Where is "Ferdinand" in 3D? (Hint: Blame "Star Wars: The Last Jedi")


"Ferdinand" is the new family comedy from Blue Sky Studios that opened this weekend to pretty decent reviews and two Golden Globe nominations.  Yeah...really!  While not being advertised on any of the posters, it WAS made in 3D, and the trailers even did a good job showing off some really nice 3D effects and making it clear this is the format to see it in!  Yet (as some readers have said on my Facebook page) they are having a difficult time finding the 3D version.  Some didn't realize it was supposed to be in 3D, but the movie goes so much out of it's way to BE an effective three dimensional experience, that most have figured out what format the movie is really supposed to be seen in!  So, the question many have is this: If "Ferdinand" was meant to be in 3D, why can't I find it?  Was the release cancelled?  No, I can assure you it wasn't.  It is playing in 3D in my area...though only at a couple of theaters, and very few show times.

Are theaters prejudice against family films?  Is this a '3D is dead' thing?  The answer to all these questions is no, no, and no.  Honestly, this isn't so much a '3D is dead' thing as it is a...well, 'it's not 'Star Wars' so screw you' thing.  I'm sure most of you are aware that "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" hit theaters this weekend (and is on it's way to a $200+ million dollar opening).  It's such a big deal that I'm starting to think the reason my blog numbers aren't very good at the moment is because I'm not writing about it (and if I did it would likely get swallowed up in all the other articles being written on the movie).  Honestly, I'm sort of impressed people brought up their difficulty in finding "Ferdinand" in 3D at all.  But the sad reality is that while "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" might be a good movie, the franchise is (on a whole) VERY detrimental to the movie business!  I know it's not the movies fault that everyone and their mother wants to see it, but this is a franchise that is so huge, it swallows the industry whole whenever a new installment comes out.

It commands over 4,000 screens.  People don't see other movies.  The Walt Disney Company is making HUGE demands on theater owners in order to make sure NOTHING pushes it off screens for a whole month!  Theaters are getting more wary of showing too many 3D movies, so they limit screen time to just a few screens a day (and guess what movie gets to use those screens).  It doesn't matter if people were still seeing "Coco" in RealD 3D; 'Star Wars' is in town, so get that much loved, highly original movie off the screen ASAP.  Oh, you mean you've got all these great movies like "The Disaster Artist," "Lady Bird," and "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" in theaters?  Well, see them before 'Star Wars' kicks them out of town.  I understand that people like what they like, but it is so frustrating that every two Decembers the whole world basically acts as if there is only one movie worth seeing (and seeing again, and again, and again, and again...).

The obsession with this franchise really is unhealthy, and it made me want to pass on the movie altogether (though I didn't do that, so, you know, part of the problem and all that jazz).  What was I talking about again?  Oh, yeah, "Ferdinand."  Anyway, it's a cute movie.  Nothing revolutionary, but it is cute, and it's more than worth seeing in 3D if you can find it.  It's a shame you are unlikely to find it, but hopefully those of you reading this who want the opportunity to see it this way will have the chance to do so.  And, yes, I will mention that "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" is a GREAT 3D experience!  I have to say that to be fair.  It's just a shame "Ferdinand" got screwed by it's mere existence.


"Despicable Me 3" BluRay 3D Silently Cancelled (But "Blade Runner 2049" is Coming...Really)

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The holiday's are a fun time for me.  Never-the-less, they are also hectic and chaotic as well, leading me to sometimes gloss over things that I really should be paying more attention to.  Several months ago Universal Studios announced "Despicable Me 3" to be coming out to BluRay 3D along with all the other versions.  This didn't surprise me as Universal has been very consistent in releasing their titles in 3D in America, and all the previous films were released this way as well, so I figured there was nothing to worry about.  I might have even forgot to report that it was coming out at all, which goes to show how much faith I had in ultimately receiving the product.  I should have learned by now that nothing is a sure thing, and despite being announced to be released, "Despicable Me 3" hit store shelves last week without a 3D version to be found.  I was able to find an import of it at Zavii...however, it is region B locked, and thus won't work on my Xbox One.

