamt of doing with the miniatures. For me, that’s actually one of the most profound differences. Gollum has more muscles in his face than he did, 12 years ago. Hopefully, Andy [Serkis] has made those muscles work in a brilliant way. We deliberately made Gollum look very similar to how he did because we wanted consistency through the films. WETA Digital, who do the work, have subsequently been working on Avatar and built a very sophisticated motion-capture facial system, and Gollum inherited some of the technological advances of that.

SERKIS: When we shot The Lord of the Rings, we shot on 35mm. I would act with Elijah [Wood] and Sean Astin, and then the performances were filmed. And then, I would have to go back to the motion-capture stage and choreograph Gollum back into the empty plates. The facial performance was derived from the filmed 35mm performance, which was then animated directly to match that performance. What is amazing now with performance-capture is that you can get the entire performance, all in one hit. We were able to shoot a scene in its entirety, on a live set, with Martin’s performance being captured on a digital camera while Gollum’s performance used a performance-capture camera, and capture them both, at exactly the same moment in time. What that does is that there’s no disconnect. The fidelity to the moment, the choices and the beats that you create, between the director and the actors, is absolutely nailed in one. That makes a significant difference to the believability and the emotion. Therefore, the chances to augment and change the iteration on the fly makes a huge difference .

Peter, why was this right for 3D and 48 fps?

JACKSON: Everyone is used to seeing 3D now. We have filmed in 3D. We’re not doing a post-conversion. I think what we did is a much more immediate and realistic look at 3D, and it’s been surprisingly easy, too. The cameras and the rigs that were available to us, even though they were prototypes when we first began, performed really, really well and very, very easily. They were easy to use fast. It hasn’t slowed us down, at all. The 48 fps takes away the art effects that we’re used to seeing in cinema, and that’s what people are gonna have to get used to. But, I find that you get used to it pretty quickly, when you sit and watch it. We’re used to seeing strobing. We’re used to seeing a panning shot, which is like a series of still frames that shutters its way along. You don’t get that with 48 frames. And yet, it doesn’t impede our ability to color time the film and put a really creative grade on the movie. Everything is the same as it normally is. And, the fact that you don’t have so much motion blur makes it feel quite sharp, as well. You get something that, to me, is much more akin to shooting on 65mm. You get a very fine detail with the 48 frames. It’s weird because, back in 1998, when we first started working on The Lord of the Rings, for awhile, I seriously tried to convince the studio to shoot in 65mm ‘cause I really thought that The Lord of the Rings should have been shot in that format. But, at the time, the cameras were huge, cumbersome and difficult. The negative that we would shoot would have to be sent away to America to be processed, so we couldn’t even see any of the rushes from New Zealand. We’d have to ship them to America, and then back again. So, the whole thing really wasn’t actually possible. For me, I finally get to shoot my 65mm quality film.

IAN McKELLAN: It’s astonishing to think that most of the people at the presentation have never seen The Lord of the Rings in the cinema. We’ve all got eight, nine and ten-year-olds who watch The Lord of the Rings, non-stop, but they watch it at home. What is going to happen to their heads, when they take their parents in to see a 3D movie, maybe for the first time, that’s in 48 fps? It’s going to be much bigger and more astonishing for them.

JACKSON: Hopefully, they’ll tell their parents to take them to more movies and get them away from their iPads.

McKELLAN: For people who are like, “Oh, we don’t need 3D, we’re used to 2D,” bollocks! 3D is life. We’re in 3D now. The brilliance about Peter’s 3D is that it doesn’t come out at you. You go into it. You enter Middle Earth. You look around the corner. You’re even deeper in, and can you find your way out? That’s the effect of 3D. Those little kids are going to be so thrilled!

JACKSON: 48 fps is way better for 3D. One of the things with 3D is that it does accentuate the strobing because you’re getting it in two eyes from two cameras that were filming. Once you go to 48, it’s much smoother. There’s no eye strain and no headaches. The thing that we have to get now are the laser projectors, which are on the horizon, probably next year. The light levels of 3D will be radically increased, two or three times the light levels that exist now. At that point, cinema exhibition will be at a place where it will be great. It will be fantastic!

Andy, how did you come to also be directing Second Unit on the film? Is directing something you had been looking to move into?

