Saturday, January 3, 2009

Is 2009 Year of the 3D Movies?

Filmmakers take advantage of high-tech formats as the number of theaters able to show 3-D and Imax films increases.

This year, 3-D and Imax have a lock on blockbusters

With digital projection, Imax screens and movies in 3-D all coming to a theater near you, 2009 could go down as the year that high-tech became the indisputably dominant force in American movie theaters.

No less an industry force than DreamWorks Animation head Jeffrey Katzenberg, long the most vocal proponent of high-tech wizardry in moviemaking, is predicting that all movies may one day be shot in 3-D, and he's already decreed that all DreamWorks' animated films be shot using the extra-dimensional process (Disney has the same plans).

Imax and the AMC theater chain are well along in their bid to put Imax screens, with their bigger, brighter pictures and clearer sound, in multiplexes throughout the country.

The spread of both 3-D and Imax is being made possible by the increasing popularity of digital projection, which eliminates the need for bulky (not to mention breakable) film spools.

And technical innovation affects more than simply how a film looks. Increased reliance on computer-generated imagery (CGI) continues to expand the realm of what can be shown onscreen. Filmmakers revel in pushing that envelope ever further.

"Time and money is the only barrier now," says Conrad Vernon, director of DreamWorks' animated "Monsters vs. Aliens," set to debut in both 3-D and Imax this month. "You can pretty much take technology anywhere the mind can go."

As many as a dozen 3-D films are on tap for this year. Disney has four, including a Jonas Brothers' concert film (Feb. 27); Pixar's animated "Up," about a balloon salesman floating his way to South America (May 29); the animated "G-Force," the story of guinea pigs trained in espionage (July 24); a rerelease of Pixar's "Toy Story" (Oct. 6); and Disney's "A Christmas Carol," directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Jim Carrey as Scrooge.

Even horror movies, a staple of 3-D films during the 1950s and 1980s, will once again be jumping off the screen with "My Bloody Valentine 3-D" (Jan. 16).

Movies set to be released in the Imax format include Alan Moore's "Watchmen," in which a group of retired superheroes look to ease the Earth from the brink of Destruction (March 6, if a court battle between Fox and Warner Bros. doesn't delay it); "Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian" (May 22); "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" (June 26) and "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" (July 17).

The year's most eagerly anticipated movie, however, involves director James Cameron. Eleven years after his last movie, a minor hit called "Titanic," he returns to theaters with "Avatar" (Dec. 18). In the film, a group of human extraterrestrial space pioneers find themselves in pitched battle against their new planet's native population. And like so many other of 2009's potential blockbusters, it's being released in 3-D and Imax formats.

Of course, knowing Cameron as the inveterate tinkerer he is, it will probably feature about half a dozen new technologies as well -- the sort of stuff the new releases of 2010 will find themselves trying to emulate.

Source:LA Times


lvs on January 3, 2009 at 9:04 PM said...

I have always thought there should be more 3-D and possibly 4-D movies. 4-D i mean actual experiences like the seats shaking of smells or other experiences targeting our senses other than the usual sight and sound.

This is an insightful article. I will be looking forward to these releases.

janelle on January 3, 2009 at 11:24 PM said...

3D movies are good and it's good to know that there is an increase in production in 3D movies. will be looking forward to those flicks, particularly the 3D version of my bloody valentine

qiwoman on January 4, 2009 at 3:38 PM said...

I think 3D movies are awesome and at the same time quite scary as well. Especially if some Dinosaur is coming right at you.

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