Chances are I will still buy it as I am currently trying to hack my LG player to play region B disks, but until I figure that out, I guess this is going to remain one of those "theater exclusive 3D experiences."  I'm not sure how much of a huge loss this is since the movie is pretty unremarkable in every sense of the word, but the fact that this is Universal who is passing on pressing the disk should give fans in America pause for concern.  After all, the three big 3D content providers in the states for the past few years have been:
  1. Warner Bros.
  2. Universal Studios
  3. DreamWorks Animation
DreamWorks seems to have temporarily gotten out of the 3D game (I can't even find an import of "Trolls" or "Captain Underpants: The First Movie" on BluRay 3D) while Warner Bros. continues to be the biggest supporters.  But if Universal has caved then I have to wonder how much longer Warner will remain loyal at this point?  Although, that said, another news item I am late in writing about is that "Blade Runner 2049" WILL be released in BluRay 3D come January!  Yeah, I'm pretty surprised too.  The 3D version was not included when they made the initial announcement a few months ago, the director and cinematographer both stated they didn't like the 3D version, and IMAX made a big deal out of it NOT being in 3D (to very mixed public reaction I would say).  I personally wasn't impressed with the 3D version, and figured I would be ok if we didn't get this one.  But lo and behold it is coming out!

I am...so shocked by this I am actually laughing.  It does go to show that Warner Bros. is truly the biggest supporter of the format, and I really need to send someone over there a fruit basket or something as a small token of gratitude.  I might not have been that impressed with the 3D conversion, but I'll be damned if I am going to pass up buying it when Warner Bros. so clearly has very little reason to release it.  I know the market for BluRay 3D is limited, but Warner knows there is a market for it none-the-less, and they appear to be supporting it through thick and thin.  As for "Despicable Me 3"...*sigh* I REALLY need to learn how to hack something so I can watch these disks!


"Coco" Opens in Select IMAX Theaters Today (But Not in 3D)


First, the good news: IMAX is bringing Pixar's critical hit "Coco" to select theaters today.  Now, the bad news: It's not going to be in 3D.  The worst news: The few theaters screening it are pretty much doing so with early showings, so if you have a 9-to-5 job...well, you're plain out of luck.  I'm not certain why there is no 3D screening of "Coco" in IMAX, but there appears to be a trend of animated movies not being in IMAX 3D despite being tailor made for the format.  Will it sell any more tickets without 3D?  Doubtful, but for some reason this is the way things are.  It should be noted that - unlike "Justice League" - "Coco" is 100% improved by the 3D experience, and I can easily recommend it over a bigger screen.  However you decide to see it though, it is an excellent film and I hope you enjoy it.  Oh, also, the "Frozen" short before the movie is actually more a featurette that lasts 21 minutes, so don't walk out in confusion.


IMAX Ditches "Justice League" in Favor of Re-runs of "Dunkirk" and "The Polar Express"

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Whatever hopes you had for "Justice League" being a huge success, I would put those desires on hold for a very, very long time as the movie is more than a certified flop at this point.  It went on to break records for the lowest grossing release of the entire DC Extended Universe.  The movies as they stand are currently dead and there is virtually no hope of the thing being salvaged at this point.  "Justice League" is going to do to superhero movies at Warner Bros. what "Batman & Robin" did for that franchise: Stop it dead in its tracks while the studio takes a break from it and reevaluates what to do ten years down the road.  I know this isn't how people wanted things to turn out.  Fans wanted a good movie.  The studio wanted a profitable franchise.  IMAX wanted a movie with enough legs that it could carry through the holiday season until "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" dropped.

In short, everyone got screwed here, and there are no winners, only losers.

While there have been countless articles highlighting the failures of the movie, we're going to focus on the fact that IMAX got stuck with a movie that didn't sell tickets.  Most of the theaters were played to empty screenings.  There is no possible way the company can hope to keep this around for three more weeks.  So, many theaters will be getting rid of it.  Theaters that are equipped to show 70mm movies will (ironically) be bringing Christopher Nolan's "Dunkirk" for an undetermined amount of time.  Many IMAX's will be going back to 2004 and reviving "The Polar Express" for the holidays (easily one of 3D's biggest cinema success stories).  While there has been no announcement, don't be surprised if "Thor: Ragnorok" makes a surprise come back as well.  This, just goes to show, not to put too many eggs in one basket, because the basket may break and crack your eggs.

