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Friday, August 29, 2008

3D Geek Alert: Awesome 3D Movie Posters

Hey guys - Jim here. I found some awesome 3D movie posters that you may have not seen before - but not the lenticular kind! These are McFarlane Toys Pop Culture - The owner of these photos just put them up on his wall and seems pretty happy with them.

I located all that were available on Amazon down below. 3D Geek Alert will be a regular feature of MarketSaw.com! If you have any suggestions for these alerts - let me know...

Now if we can only get these movies converted to stereoscopic 3D! I don't think Friday the 13th would be in my list though :-)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

YES. Robert Downey Jr. Is A Hollywood Master Mind! In Three Dimensions No Less...

**UPDATE: Aug 28 - Well this makes sense too: Ben Stiller is also joining RDJ and Fey for the 3D animation.

It appears so! Iron Man himself Robert Downey Jr. is reportedly in conversation with Dreamworks Animation to voice the lead character in the 3D animation MASTER MIND which is being produced by Ben Stiller's Red Hour Films. The report also says that Tina Fey is also being lined up to voice a toon.

In case you have missed the premise, Master Mind has an appealing story (but seemingly borrowed from "Unbreakable") in that an arch villian loses his will to live when he accidentally kills off his arch nemisis.

MASTER MIND is slated for a November 5th, 2010 release.

Hey - I love Robert Downey Jr. in this role! Perfect casting if you ask me - he has that insane, yet brilliant edge to him that pure genius has. It's a thin line - believe me!! :-)

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Monday, August 25, 2008

How Have Modern 3D Movies Performed? Outrageous Opening Averages, Longevity And Blockbusters!

Let's take a look at the modern box office for 3D movies since last fall's BEOWULF. (For box office performance listings of all 3D movies since 1980 see here). Can we take any meaningful insight from the numbers? Below are the movies thus far listed in order from the top box office take on down, and note two are still in theaters:

1. BEOWULF
$82,195,215 (Domestic) / $113,994,739 (International) / $196,189,954 TOTAL

- Opening Weekend: $27,515,871 from 3,153 theaters, $8,726 average
- Widest Release: 3,249 theaters
- In Release: 77 days / 11 weeks
NOTE:
Beowulf was released in many more 2D screens than the other movies shown here - example: This summer's JOURNEY movie was only at 2,830 theaters at it's widest release which falls 400 or so short of BEOWULF.




2. JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH**
$91,893,000 (Domestic) / $22,552,547 (International) / $114,445,547 TOTAL

- Opening Weekend: $21,018,141 from 2,811 theaters, $7,477 average
- Widest Release: 2,830 theaters
- In Release: 45 days / 6.4 weeks**
NOTE: On mainly pure 3D adrenalin, JOURNEY topped BEOWULF domestically after only a month of release.





3. HANNAH MONTANA / MILEY CYRUS: BEST OF BOTH WORLDS CONCERT TOUR
$65,281,781 (Domestic) / $5,216,966 (International) / $70,498,747 TOTAL

- Opening Weekend: $31,117,834 from 683 theaters, $45,560 average
- Widest Release: 687 theaters
- In Release: 105 days / 15 weeks
NOTE: Hannah's $45,560 even beats THE DARK KNIGHT'S 4,366 theaters opening at a $36,282 average.





4. U2 3D
$9,339,861 (Domestic) / $7,702,666 (International) / $17,042,527 TOTAL
- Opening Weekend: $1,026,121 from 686 theaters, $1,495 average
- Widest Release: 686 theaters
- In Release: 212 days / 30.3 weeks

NOTE: Look at the longevity of U2 3D! Even as the marketing has wound down and much of the buzz has disappeared, it marches on.





5. FLY ME TO THE MOON**
$4,185,000 (Domestic) / $2,530,969 (International) / $6,715,969 TOTAL

- Opening Weekend: $1,900,523 from 452 theaters, $4,204 average
- Widest Release: 540 theaters
- In Release: 10 days / 1.4 weeks NOTE: Even though a comparison can be made to U2 3D with the shortage of 3D screens for this movie, FLY ME has a much higher average take on the opening weekend which bodes well for an extremely long release.

**Still in theaters






So what can we glean from the numbers? Plenty. For one - there is simply an ample market for 3D. If you take a fairly straight forward picture like JOURNEY and can pull in $100 million domestically you know you are on to something. JOURNEY was nothing more than a fun, family oriented thrill ride and was presented as such - audiences have responded and enthusiastically so. Was 3D the deciding factor in this success? Undoubtedly yes. 3D allowed the audience to become immersed in the action and bring us closer to the 'reality' the director wanted to create. The 2D screens did much less business than the 3D and as you can see the international take is much lower than domestic as the 3D screens are simply not there.

But BEOWULF is a $200 million movie! Why so much appeal? Story. Blend the engagement of a recognized and well told story with 3D immersion and voila! A true phenomenon. Story played the key role in the international success of BEOWULF as there simply are not many 3D screens available outside of North America - but remember that in the fall of 2008 there were not all that many in North America either. Zemeckis recognized this and told the story perfectly to audiences in both 2D and 3D. Many would argue that Angelina Jolie shares some of the credit however.

