Sunday, June 21, 2015

Lionsgate to Americans: No 3D Version of 'Mockingjay' For You


How many of you out there are looking forward to seeing "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2" this November?! Why?  Didn't you hear, the last movie sucked (alright, that's not fair; it might be good).  Now then, who here has been looking forward to seeing it in RealD 3D or IMAX 3D?  Well, if you were, you are just plain out of luck, because the 3D release has been canceled.  Why?  Um... honestly, I don't know.  This is a very strange case.  The movie was announced early on as being in 3D, the 3D was completed, according to the director it looked pretty good, and the rest of the world (including the very lucrative Chinese market) will be getting it.  Heck, many of the posters you see in movie theaters still proudly proclaim that it will be released in 3D.  So, seriously, what the heck happened?

According to director Francis Laurence in an interview with Forbes Magazine; “I love the 3D format and I know that Mockingjay part 2 will play perfectly in 3D and 2D internationally – but I’m pleased that we’re maintaining the 2D only (and IMAX) formats domestically. It is the best of all worlds!”  *sigh* Again, what the heck happened?!  The 3D is finished.  The director likes it.  Yet it won't be coming to America?  Some might expect that this is the result of 3D not being the big deal in America it once was.  Yes, chances are we are never going to see the format account for more than 80% of the box office like it did with "Avatar" in 2010.  I know that.  The format experienced a rebirth of sorts with that movie, and we're unlikely to repeat that in the anytime in the near future.  There was even a period where 3D was making up less than 50% of the box office results.

Times have changed though, with many major films getting a significant boost in box office because of the 3D surcharge.  For "Gravity," "Life of Pi," and "Frozen," over 70% of the box office was accounted for through 3D screenings.  This year "Avengers: Age of Ultron," "Jurassic World," and "Inside Out" have all opened with 3D screenings accounting for at least half of the tickets sold (and maybe more by the time they run their course).  If those movies did not have 3D as part of the release, their opening numbers would have been much, much lower.  And yet... we see more studios cutting back on 3D.  Even when the movie has been edited and finished.  What gives?  This isn't like "Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows - Part I," where the 3D was so terrible Warner Bros. felt like they had no choice but to cancel the release because it would damage the perception of 3D films greatly.

I own those movies on BluRay 3D and... yeah, they weren't lying; the 3D in those movies are terrible.  However, those movies came out a few years ago when up-conversion was still new.  The process has gotten much better now, to the point where "The Amazing Spider-Man 2's" up-conversion looks compatible to "The Amazing Spider-Man's" natural 3D look.  And, again, according to the director, the 3D for 'Mockingjay - Part 2' looked fine.  I also take offense to his 'best of all worlds' comment, as the best of all worlds would be to offer the film in both formats, and let the consumers choose which version they want to see.  This isn't like other movies that have had international 3D releases that were forced on the movie due to popular demand: This was a movie shot with the 3D in mind from the get go.

I'm still going to see "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2." Chances are you will as well.  I mean, if everyone went to see the pointless 'Part 1' despite poor reception, they are going to see this one as well, 3D or not.  Its just frustrating that the studio is nixing a (reportedly) perfectly acceptable 3D release of their biggest franchise, all while being vague about why the decision was made in the first place.  Lionsgate, you have some explaining to do.

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