Now, I'm typing this story for two reasons.  The first is that it is always nice to see "The Polar Express" return to IMAX 3D.  I've seen this movie on the really big screen almost every year for the last decade and a half, and I even have watched the BluRay 3D a few times.  Despite "Avatar" getting all the credit, it was really "The Polar Express" which showed how good and successful 3D films could be, as the film opened to low box office, only to have IMAX 3D showings being sold out on a daily basis.  The other reason I'm reporting on this is because this is another spectacular failure for IMAX in their '2D only' policy, and if it hasn't been made clear yet that scrapping the 3D doesn't result in more ticket sales yet, then I honestly don't know what will.  Now, I have to stress again that the 3D version wasn't a whole lot better this time around, and I have heard rumblings that Joss Whedon simply felt the 2D version was better (for whatever THAT'S worth to the fans...).

Also, this movie didn't make money in either format, so it's not like having the 3D would have resulted in more ticket sales either.  The point (again) is that IMAX saw sagging ticket sales, looked at "Dunkirk's" success, and deemed that it was probably because the movie was in 2D that it did so well (completely ignoring the 3D successes of "Beauty & the Beast," "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," and "Spider-Man: Homecoming").  "Dunkirk" did well in IMAX because it was shot with 70mm IMAX cameras and was a good movie.  Nothing more, nothing less.  I took personal issue with IMAX throwing 3D under the bus when they had 3D movies that were actually bigger successes than "Dunkirk."  "Justice League" did not sell tickets even though it was only showing in 2D.  Heck, the only way it might have done well is if it was an excellent movie (although...).  Truthfully, I think IMAX should take a hard look at what they are replacing it with: Movies that take full advantage of the giant screen and the formats with which they were filmed in.

In the new year I will begin a series of articles about what IMAX's strengths were, how they lost sight of their ultimate goal, what their problems are, and what they can do to fix them going forward.  In the meantime...I'm going to enjoy taking my niece to see "The Polar Express" for the first time!


James Cameron's "Titanic" to Return to AMC Dolby and 3D December 1

This is more of a brief update, but James Cameron has had a surprise announcement that for a couple weeks only (and exclusively at AMC Theaters) you will be able to see "Titanic" in theaters.  The movie won 11 Academy Awards (including Best Picture and Best Director) and is one of my personal favorite films.  I've seen it three times in theaters: Once during it's initial release, again at a classic screening, and the third time in IMAX 3D.  The movie is magnificent regardless how you view it.  AMC is mainly pushing their Dolby Cinema screens they've been installing, but a few of them WILL project the movie in 3D!  Even though this is widely available on BluRay 3D, for those who might not have had the chance to see it in theaters in this format, now is your chance.


Checking Out "Cars 3" European Only BluRay 3D Release

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I've got a few real articles to post in the next few days, but in the meantime I DID import "Cars 3" on BluRay 3D in a collectible steelbook edition from Zavii!  Most of the information of this release is in the video, but for those want to know upfront: Yes, it WILL work on American BluRay players!  I decided to test it out on my Xbox One...and then ended up watching the whole movie because it actually is a genuinely good movie.  If you want I'll start showing off import BluRay 3D's more often with information on whether or not they work on American players, but for the time being this will have to do.


Should You See "Justice League" in RealD 3D or IMAX 2D?

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Here we go again.  I didn't think I would be writing an article like this again so soon after I wrote extensively about "Blade Runner 2049," but it appears that if you are a fan of 3D movies and IMAX movies, you have a choice to make if you want to see "Justice League."  Now, personally, I don't think the movie is worth seeing in any format.  Like, really, truly not worth seeing in any format.  That said, I know there are many of you reading this that DO want to see it, and want to know whether it is worth seeing in RealD 3D or IMAX 2D!  Unlike last time we went through this, I actually managed to see the movie in both formats in the last few days, so I think I can properly judge which version is the best.  And before we continue I need to stress this: I saw "Justice League" TWICE within three days so I could do this comparison 'justice,' so don't let my pain go to waste!

Okay?  Ok...