Hannah Montana's concert movie proved to many people that 3D was here to stay.
While BEOWULF confused many into thinking that all 3D movies are 100% CGI. Hannah helped dispel that notion with it's live action cinematography.
Look at those opening weekend averages per theater - an eye popping $45,560! Even THE DARK KNIGHT could not skyhook better than that! It is simply unheard of. Hannah went on to huge numbers in North America where she has captured the imagination of many 'tweens' - but did her concert prove anything about 3D? Yes. As I just mentioned it introduced live action 3D. But moreover, it allowed the current generation of 'tweens' to claim ownership over the medium and they will be expecting more and more 3D content from now on. Thirdly and not surprisingly so, Hannah proved that should a successful 3D movie hold over as Disney did with this one, it can tear away box office from other 3D focused movies that cannot break into the 3D screens in time. Yes, I am talking about U2 3D. U2 3D's low numbers reflect 2D screens and 3D IMAX screens essentially. Disney and Hannah had a stranglehold that they would not relinquish.

But I could also be talking about FLY ME TO THE MOON. As I type this post, JOURNEY (July 11th) is still enjoying over 1000 theaters showing the picture while the freshly released (Aug 15th) FLY ME is mired in only 540. While it is great for 3D that the first live action adventure movie will hit $100 million, we need more 3D screens. Much more.

And that is what all the fuss has been about over the past 12 months. Getting action behind the words and getting those 3D screens installed. Revenue is clearly being lost and not just 2D revenue, but the 33-50% more that 3D allows theater chains to enjoy. Audiences are missing out on the entertainment too. Many would like to see the FLY ME animation but simply cannot yet.
Count me as one of them...

As momentum builds into what will become the "Year of 3D" - 2009, look for all those commitments for new 3D screens to be honored and for Hollywood's 3D chrysalis stage to emerge in spectacular fashion. I can't think of a better way to ice the whole thing off than with James Cameron's AVATAR. And you thought Hannah Montana had some great opening buzz - you haven't seen ANYTHING yet. 3D will own the records books shortly I promise you.

Stats courtesy of Box Office Mojo



Sunday, August 24, 2008

Michael Keaton Tapped To Voice Toy Story 3's KEN doll...

Interesting 'voice casting' news today that Michael Keaton (Batman, Beetlejuice just to name 2 of his movies) will be living vicariously through 'Ken' from Mattel's 'Barbie' fame.

Keaton joins Tom Hanks, John Cusack, Tim Allen, John Ratzenberger, Jodi Benson, Don Rickles and Estelle Harris as the voicing team.

The premise of the story involves the toys relegated to a daycare facility after higher education beacons Andy away from home.

Look for Toy Story 3 on June 18th, 2010 and also the exciting reboots of the first two iterations, Toy Story (Oct 2nd, 2009) and Toy Story 2 (Feb 12th, 2010) for a very nice lead up!!

It is going to be great to see the full digital conversion of these movies as they are originally made in digitally! Little will be lost in that portion of the processing and should provide a wonderful palette from which the 3D conversion company will work with.

via /Film

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Amazing "Avatar" Tech: Say Goodbye to the Uncanny Valley

Michael here.  In case you still harbored any doubts that the CG characters in James Cameron's Avatar will be anything less 100% photorealistic (i.e. indistinguishable from reality), this video demo of the Image Metrics facial performance capture technology that Cameron is using should make you a believer.


Meet "Emily":  

video

Oh...did I mention she isn't real?  Image Metrics uses an HD camera along with proprietary computer software (no sticky dots!) to analyze the most minute facial movements of a performer, and then superimposes those movements on a CG model.  The results are mind boggling.  I can't wait to see what Cameron and WETA have done with this.

Avatar producer Jon Landau on Image Metrics:

"Image Metrics’ revolutionary technologies for performance-driven character animation require neither complex motion-capture hardware, nor specialist technical knowledge. Their animation solutions put the performer at the heart of the process, dramatically enhancing the creativity and reducing post-production time. It is this type of innovation that will again allow us to present to the consumer, stories that could not otherwise be told."

The Times Online and Technabob have informative articles up on "Emily" and the technology behind her.  Also check out the Image Metrics website.

Hard Core Dreamworks Vs. Quad Core Intel

Jim here. Today saw the announcement of a very interesting partnership: Intel and Dreamworks Animation! They have come up with a new brand called "InTru 3D" and announced that MONSTERS VS. ALIENS would brandish the logo for the launch next spring.
Here is an excerpt taken from the Reuters story:

Renee James, head of Intel's software and solutions business, told Reuters that Intel's contribution to the 3-D partnership technology came through acquisitions of start-up companies, with more innovations from its stand-alone graphics chip due in 2009, code-named Larrabee.

"The two of us will be working together to generate new computer animation from the ground up," James said.

