Thursday, June 23, 2011

Michael Bay Working to Prop Up 3D Ahead of ‘Transformers 3’ Release

With his third “Transformers” movie set to debut June 28 in 3D, and moviegoer enthusiasm about the format seemingly flagging, the filmmaker has made numerous public appearances and comments in recent weeks intended to give the 3D market a needed boost.
As detailed in the New York Times Wednesday, Bay has been “chatting up” reporters and bloggers in recent weeks, explaining to them how he focused on the 3D technology for “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.”
Also read: 'Green Lantern' in 3D: Accounted for Only 36% of Attendance, 45% of Box Office Revenue
Last month, as the Times noted, at a Paramount-sponsored event, Bay appeared alongside the most acclaimed of all 3D filmmakers, James Cameron, to further extol the virtues of the format.
Bay has also contacted the heads of the major theater chains, urging them to crank up the projection light when they present “Transformers 3.” (One of the key criticisms of the format so far is that 3D projection has been too dark. But turning up the brightness burns out expensive projection bulbs faster.)
According to the Times, Bay spent an additional $30 million meticulously filming “Dark of the Moon” in 3D, bringing the film’s production nut to $195 million (which actually isn’t all that unreasonable for a big studio tentpole franchise).
“If this was having my name on it, I was determined to make it technically perfect,” Bay told the paper. “We’ve spent an enormous amount of time making sure the eye is transitioned from shot to shot.”
Speaking of shots, the 3D market could certainly use one in the arm from a film carefully crafted with the format in mind, as the very well-received “Avatar” was.
While Cameron’s 3D epic grossed 85 percent of its revenue from exhibition in the format, the most recent film released in 3D, Warner’s “Green Lantern,” grossed only 45 percent of its opening revenue from the format. Other recent debuts, including Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” (about 47 percent, including IMAX runs) have also performed softly in 3D.

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