Unlike "Blade Runner 2049," director Zach Snyder ways always shooting "Justice League" to be a 3D movie.  Granted, he was filming in 2D with the intention of upconversion later on, but he was still framing certain shots knowing that they would have a third dimension down the road.  However, tragedy struck when his daughter committed suicide, and suddenly making a dark superhero movie wasn't a top priority anymore, and so he stepped down as director, and Joss Whedon was brought in to finish the film.  It should be noted that for Synder this was absolutely the right thing to do and I don't fault him one bit for it.  That is a bit of a wake up call, and if it comes down to family and a movie...you pick family every single time.  That said, when Whedon came onboard there was no way he could really know what Synder was going for, and from all accounts the studio heads weren't impressed with the film as it was coming along anyway, and tasked Whedon with retooling it.

Though Synder still receives sole directing credit, apparently Whedon changed a LOT of what was originally there, wrote new scenes, and even cut whole characters out of the movie!  He added more color.  Also, he wasn't shooting with 3D in mind.  And even if he was there was only a small chance that it would match with Snyder's vision.  That means, when you watch the movie in general, the film is a visual and tonal mess.  It is almost fascinating to watch because you can very clearly tell what scenes are Synder scenes and what scenes are Whedon scenes.  You can feel the differences from sequence to sequence, and there is almost no consistency to the final project.  This, I'm sorry to say, extends to the 3D version.  Watching "Justice League" in 3D is frustrating as it is WILDLY inconsistent in quality!  There are scenes when the 3D is popping and everything is working as it should, reminding us of how good 3D can be.

Then you have...the other scenes.  The "other" scenes is where the 3D is jerky, ghosty, and in some cases down right flat looking.  These scenes may be the worst 3D I've seen in a LONG time!  It's "The Last Airbender" and "Clash of the Titans" level of bad!  It is very, very discouraging to see the transfer get as bad as it does at times.  Also, I guess I should note, that even when the 3D is good, it isn't that good.  It's good enough to pass with two action sequences being of especially high quality, but otherwise there isn't much to write home about.  So, while the RealD 3D version of "Justice League" is far from a total wash, it is inconsistent enough to make seeing it in IMAX 2D the preferred option.  Seeing that Warner Bros. is one of the few companies still releasing BluRay 3D's (minus "Blade Runner 2049" of course), I'm hoping they will fix the 3D to be more viewable at home, but we'll just have to wait and see. 

The only thing that doesn't make this a black and white situation is that whether you are watching a good 2D version and a sometimes good/sometimes bad 3D version, the bottom line is you're still seeing "Justice League."  Unlike "Blade Runner 2049," this isn't a movie worth seeing in either format, and it's not like either one really helps or hurts the movie anymore than it already does.  So I think the question of this post is sort of moot when you get down to it.  Whether you see something in 3D or 2D I think we can all agree you want that movie to be good.  And - seeing that MoviePass isn't going to get you into either of these premium formats anyway - it might just be worth passing this one up altogether and save your money for what is surely going to be a far superior theatrical experience in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."  If you must see this I guess I sort of lean towards IMAX 2D, but the 3D version has enough good moments that neither is a total waste.


IMAX Scraps 3D Version of "Justice League"

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My earlier suspicions were correct: IMAX has scrapped the 3D release of "Justice League."  Early posters for the movie proudly touted the movie as being an IMAX 3D release...only to slowly get away from that claim and just being advertised as being "in IMAX."  Though this may not be the final listing, so far...

...NO ticket pre-orders are selling any showings of the movie that are in 3D, which means its pretty unlikely there will be any when the time comes!  This contributes more to the notion that IMAX is getting out of the 3D game, but it should be noted this seems like an exception to the rule rather than the norm.  Right now "Thor: Ragnorok" is playing in IMAX theaters with 2D and 3D showings being split pretty much down the middle.  "Geostorm" was shown completely in 3D regardless where it played.  "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" will have some 2D showings, however the vast majority will be in 3D.  Which means, since making the original announcement, "Justice League" will be only the SECOND release to ditch 3D from a movie that has a 3D version available (the first being "Blade Runner 2049" of course).