Already, DreamWorks Animation has announced plans to replace its existing computing hardware with those using Intel microprocessors and other technology for its large computer-animation operations.

"The quality and creativity of where Intel is headed is light years ahead of what we've seen anybody else doing," Katzenberg said.

Looks like some new kick ass 3D graphics hardware is coming our way! These partnerships are exactly what the industry needs to take us from where we are now to the future - 3D in all mediums, television, PCs, gaming, the Internet, smartphones, etc. You have gotta love how darn proactive Katzenberg is with 3D. God love him.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Big Screen 3D Gaming? You Bet. Check this out...

So what's new in 3D gaming lately? A lot. Recently at SIGGRAPH a rather historic event took place in that the very first video game (to their knowledge) has been shown on the big screen in 3D using the S-3D format. Present and responsible for the very successful demonstration was REALD, iZ3D, NVIDIA, Sony Imageworks, Epic Games and MTBS.

An audience of 800 saw not one but two games presented in 3D - Unreal Tournament 3 (live) and Bioshock (via clips). Read more about it here.

It is not just the PC gamers that are getting worked up into a frenzy about 3D gaming - apparently a leading console game developer said that console S-3D is close to being reality.

Looks like 3D gaming is about it hit big. It would be awesome to see the next generation of consoles from Microsoft and Sony (sure Nintendo too!) be offered in S-3D as well. Couldn't be better timing with lots of 3D movies coming down the pipe and needing a media player to present them! Anybody remember how Blu-ray won the war? A little something called the PS3 helped didn't it?




Sunday, August 17, 2008

UPDATED: List Of 3D Theaters In North America And The World!


Hi guys - Jim here. I have updated the entire list of REALD theater locations around the world and man are they ever taking off.

Just some quick numbers from the REALD list:
- There are 811 theaters equipped with REALD technology in the US and Canada.
- In June there were 1034 3D screens in those theaters.
- Also in June there were 188 3D screens internationally.

Of course you must add in the IMAX 3D screens as well as Dolby to achieve your final totals, but for over 90% of the cases, REALD is the choice. I will have total screen number updates soon from all players so that we can watch the exciting penetration of 3D throughout the world.

Quick Post: Industry's First 3D Entertainment Summit Announced

Bob Dowling former Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of the Hollywood Reporter and President of the Bob Dowling Group based in Los Angeles and Unicomm, LLC a Connecticut based leading event management company announced today the creation of the 3D Entertainment SummitTM. Focused entirely on 3D film, video gaming and home entertainment markets, 3D Entertainment Summit is the industry's first business event exclusively designed to address both the long and short term business strategies affecting this emerging marketplace. The event is scheduled for December 1-2, 2008 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.

As an increasing number of new major motion pictures are released in 3D, many of the top studios and prestigious filmmakers have not only embraced this technology but have committed to incorporating 3D as part of their artistic and long-term economic plans.

Jeffery Katzenberg, Chief Executive Officer and President of Dreamworks Animation Inc. will be introducing the event and providing opening comments to event attendees.

"The next generation of 3D represents a dazzling new innovation in filmmaking and film going. What our filmmakers are able to create using these new state of the art digital tools is absolutely amazing, "stated Mr. Katzenberg. "To date there have been two great revolutions in movies, from silent film to talkies and from black and white to color. The next revolution arrives in 2009 when movies go from 2D to 3D."

The 3-D Entertainment Summit is an exclusive business event dedicated to the promotion and education of 3D technology, marketing and distribution. It's the one place where individuals and organizations will find out who stands to gain or lose from the success of the 3D entertainment revolution.

"The 3D Entertainment Summit is this year's most crucial educational and networking event for developing business strategies to harness the explosion in 3D entertainment," added Bob Dowling.

The purpose of the summit is two-fold. First attendees from all facets of the industry will come to gain insight, education and a vision of how things will evolve, what strategies they can implore to leverage this opportunity, and how the creation, marketing and distribution supply chain will coalesce to feed 3D demand. Of equal importance, a highly successful Sponsorship program has been created so that pioneering companies who are in the forefront of this technology can continue to gain market awareness and most importantly educate the relevant stakeholders in the entertainment and motion picture theater industry about their products.

"3D entertainment continues to make a fundamental impact in the entertainment industry, from conception to production, from directing to distribution," added John Golicz, CEO of Unicomm, LLC a leading event management and production organization. "More than any other technology, 3D is about to change everything."

The 3D Entertainment Summit brings the most prominent filmmakers, studio executives, media, financial analysts, associations and industry stakeholders together in one place at one time, all focused and ready to learn how this technology needs to be part of their long-term business plans.

Highlighting the event will be a sophisticated three track conference program featuring over 20 sessions and over 50 speakers all exclusively focused on 3D and geared to deliver leading insights, market direction and business strategies.

The events unique format will include breakout forums covering strategic business issues in Technology, Content Production / Post Production and Playback and Distribution.