SERKIS: I’ve been wanting to direct film for quite some time. During The Lord of the Rings, I was directing short films. And then, using performance-capture, I went into directing video games. So, Peter has always been aware that that’s an area I’ve wanted to move towards. It was a very last-minute thing. I only thought I was going to be going down to New Zealand for two weeks, to reprise the role of Gollum. Literally, a month beforehand, I got the most amazing call and the most amazing opportunity, which was Peter asking me to come down and be the Second Unit director. It’s probably true to say that it’s unlike any other Second Unit directing, in the sense that the scale and scope and the variety of requirements for the Second Unit director is pretty huge. You’re shooting everything from fighting sequences to map inserts to drama with all the principal cast. There’s just a huge variety, on a day-to-day level. You’re working with an enormous crew and using 3D, for the first time, and shooting on 48fps, for the first time. It was just a massive learning curve, really. The idea at the center of it was that, because of the size of the cast and because the scenes would be sharing casts, Peter wanted someone he could rely on to take care of performance, as much as the technical side. And we worked very closely. Peter briefed me, every day, and was able to watch what I was doing. We would lay out a plan and a way of shooting, and then Peter would give me notes that were always better. It was very good to be able to provide a sounding board for Peter. I went into it, not with any grand designs of, “I’m going to be shooting my version!” I went in absolutely expecting to be Peter’s eyes and ears. Hopefully, I satisfied that.

Sir Ian, what was it like to return to Gandalf, after all these years?

McKELLAN: Peter and I were just so thrilled that Gandalf the White wasn’t in The Hobbit.


McKELLAN: We prefer Gandalf the Grey.

JACKSON: Gandalf the White was a bit boring.

McKELLAN: He was a man on a mission, so he had to get on with it. But, Gandalf the Grey has time to enjoy himself.

JACKSON: Gandalf the Grey was always our favorite.

McKELLAN: He can have a smoke and a drink and a chat, and do a few little tricks. It was a great relief! But, people shouldn’t expect to see a different sort of Gandalf. As for being 60 years young, because the story takes place 60 years before, when you’re 7,000 years old, 60 years doesn’t make much difference. When we went back to do this movie, it’s not just the cast. It’s all the people behind the camera, too. They were the same. Every head of every department was as we left them on The Lord of the Rings. We were back with old friends. In fact, the new side of it was the actors, like all the dwarves and this particular Bilbo. But, everyone fit in very well.

If you're curious about what was in the clip from THE HOBBIT - here's Collider's breakdown (SPOILERS!):

- The opening clip was the longest of the bunch, as we saw Gandalf, Bilbo and the dwarves all together at Bag End arguing over how to go about reclaiming what is theirs from the dragon Smaug. There was a great deal of humor sprinkled throughout, with Freeman getting the biggest laughs for his reluctance to join the dwarves on their journey.
- The footage then went to a short montage that featured Rivendell, Christopher Lee as Saruman, and Fry as Master of Laketown.
- We then saw a great scene that showed Gandalf getting into the action with his sword/staff combo, followed later by a lower energy—but no less exciting—scene between Gandalf and Galadriel (played by Cate Blanchette). It’s a sweet and touching scene between the two, with Galadriel acting as a reassuring presence for Gandalf.
- Next was a wonderful scene between Bilbo and Gollum. Though it’s only been 9 years since The Return of the King, the amazing advances in visual effects are evident with this newly rendered Gollum. He looks gorgeous and even more lifelike than before. It also appears that they’ve done some subtle work to make him look younger than he does in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which is a nice touch. Bilbo and Gollum participated in the “Game of Riddles,” and laughs were abundant.
- We then saw a scene between Gandalf and Bilbo with the former telling Bilbo that he’s changed and isn’t the same person that left The Shire. Bilbo handles The Ring in his pocket while trying to decide if he should tell Gandalf about it, before simply saying that he “found courage.”
- The last sequence was a montage of great-looking action scenes (likely from the second film) that showed the trolls, a quick look at Evangeline Lilly’s character, and a fantastic shot of Orlando Bloom as Legolas drawing an arrow and aiming at the group of dwarves. Cue crowd going wild.

The visuals are going to be amazing with Jackson using the Red Epics at 48 fps in tandem with the 3ality Technica rigs. Think PROMETHEUS and THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, but in a higher frame rate!

We've had a long and rich history with THE HOBBIT here at MarketSaw haven't we? Remember when our sources came up large so that we could know first that Peter Jackson was coming back to the project (despite differences and legal matters with New Line) and that the movies will be in 3D? Those were the days! Third movie or not we are finally going to see the hobbit back in theaters this Christmas. You have GOT to be feeling it!!

Contact Me

Jim Dorey
jim (at) marketsaw (dot) com

All contents Copyright © 2006-2018, MarketSaw Media. All Rights Reserved. All copyrights and trademarks on this website belong to their respective owners.