What is odd about this movie is that originally it was being directed by Zach Snyder, who stepped away from the project after his daughter tragically committed suicide (and my thoughts and prayers are still with him).  Joss Whedon was brought in to finish the film, but in the process has apparently restructured the film, has written lots of new scenes, cut Lex Luthor from the film, and has made the movie more humorous and colorful.  From many accounts, it is now more Whedon's film than Snyder's.  Why do I mention this?  Because while Snyder was making a movie that he knew was going to be converted to 3D, Whedon might not have been.  Granted, he HAS directed 3D films before ("The Avengers" and "The Avengers: Age of Ultron"), but he might have been too busy fixing the movie to worry about how it was going to be presented in 3D!  Warner Bros. does have a conversion in the can, but it might not compliment the scenes Whedon has directed, and it's entirely possible the director told IMAX not to bother projecting the it that was as a result.

Or, maybe, "Thor: Ragnorok" really did sell more 2D tickets than 3D.  Look, it's entirely possible.  I personally think that if you did that you made a mistake because the 3D in that movie was extremely well done and immersive, and it reminded me why I loved 3D movies so much.  There's no solid numbers on that though, so...I can't comment on it.  Right now I'm thinking the lack of an IMAX 3D release has more to do with changing directors than anything.  However, I will do my due diligence and see the movie in both formats and give you my two cents on them, and which one you should see.


Where Has the Discussion of "Thor: Ragnorok" Been? (UPDATE: Strikes Over)

It's amazing how fast a situation can turn around.  I wanted to write about the Disney boycott of journalism, but didn't have time to write a proper piece this morning.  I filmed this quick YouTube video sharing my thoughts on the matter with the intention of elaborating later on.  Now the video will serve as a prequel to my thoughts on the situation now that Disney has 'unbanned' the Los Angeles Times from future movie screenings.

So that was this morning.  What's the current status of the boycott?  Well, Disney has officially decided to de-blacklist the LA Times.  In an announcement this afternoon they stated:

We’ve had productive discussions with the newly installed leadership at the Los Angeles Times regarding our specific concerns, and as a result, we’ve agreed to restore access to advance screenings for their film critics.

Alright, so...that's the end of discussion right?  The LA Times can go to Disney movies again, critics pledged a boycott until the decision was publicly rescinded, so everything's cool right?  In my mind, no, things are not alright.  It would have been one thing if Disney publicly apologized for being a bully.  It would have spoken volumes if Bob Iger admitted he crossed a line and pledged not to do so again.  Instead, Disney simply claimed that they discussed their concerns with "new leadership" and have agreed to restore their access to movies.  Really...that's it?  Alright, let's discuss two major problems with this statement.  The first is that I was unaware that there was "new leadership" at the LA Times.  What does that even mean?  Are they talking about management?  I mean, there COULD be new managers...but considering the paper is without controversy except this one issue (with which they have had overwhelming support) it seems odd that the paper would have to shake up management at all!

Personally, I want the LA Times to personally confirm this is true and who the new bosses/leaders/writers even are.  The second problem I have is even if this is true, then the reasons for Disney lifting their ban are actually far, FAR worse!  It gives off the impression that Disney got their way in the end.  They got old bosses/leaders/writers fired (for what appears to have been accurate reporting), new people got installed, Disney lawyers told them what's what, and THEN they agreed to let them back into their movies!  This doesn't bother anyone?  Not one?  I mean, for the record, I think the Disney's explanation is total bullshit (sorry mom, I could be in legal trouble if I use the nicer word...seriously).  I don't believe the LA Times has new faces overseeing the business.  I don't believe the LA Times agreed with any of Disney's assertions (the lack of retraction speaks volumes in that area).  I believe Disney realized this was an unwinnable battle and a potential public relations disaster.