Attendees will learn from the experts in informative sessions covering topics such as:

* 3D Filming-Art or Technology,
* Consumer Demand How much more will they pay?
* Production hurdles What do I need to buy and how much more am I going to spend?
* Winning in the Theater How and what technology will Theater Owners adopt?
* Is 3D a FAD or is it here to stay?
* Technology where do you bet and how do you win?
* Will the Studios lead the pack?
* Blue Ray On Demand, when will 3D hit the home?
* Animation and 3D: Where is the future going and who is leading the pack?
* Will 3D win over Wall Street: Where is the 3D market, and just how big is it?
* 3D & Gaming How professional cinema influences the gaming industry.

To enhance industry interaction the event's organizers have developed a unique showcase area of the event to allow technology and service vendors to meet with industry stakeholders to discuss business issues, demonstrate products and build partnerships. Key sponsors will highlight 3D technology providing brief viewing shorts prior to general sessions.

For more information, please visit the event's website at www.3d-Summit.com

About Bob Dowling and The Bob Dowling Group:
For the last 17 years through 2007, Bob Dowling was editor-in-chief and publisher of The Hollywood Reporter and president of the VNU Business Media Film and Performing Arts Group.

During Dowling's tenure, The Reporter launched numerous new products, including the HollywoodReporter.com Web site, e-mail edition, weekly edition, THR East, Literary Hollywood, Festival de Cannes dailies and the Oscar Screening Guide, as well as many annual events such as the Women in Entertainment Power 100 stand-alone issue and its related breakfast event, the Next Generation ranking of prominent young executives, the Film and TV Music Conference and the reorganized Key Art Awards.

Dowling recently started his own information and consulting firm, the Bob Dowling Group, to serve clients looking to navigate the converging worlds of entertainment and technology, with the 3D Entertainment Summit as a lead project.


Sounds promising! Look for this event to build momentum in the coming months... Here is the contact info:

Contact: Jack Whitton
Executive Director
3D Entertainment Summit
Unicomm, LLC
203-878-2577 ex 102
jwhitton 3d-summit com
www.3d-summit.com




Friday, August 15, 2008

Awesome CORALINE Craftmanship: 4 New Advance Featurettes!

**Update: Aug 18: More Coraline video added!

Jim here. Got some great advance video clips for the upcoming 2009 3D stop action movie CORALINE! The movie is based on Neil Gaiman's work and focuses on a girl's adventures in an alternative reality where things are not quite as they should be.

Directing is Henry Selick
who you will remember also brought us JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH as well as NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS. I can only imagine the surprises he has conjured for this latest effort.

Dakota Fanning (Coraline) Teri Hatcher (Coraline's mother) lend voices to the characters.

CORALINE opens wide on February 6th, 2009 with select screenings this December. Check out the awesome clips below as this movie is bound to open a lot of eyes to the power of 3D across all movie formats, including stop action.











AWESOME advance look! The imagery will be out a dream and Gaiman's stories are well, ALWAYS superlative. We are lucking out with this one guys...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Horrorween Set Visit!!!

Hey folks, Michael here. Yesterday I, along with MarketSaw contest winner Jacob Roland, had the amazing opportunity to have small parts in the upcoming 3-D horror/comedy Horrorween!


Jacob and I played agents investigating a strange house where something spooky may--or may not--have happened. The scenes we shot will be converted to 3-D in post.

Picture 1 (right to left): Director Joe Estevez, Jacob Roland, & Michael Stat discuss a scene.

Producer Ed Meyer (Adirondak International Pictures) explained a bit about his and director Joe Estevez' approach to the movie: First, they want to keep audiences on their toes--the film will be an hilarious comedy at one moment, then a frightening horror the next. Second, the film will be family friendly. Third, there is a lot of improvisation, adding much creative freedom to the project.

Along with Dead Body Guy Chuck Lamb in the lead role, Horrorween has a ton of awesome cameos including William Shatner, Jenna Jameson, George Clinton, Alice Cooper, Donald Trump, Dom DeLuise, Cindy Morgan and, as MarketSaw recently revealed, Nancy Spielberg as the wife of the lead.

Picture 2 (right to left): Director Joe Estevez, writer/assistant producer Jason Sanchez, Jacob Roland, & Michael Stat prepare for a take

From what I saw of our scene and heard from Meyer and Estevez, I cannot wait to see more from Horrorween. It's a really revolutionary project in regards to the unique production process, 3-D technology, as well as the viral way in which it is being marketed. The excitement surrounding this film is actually very organic in nature--movie buffs are already building an amazing buzz around this project based on what they have seen and heard, even though it is more than a year from release. I know I can't wait!

Picture 3: Jacob Roland (right) and me (left) on the set of Horrorween!

Heaps and heaps of Thanks to Ed Meyer, Joe Estevez, and the rest of the cast and crew for such a great shoot, and keep your eyes set to MarketSaw for interviews with the filmmakers and perhaps even some of the cast from Horrorween in the next few weeks!

