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

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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.


Spongebob Pops and More Bad News for "The Seventh Son"

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Hey everyone, I'm back!  I know I've been ignoring this blog the past several months, but I'm going to be getting serious about updating more often.  For the most part I haven't been updating because we have been getting most of our favorite films on BluRay 3D these days, with the very few non-releases to have not been received being bad movies (and Disney films, of course).  This is a bad way to run the site though.  If a movie was released in 3D, it deserves to be seen in 3D, whether the movie (or the 3D itself) was good or not.  This week proves that more than any other week.  On one hand, I want to applaud Nickelodeon for releasing "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water" in it's native 3D presentation tomorrow.  The film (which I found to be largely enjoyable) was sold as a 3D event film, with cutting edge CGI you'd see in movies like "Yogi Bear" and "Alvin & the Chipmunks." What is ironic about this...

...is that the movie itself barely has any reason to be in 3D.  The images that virtually all the commercials and print ads showed off take up a mere twenty minutes of the movie, and don't come into play until VERY late into the film (more than an hour to be exact)!  Almost the entire film is traditionally hand drawn, giving the technique it's first real hit in years.  Truthfully, because of this format, the 3D actually looks pretty awful for most of the film, and this is one time when the 2D version might be the preferable one to watch.  Kudos to Paramount for giving fans of the film the choice though, since it costs them very little and goes a long way to providing goodwill to fans of the format.  I will still be buying it in BluRay 3D tomorrow.  Partially because I might want to watch the one sequence where the 3D matters again, and partly because the format could use all the support it can get, and the difference is going to be a measly $3.

Less lucky is the release of "The Seventh Son" we got last week. 

Despite being announced for BluRay 3D along with the 2D versions of the film, despite having the disk up for pre-order for months, and despite many of the disks already being pressed, the movie hit store shelves without a BluRay 3D release, with a new date to be determined.  There is no word on what happened in this case, but the fact that many sites (including Amazon) were taking pre-orders until two weeks ago suggests that the decision to forgo/delay the release of the 3D version came late in the game.  "The Seventh Son" has not been the luckiest of movies, having been delayed almost a full two years after being filmed and being widely panned by critics.  The 3D was tacked on at the last minute of filming to take advantage of the booming 3D craze.

Course, that was two years ago, and it's hard to deny that the format has taken a hit in popularity since then.  Most TV's still have 3D capabilities, but almost none of the manufacturers use it as a major selling point anymore.  Still, the format has it's fans, there is more content for it than ever before, and since there have already been disks pressed, it's all the more strange that it didn't ship to stores.  That said, Vudu has once again come to the rescue by providing a 3D digital download on their service (though only to rent at the moment... oddly enough).  I don't like buying things digitally, but it's nice that there is an option of sorts out there.  Stay tuned for more developments on the situation as they develop.


Warner Bros. 'Diamond Lux' Line is Ignoring the Most Important Aspect of a BluRay: The Movie

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Buyer beware: Real movie NOT included!

There are several new releases popping into retailers this week, but chances are the only one most of you are interested in is "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies." The ending of Peter Jackson's (some would say needlessly extended) trilogy based on Tolkien's beloved children's book (which the movies are certainly not made for), this was by far the best installment in the trilogy and contained one of the best uses of 3D any movie has seen to date. The movie is being made available in 3D by Warner Bros. And MGM in a joint effort.  It's sort of funny to think that when 'The Hobbit' was first announced as a 3D trilogy, it was going to be the movie that saved 3D.  While it did get some decent business in 3D, it did not save the format at the movies or at home.

In fact, in the theaters, two films brought a lot more business to the 3D format than any of 'The Hobbit' films did: "Gravity" and "Frozen." Both movies, I'm sorry to say, have been treated with absolute disrespect when it came to preserving their original looks on BluRay.  We've already discussed "Frozen" at great length here and how Disney still refuses to release their high in demand BluRay 3D in America (though they can take time to release a sing-along DVD instead).  "Gravity" has been treated a little better by mere virtue that we got a BluRay 3D release at all.  That is about to change greatly with the "Gravity: Diamond Lux Edition" BluRay Warner Bros. is releasing.  What is 'Diamond Lux?' It's a fancy term for "special edition."

This is a new lineup for Warner Bros. to present some of their classic movies in a package that is fancy, has great special features, and (usually) a newly remastered 4K print of the film.  The lineup is off, as it includes movies like "The Green Mile," "Batman," and "Gremlins," movies that are all very popular, but might be more up for debate on which of these can truly be considered groundbreaking films (if any at all).  I think including "Gravity" in this lineup shows some very smart forward thinking on Warner Bros. part.  However, there is a strange omission when it comes to the release: There is no 3D included.  This is baffling and unacceptable for a number of reasons.  First of all, "Gravity" is a 3D movie. Period. There is no debating this.

It was filmed in 3D, it was built around 3D, and many people who saw the movie in 2D didn't even like it compared to the people who saw it in 3D, which should give you all the information you need to know.  To take the 3D away is the same as colorizing "Casablanca." Yes, you can technically still watch these movies in these forms, but you are not watching the movies the film makers intended for you to see.  Now, unlike Disney, Warner Bros. is not denying you the chance to watch "Gravity" in the way it was intended to be seen, but to make a BluRay edition that is touted as being the definitive way to own the movie (in so many words) while not including a very important aspect of the film is not only wrong, it's outright lying.

How would you feel if you bought Paramount's ultimate edition of "The Godfather" trilogy on BluRay, only to find the iconic opening scene from the first movie wasn't included?  The Diamond Lux edition of "Gravity" looks very nice by all accounts.  It has a new 4K transfer.  It has new audio commentaries and other special features.  The packaging is so very beautiful.  But it does not contain the option to view the film in 3D, which is how the film was conceived and shot.  There is no way any serious movie fan can make the claim that this is the ultimate edition of the movie when the look and feel of the movie itself has been compromised.  Neither can the studio.  Therefor, the Diamond Lux lineup is seriously compromised because Warn Bros. has ignored the most important aspect of the product: The presentation of the movie itself. And that, ultimately, is a huge problem.