They have awards to win.  They have Star Wars to push.  They have a Best Animated Feature Oscar that they have had a monopoly on for YEARS (and they sure as heck aren't giving it up to "Loving Vincent" or "A Silent Voice")!  The critics weren't going to back down and in doing so became supported in ways they hadn't been for a long time.  Dare I say it, the critics were even relevant for the first time in years these past few days.  They had no reason to back down.  That wouldn't be a big deal for Disney in and of itself though.  What really did it was that the critics guilds jointly disqualified Disney's films, thus cutting out the first phase in what award bloggers refer to as "The Whisper Campaign," and not having that could cost movies like "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," "Coco," "Queen of Katwe," and the various Marvel movies early ammo for the big awards.  Also, what if the Hollywood Foreign Press Association decided to join the boycott?  They support free press and (more importantly) run the highly successful (for some reason) Golden Globe Awards.  A shut out there could be devastating, so Disney likely didn't want it to get to that point.

They couldn't just admit any wrong doing though.  That would look bad on the company and Iger (who is considering a presidential run when his contract with Disney expires in 2019), so this (likely) bullshit story about new management was created and the ban was lifted, and Disney is hoping things go back to normal.  What's concerning is that if some articles are to be believed, the critics won this round.  I can say with safety and a straight face they did not.  If the critics and the guilds let Disney enter the awards race they have lost.  Disney still walked over everyone, tried to destroy the ethnics of journalism, and got to make up their own story and walk away scot free.  You can write your own happy ending in the movies, but this is real life, and Disney can't be allowed to do that.  I believe the shutout from awards needs to stand (and be expanded to bigger awards, if necessary).  The story that the LA Times has new leadership needs to be confirmed or denied in detail.  If it's true, Disney AND the Times needs to be held to the fire as these "discussions" could be a HUGE conflict of interest in the industry!

If the story of the times getting new management is not true, Disney needs to be publically questioned for slander.  In any scenario the Mouse owes the industry and apology that at least sounds sincere.  Otherwise there is no lesson learned, and the company will go back to their bullying ways and revisionist history.  I suppose we'll just have to wait and see how this plays out, but in my eyes the story isn't over by a longshot.  If it is then it will be the most depressing cop out in journalism I've seen in a long time.


Is "Blade Runner 2049" Worth Seeing in RealD 3D?

After more than a couple weeks of being out in theaters, I was finally able to get away from family obligations and government paperwork to see "Blade Runner 2049" a second time.  While I have not written a review of the movie due to excessive writers block (as well as potentially rethinking my career as a writer), I will say that this is so far the best film I've seen this year.  It has made me think about things in ways that I never thought I would, it is smart in ways that few movies are, and it is more interesting the second time around.  Everything is beautiful to look at and the acting is appropriately subtle in what is being said with silence.  It is a modern masterpiece and the fact that no one is turning out to see it shows that people deserve the sorry state of the movie business they currently have.  If you haven't seen it yet, I think you are missing out on an experience you may potentially feel is great.

However, should you see it in IMAX 2D or RealD 3D?  That is the question I asked in a previous article, and I've been slowly answering that question throughout the month.  For someone who loves 3D so much that he'll maintain a blog about the format, it is amazing that it took me as long as it did to see it in this format.  However, the preferred viewing method for this film has been one of much speculation, and after some digging I came to the conclusion that the film makers wanted the film to be seen in 2D.  Still, I wanted to see what the 3D looked like, so I bought a ticket to a XD 3D screening late at night (with Auro 1.11 sound to boot!).  I watched the movie and soaked up the brilliant film making once more.  I also paid attention to the 3D, how it was used, and how it affected the overall experience of the movie.  And now that I've seen the movie in both IMAX 2D and RealD 3D I can safely say that the "Blade Runner 2049" in 3D experience is...ok.

Yeah, that's pretty much all I can muster for it.  It's funny to think I've been writing about this topic for months on end, decrying IMAX for not projecting it in the first place, using it as the reason they won't show 3D movies anymore, having them pretty much back off on that claim pretty quickly, and then finding out that key people who made the movie weren't that impressed with the 3D, it's frustrating because it feels like I've been doing all this complaining for virtually nothing. Because what we ultimately have is a 3D experience that does not detract from your enjoyment of the movie, but doesn't add a whole lot either.  This is especially frustrating because this has all the makings of a great 3D experience.  The kind that could have sat with "Avatar" and "Life of Pi" as being one of the best to be had yet.