Read more about the film at http://www.horrorween.com

Set photos by Hans Nilsson

Horrorween is scheduled for release in 3-D on October 30, 2009.

**Editor's note: Yes, I was going to be in the movie as well but I had personal issues come up at the last minute and had to cancel. Looks like Michael and Jacob stole the scenes anyway! - Jim


Harry Potter 6 Pushed To Summer 2009: Disney's 3D "Bolt" Moved Up!

Hey - Jim here guys. Looks like Harry Potter has gotten a little scare from the 3D industry! Warner Bros. has moved the wizardly movie from it's usual November position to next July 17th - a stunning move to be sure. WHY? So many questions to this move!

You know what I am thinking? I think Warner has gotten a little wary of the Disney muscle behind BOLT and the 3D juggernaut that it will morph into. They are counting on continued great box office week after week and BOLT will have no part of that! I suspect that they were thinking that BOLT would have bolted to the top of the heap no less that a week after Potter's release.

So Disney moved BOLT up to November 21st to take advantage of this surprising move. Sad to have to wait for the 3D elements in Harry Potter 6 but oh well - BOLT looks to be tracking huge!

Source: Comingsoon.net


Quick Post: Madagascar 3D and Kung Fu Panda 3D On Their Way!

Jeffrey Katzenberg said Wednesday that we can expect an announcement within the next two months about a stereoscopic 3D sequel to the smash hit KUNG FU PANDA which has amassed an amazing $560 million worldwide this year.

Further, Katzenberg said that we will see at least one more sequel for MADAGASCAR (the original made $530 million worldwide) and of course that movie will also be in 3D as Dreamworks Animation is already on record as commiting all future tentpoles in 3D.

I knew these announcements would be coming but it is nice to see the official statements getting lined up. These movies will own the box office in 3D - those Dreamworks guys are working magic! Can't wait to see Monsters vs. Aliens next spring...

Source: THR

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Quick Post: Lionsgate's "Alpha And Omega" Gets 3D Treatment

Jim here. ALPHA AND OMEGA, a CG animation from Lionsgate will be gracing 3D screens on April 16th, 2010. The movie is about a couple of young wolves and their adventures.

Hayden Panettiere, Christina Ricci, Danny Glover, Justin Long, Larry Miller and Dennis Hopper lend their voices to the project.

Sounds interesting - I love seeing Lionsgate take a leading interest and investment in 3D as they are also presenting MY BLOODY VALENTINE early next year.

Source: THR

Carmike 2Q08 Results: 3D Kicks Ass

Well of course! Jim here. Take a look at Carmike Cinema's second quarter results for this year here. The theater chain had wonderful things to say about 3D and in particular these nuggets:

"Moving briefly to our third quarter box office, through our digital 3D cinema platform, we were able to show Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D on 327 screens and generate a combined box office concession revenue of approximately $6.5 million. We are pleased with the results from this 3D presentation, which generated fives times the per screen revenue compared to our 2D average screen performance. This allowed us to enjoy nearly a 100% increase in our normal share of the industry domestic market.

Additionally, we experienced no customer push-back from our $2 3D surcharge.

With the success of Hannah Montana during our first quarter, followed by Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D, we remain optimistic regarding the upcoming 3D release of Fly Me to the Moon in August, a re-release of Nightmare Before Christmas in October, and Bolt in November. We see this 3D technology as a key component in supporting our box office performance during the upcoming years. The schedule for 3D release in 2009 is My Bloody Valentine in January, [Cora Line] and Disney’s Jonas Brothers in Concert, both in February, Monsters Versus Aliens in March, Ice Age in July, Toy Story 3D in October, A Christmas Story in November, and of course, Avatar in December"

(Emphasis and color are mine).

And further...

"Looking forward, we are currently evaluating our option to install our final 100 3D units. The current units have the newest technology, allowing us to offer the 3D experience in our largest auditoriums an ability we could not offer at the time we rolled out our 3D program in the last two years.

This new installation will completely cover our entire circuit’s need and allow us to meet any attendance demands for future 3D tent-pole pictures such as Monster Versus Aliens and Avatar.

You have obviously heard of the major success of Dark Knight and its passing the $400 million mark recently. We have shared in this success as well as the 3D movie, Journey to the Center of the Earth, where we increased our national circuit market share by almost 100%. We also experienced a five-to-one ratio box office sales at our 3D locations compared to our 2D locations. I think it is interesting to point out that we played Journey 3D in 187 locations and only had 12 locations playing the movie in 2D, a clear indication of how saturated we have the 3D system throughout our circuit.

As of August the 15th, there are 23 3D films on the schedule through 2010, representing nine different national film distributors which clearly demonstrates this industry’s commitment for 3D"

Here is an interesting question and answer exchange:

David Miller - Caris & Company

"Okay, wonderful. And then the $2 up-charge for Journey to the Center of the Earth, can you guys just give me your overall sort of 100,000 foot view as to what kind of elasticity in pricing that might carry going forward? I mean, Jeff Katzenberg, we cover DreamWorks Animation, you know, he’s been talking rhetorically about a $5 up-charge for some of his films. A lot of the guys at DCIP were talking about maybe a $3 up-charge as being standard. It looks like you charged $2 for Journey. Could you just comment as to any wiggle room in the future with that up-charge? Thanks"

Fred W. Van Noy

"When we played Meet the Robinsons, we had 10 locations that we pushed that $2 to $2.50, kind of just to test the waters. With Journey, we had 17% of our play dates at the $2.50 level. I think that of course we’ll continue to push this. We had absolutely no push back with the 17%. They were of course our larger markets but as we get to Bolt, I think Bolt will be the movie that we will be able to really escalate this price up a little bit higher.

And as far as a $5 threshold or a $3 threshold, we are just going to keep testing the market and see where it will take us."

It doesn't take much to see where 3D is going: A better experience for audiences and a better bottom-line for the industry - win/win. I don't know about you, but I find it very fulfilling to watch the various movie site naysayers jump on the 3D bandwagon more and more as time goes by. Glad they are joining us! It's about time... :-)


Confirmation: "Transformers 2" Will NOT Be In 3D

Hi all - Jim here. I have some bad news for stereoscopic 3D fans who were looking forward to seeing TRANSFORMERS 2 in 3D: It's not going to happen.

If you will remember back in May we discovered that TRANSFORMERS 2 is heavily rumored to be shot in 3D as Dolby listed the movie in their ShoWest 2008 newsletter (originally found here) along side these other previously confirmed 3D flicks in their project hopper:

2008
Bolt
The Dark Country
Horrorween
Igor
Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D
The Smurfs

2009
Avatar
A Christmas Carol
Coraline
Frankenweenie
Ice Age 3
Monsters vs. Aliens
Tintin
Transformers 2

(To my knowledge, IGOR and THE SMURFS are NOT in stereoscopic 3D. If anyone has evidence to the contrary - please contact me).

Turns out that this in-the-know source (Dolby) may have been accurate back then, but since then Michael Bay has decided not to pursue it for the second iteration.

I have an inside source that contacted me and relayed that TRANSFORMERS 2 will definitely not be available in stereoscopic 3D and that this information was provided by both Digital Domain (effects company that Bay partly owns) and Michael Bay himself. This person is in a position to know this information first hand. It is accurate.

MarketSaw's list of upcoming 3D movies - rumored, planned, in production and in theaters - has been updated.

*Sigh* Next time I hope! We were conjecturing in various post comments that someone would have noticed the distinctly different camera set up that 3D demands over a normal configuration - that definitely would have leaked out given the lacklustre security around Trans2. Transformers 3D - kinda flows off the tongue don't you think?


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Future "Avatar" websites?

UPDATE 08/16/08: All four sites now direct to Foxmovies.com.  Hopefully this means something will be coming soon!


Hey everyone, Michael here with a possible peek at a part of Fox's Avatar marketing campaign plans.

The following websites are all registered to Twentieth Century Fox:


Although none are yet active (they redirect to placeholder sites), they are certainly worth keeping an eye on.  The "Pandora" sites are especially intriguing--perhaps we will soon have the opportunity to become a part of the human presence on this alien world?

Can you discover any more?  Go to Whois.net and start searching!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Quick Post: Real Life Holodeck? 360 Degree, Interactive 3D Cinema

Michael here with a Seven magazine article with a peak at something that looks like it will bring us one step closer to the dream of a real-life holodeck: 360 degree interactive stereoscopic cinema:


"The technology will let audiences interact with 3D humanoid characters that are projected on the world’s first stereoscopic 360-degree cinematic theatre. Audiences, wearing 3D glasses, will be able to explore and edit a multitude of stories by wandering through a projected space and interacting with projected information as if it was real."

Viewers wearing three-dimensional glasses step inside a cylindrical cinema screen measuring four metres high and 10 metres in diameter.  Twelve digital projectors create a high-resolution stereoscopic 3D image on this screen, and the audio is spatially enhanced via a 24-channel surround sound system.

This "T_Visionarium" project is being developed at the iCinema Research Centre at the University of South Wales (UNSW), Australia.  The researchers there have already put together a meta-movie containing over 20,000 video clips to demonstrate the technology:

"Researchers at iCinema captured 28 hours of digital free to air Australian television over a period of one week. This footage was segmented and converted into a massive database containing over 20,000 video clips.

Each video clip was then tagged with descriptors known as metadata, which define the properties of the clip. Information can be encoded such as the gender of the actors, the dominant emotions they are expressing, the pace of the scene, and specific actions such as standing up, lying down, and telephoning. Having the video data segmented in this way deconstructs the original linear narrative into components that then become building blocks that the viewer can associate and re-assemble in an infinite number of ways."