There are long, slow shots.  Quick editing is nowhere to be found.  There are vast, open spaces to help 3D emphasize the space between the characters and the world.  Many scenes involve airships in the air and flying.  The pacing and sets are placed so perfectly, that there was a possibility for total emersion on the audiences end, to be literally be sucked into the world and in the middle of it all.  If ever there was a movie I look at and think "this would be SOO much better in 3D," this would be it!  It should be it.  It's not though.  The 3D experience I had with "Blade Runner 2049" was one of minor depth in the background, a few pop out effects for passing buildings, but not a whole lot else.  Even the scene where Joe talks to the prostitute hologram (as seen at the top of this article) - a scene that begs to surround the audience and suck them into the world - only sort of pops out (and certainly never surrounds you).

However, it should be noted this is an up-converted job, and those really can only go so far.  So why didn't Denis Villeneuve just film the thing in 3D?  I don't know.  Really, I don't.  The shooting style of the film goes in hand with the techniques of 3D so perfectly I find it frustrating that the director just couldn't see it.  Or maybe he did and just didn't care?  It is true that the best live action 3D experiences have come from directors who are known for being true masters of the art of cinema: Martin Scorsese, Ang Lee, Alfonso Cuaron, Steven Spielberg (alright, that ones animated, but it was SHOT like a live action film), James Cameron, George Miller, and Peter Jackson have delivered the best 3D experiences by far.  I would argue that Villeneuve is in that league of directors and could have pulled it off.  Either he didn't see the potential 3D could bring to the project, or he simply didn't care to.

So, for what it's worth folks, I'm really sorry I made a bigger deal of a 3D version of "Blade Runner 2049" than I had any right to.  I got caught up in IMAX threatening (in a round about way) that 3D experiences in the theaters would be in jeopardy if this movie did well in it's 2D only release.  I got caught up in the lack of BluRay 3D releases we continue to get.  I got excited by the potential of this movie being in 3D.  Ultimately, the experience is average.  Not lukewarm enough to completely ruin the experience, but lukewarm enough that it makes wearing the glasses a royal pain to have to wear.  I hate having to admit this, but I want to be honest with my readers, and the sad reality is that "Blade Runner 2049" is not the 3D experience that was worth dying on a mountain for.  The other sad reality is that is very well could have been, which may be more frustrating than the 3D simply not being very good.


"Geostorm" to be Released in IMAX 3D

"Geostorm" is one of those really weird movies that comes along once in awhile that makes one scratch their head and wonder who greenlit it?  Who do they expect to see it?  Who is interested?  Who decided there was enough demand to put it on a really expensive theater and charge $20 a ticket for?  I don't know the answer to any of those answers, but whatever they are, "Geostorm" is a thing, and it's coming to theaters October 20th.  What's more interesting though is that a search for listings on IMAX's official website shows that ALL showings of the movie (thus far) are going to be in IMAX 3D!  Is the banishment of 3D movies over for the chain?  Still too early to say, but I think "Blade Runner 2049" did more damage by only being shown in 2D.  Yeah, that's how it was SUPPOSED to be seen, but this is why the company needed to be upfront about it rather than use the format as an excuse to explain away sagging ticket sales!

Numbers don't lie and the numbers have shown only one thing really: that people will see the movies they are interested in seeing and skip the ones they aren't.  If IMAX wants to turn their numbers around they need to first and foremost focus on getting movies people want to see, movies that take advantage of the giant screen, and get more deals with companies to shoot in IMAX cameras so that more image is available exclusively on their theaters.  Once that's over they might want to open more IMAX screens that are truly giant, own the theaters the screens are on, lower the ticket costs a little bit, maybe partner with MoviePass and Sinemia to attract more people to their screens, and just try to be a better experience all around.  With that said, some people likely want to ask me if I think "Geostorm" will prove to be a hit and show that 3D is still a viable format.  No, I don't believe it will.  I'm not under the impression the movie will do all that good at the box office in general, which may prove my point about 3D more or may prove it less.  We'll just have to see how the stockholders feel.


"Blade Runner 2049" NOT Coming to BluRay 3D?