It's great to see 3D technology being used to help push the cutting edge of entertainment in so many different ways.  I can't wait to see where this leads.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Quick Post: 3D Television Groups Convene, Hope to Reach 3DTV Industry Standard

Hi everyone, Michael here. EETimes.com has an interesting article detailing the various working groups that have been established to try to come up with industry standards for stereoscopic television systems. According to the article there are at least four separate groups working to define the technical, business, and legal challenges involved in establishing such standards.

Among the groups are the
Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) at the University of Southern California--which helped come up with the Digital Cinema Specification (DCI) standards--along with The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE).


It's very exciting to hear that there is so much will and movement towards bringing 3D content into the home. Indeed, at the behest of several studios, ETC is accelerating the construction of a lab where the studios can test out their 3D content on the newest displays and players.

2009 will surely be the year when everyone will be clamoring for 3D capable HDTV's. Let us hope that they get the standards sorted out by then!



Thursday, August 07, 2008

What's UP? A Clip From The Pixar 3D Animation AND Why It Will Break Records...

Jim here guys. There are some very minor spoilers here so don't read further if you want a pristine viewing experience at the theater next year. If you haven't seen this clip yet, it does a good job of setting the stage for what should be a grand adventure - AND a grand box office return as the demographics for this movie are across the board.

At Comic-Con this year, attendees were treated to a clip from the movie (not the short one below). The clip featured Ed Asner as an old man who rebels against going to a retirement home and instead uses his own home as a huge gondala of sorts with thousands of helium balloons attached to travel to the jungles of Venezuela (a promise he made to his deceased wife). Tagging along is Russell, a boyscout who needs to assist an elderly person to earn a badge. Their antics had the audience truly engaged and laughing eagerly - so have a look at the short clip below!


Here is why this movie could potentially break Pixar's own record for an original (and not a sequel) movie: Demographics. As I said above, the reach for this movie is staggering. Everyone from 5 year olds to 105 year olds will want to see this movie as there are compelling characters to identify with. Then add on 3D immersion and the rest is history. Increased revenues from the 3D premium, a broad demographic and the quality of Pixar combines for what could be a perfect storm of box office bonanza. In theory at least.

UP is slated for a May 29, 2009 release.








James Cameron on Avatar & 3D!


Hey everyone, Michael here.  The Hollywood Reporter has just published a great new interview with James Cameron  regarding the revolutionary production processes that have been invented for Avatar


The article contains a lot of info we've heard before, but also a bit of new stuff to help keep us sane as we wait for December 2009.  First off is the Facial Performance Replacement process, or "FPR." When Cameron recently wanted to change a line of dialogue spoken by Laz Alonzo's Na'vi character, Alonzo did not need to re-don a motion capture suit.  Instead, Cameron only needed to record the new dialogue, and then use the FPR process to paste a new face over Alonzo's existing body performance.

Also extremely exciting is what Cameron calls the "Simulcam", which allows him to utilize his virtual production toolset while shooting live-action on a physical set.  This gives him the ability to see how the live-action human actors interact with the CG synthespians and virtual environments in real time.  Cameron gives the following example: "We have people in flying vehicles, and I can see what is outside the window, fed in, in real time."

Wow! It really is incredible how technology is enabling Cameron to shoot Avatar as though he really were on another planet, surrounded by actual alien landscapes and creatures.

Cameron and Vince Pace also give their arguments for shooting in stereo.  Cameron sees a future filled with stereo devices and content.  Pace speaks of the archival value of stereo: When we look at (3-D) display devices in the home (which are already becoming available)--a lot of filmmakers and studios need to be making 3-D right now. Those production commitments are often based on the here and now, instead of thinking about how much value there is to this 3-D product in the future. Why not master in 3-D now if there is only an incremental expense? Why not think about that now?"

I'm sure they are thinking about that.  Avatar's entire production process is generating a great deal of interest and hype within both the technical and creative sides of the film industry, and that excitement is sure to increase dramatically as soon as the first 3-D footage is shown.



Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Quick Post: iZ3D To Speak, Play and Exhibit at SIGGRAPH 2008

Company offers a sneak peak of upcoming product concepts, mini gaming tournaments, and a 10% product discount to SIGGRAPH attendees

San Diego, Calif. (August 6th, 2008) – iZ3D, LLC, designer, developer, and marketer of advanced 3D visualization systems, is pleased to announce that it will be showcasing its 3D displays in Booth 158 at SIGGRAPH 2008. Oleg Tishutin one of iZ3D’s top engineers will speak at the event on Saturday August 9th between 1:30 and 3:00. He will be speaking to other display engineers about a new technique iZ3D has developed to improve 3D image quality. This new technology can be used in other display applications too, so the speech is titled “Normally-black TN panel dark state compensation with retarders.”

" We are going to be very busy during SIGGRAPH this year. First we are excited to be revealing some of our prototypes for upcoming products. iZ3D will be holding mini-tournaments during the show so attendees can experience firsthand the immersive qualities of 3D gameplay. We are thrilled that one of our top engineers Oleg Tishutin will be speaking about a new technique we developed to improve 3D image quality during the co-located workshop EDT-IPT. We are also pleased to announce Neil Schneider of MTBS, a stereoscopic advocacy group that we strongly support will also be speaking during the Computer Animation Festival,” remarked Thomas Striegler, CEO of iZ3D, LLC.

Discounts for Attendees

iZ3D is offering a 10% discount on its popular 22-inch widescreen 3D monitors just for SIGGRAPH attendees! To take advantage of this offer visit the iZ3D Booth#158 to obtain your discount code.

New Research Prototypes

Drop by theiZ3D booth to take a look at the new prototypes such as a 26-inch widescreen 3D monitor that is currently under development. These are research samples only there is currently no information about price or availability.

Speakers

Oleg Tishutin, will be speaking on Saturday August 9th in Session Two at 1:30 in one of the co-located workshops - Emerging Display Technologies, Immersive Projection Technologies EDT- IPT 2008 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. He will be speaking about its iZ3D’s new technique to improve 3D image quality, the session is titled “ Normally-black TN panel dark state compensation with retarders.”

We are pleased to announce Neil Schneider, president of “Meant to Be Seen” (MTBS) a stereoscopic 3D advocacy group that iZ3D supports will also be speaking at the Computer Animation Festival on Monday August 11 from 3:45 to 5:30pm in Petree Hall C. Neil’s topic will be The Power of 3: An Insider’s Look at Stereoscopic 3D Gaming.

iZ3D monitors feature significant advantages over other 2D and 3D display systems. Graphic artists have embraced the monitor as an essential tool for 3D design. It is difficult for artists to create images in 3D while viewing the design in 2D. The company developed this unique technology to create an adjustable 3D display environment without causing eyestrain, spatial disorientation, or headaches. In 3D mode, viewers can see clear, bright, sharp 3D images and videos simply by wearing any of a variety of iZ3D passive polarized glasses.

The new drivers from iZ3D feature 64-Bit compatibility, CrossFireX and Open GL Quad Buffer support. Users can also “Test Drive” 3D effects on a 2D monitor with red and cyan anaglyph glasses. The S-3D drivers are compatible with popular dual output cards and are optimized to take advantage of Intel’s® latest Core™ 2 Duo and Intel® Core™ 2 Quad processor technologies. Any existing PC equipped with a dual-output video card easily powers the unit. Specifications include: 1680 x 1050 resolution; up to 170-degree 3D viewing angle; 5ms response time; 700:1 contrast ratio; and 16.7-million colors.

About iZ3D, LLC

Headquartered in San Diego, iZ3D, LLC, develops and markets iZ3D brand products for the electronic entertainment market as well as for commercial and professional visualization applications. Three-dimensional imaging is gaining appreciable attention in the display market, and interest in the various iZ3D visualization technologies is rapidly increasing.

Due to the popularity of the initial iZ3D monitor product from Neurok Optics LLC, a US-based 3D technology developer and marketing company, a joint venture was formed with Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO), a Taiwan-based leading worldwide TFT-LCD manufacturing company.

The company specializes in the design and engineering of advanced 3D visualization products, and specifically targets Game and Entertainment as its markets. For more information, visit http://www.iz3d.com or call 858 646-3015.

Full Disclosure: iZ3D is a sponsor of MarketSaw


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Quick Post: Ben Stassen Bringing Us 3D Live Action "Horror Tour"

According to THR, FLY ME TO THE MOON's Ben Stassen will begin shooting HORROR TOUR in the spring or summer of 2009. Little is known about the stereoscopic 3D movie except that it is a live action effort.

Stassen brought us nWave's 3D animation FLY ME TO THE MOON which is to open August 15th. Stassen is also bringing us AROUND THE WORLD IN 50 YEARS (2010?) - an animation about a sea turtle. Voices by: Tim Curry, Anthony Anderson, Ed Begley Jr., Pat Carroll, Kathy Griffin, Melanie Griffith, Stacy Keach and Jenny McCarthy. Story revolves around a turtle born in 1959 who travels the globe while it is being affected by global warming. More info in MarketSaw's list of upcoming 3D movies.

Stay tuned for more info!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

First Look: "Monsters vs. Aliens" Trailer Leaked!!

**UPDATE - August 6: I have been requested to remove the Monsters Vs. Aliens content from this post. I am complying. My goal all along has been to keep my readers informed with ANYTHING to do with 3D. This major tent-pole movie release is definitely of interest and was freely available on the Internet. I will post the official trailer and media when it becomes available!

**Same day update: If the Google Video version is gone - try the YouTube one...


Holy Space Capers Batman!
Jim here. Dreamworks can't be all that happy about this but the trailer for MONSTERS VS. ALIENS has been leaked on to the Interwebs... AND it looks spectacular! I love this premise and the characters seem to really grab you and hold on for dear life. I feel as though I know the various monsters already but it was only a short 2 minutes and 20 seconds!!

Sound off! What do you guys think about this clip? Hurry up before it is gone. The quality is not all that great as it was grabbed through a camcorder, but still.... AWESOME!!!!!

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