"Blade Runner 2049" is one of the best movies of the year.  So far, it may even be the best one I've seen.  It's the rare intelligent grand spectacle that Hollywood used to make, but now doesn't unless they have superheroes in them.  It has also been a key movie at the center of a big controversy: can it prove that audiences aren't interested in 3D?  IMAX used it as a scapegoat to justify showing more 2D movies (only to have it bomb at theaters).  However, then it was reported that both the director and cinematographer were unhappy with the 3D version, and preferred people see it in 2D.  Now the movie has been announced for pre-order on both 4K and BluRay, but no BluRay 3D version has been announced.  Of course, this doesn't mean we're not getting a 3D release, but it's becoming increasingly unlikely that we do get one if it isn't announced upfront.

What's working in the films favor is that Warner Bros. is handling domestic distribution of the film, and they have been very consistent supporters of the 3D format.  That doesn't mean their stance won't change at some point, but for the time being there is not a lot to suggest they are dropping out now (other movies beyond "Blade Runner 2049" are receiving BluRay 3D releases).  Working against the film are key film makers who don't really care if audiences see the film in 3D or not.  Personally...I haven't seen it in 3D.  I'm going to be making my way out to see it in 3D in a few days.  I have seen it in IMAX 2D and loved the experience.  It LOOKS like a movie that would benefit from 3D, but then the 2D image was so perfect I could just as easily understand why a third dimension could potentially hurt it.  I'm on the fence on whether this is a bad thing or not.  Once I see the movie in 3D I'll let you know if the controversy was worth all the fuss it received (including from me), but for the time being the movie is up for pre-order and there's no 3D version to be found, so take from that what you will.


"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" Poster Advertises IMAX 3D

The most recent posters for movies that have been coming out to IMAX have been omitting the word '3D' from advertisements.  This happened for "Justice League," "Thor: Ragnorak," and (most obviously) "Blade Runner 2049."  I assume IMAX has been vague about the '3D' part because they were in the process of pulling away from 3D movies, and didn't want to be falsely advertising them.  Then "Blade Runner 2049" didn't bring in any more movie goers than most of their 3D movies did.  That raised the question on whether or not the company would stick with their new policy or back track a little bit.  Well, while I can't point to this as a definite reversal of policy, when "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" tickets went on sale, I was quick to point out that way more theaters were showing it in 3D and that 2D showings were (at the moment), hard to find.  Well, a new poster for the movie has emerged, and the most telling thing is that it is once again advertising the movie is going to be in IMAX 3D.

So, at least for this movie, IMAX Corporation is pushing the 3D version as the version to see.  I guess we'll see how long THAT lasts!


IMAX Embracing 3D Once Again with "Star Wars: The Last Jedi?"


It has been a rocky road for IMAX the last few months in terms of ticket sales and their corporate stance on 3D.  In the summer they boldly claimed that 3D was dead and that future IMAX releases would be in 2D (with "Blade Runner 2049" being the first to forgo the third dimension altogether).  However, a funny thing happened after that though: 2D screenings were largely no more attended than 3D movies.  With the possible exception of "It," movies like "Kingsman: The Golden Circle" and "Blade Runner 2049" did just OK in IMAX, while "Inhumans" and "War for the Planet of the Apes" tanked outright.  I want to state that I personally don't believe the fact that these movies were in 2D are the cause for them not doing well.  I think these were movies people weren't as interested in seeing in general, and that reflected on IMAX tickets as well as standard tickets (and, in the case of "Inhumans," having a poor showing on TV).

Indeed, the announcement to go from all 3D to all 2D was an announcement meant to confirm that ticket sales would go up, but now that we have proof that such a change made very little impact on overall ticket sales, the company needs to go back to the drawing board to figure out what they're really doing wrong (Spoiler: high ticket costs and shrinking screen sizes may play a MAJOR role in this).  So with this idea that 3D was hurting attendance being proven untrue at this point, it's time for the company to do what all companies do when they realize they made a bold claim they can't back up with facts: back peddle.  That is why "Thor: Ragnorok" is going to have both 2D AND 3D showings split evenly down the middle.  The same will likely happen for "Justice League."  What stands out most though is what the company is doing with "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."  Now, for those who are unaware, tickets for the movie went up for pre-order a few days ago.

It was announced by IMAX Corporation that the movie would be shown in IMAX 2D, IMAX 70mm (which is also going to be in 2D), and IMAX 3D.  So right off the bat they announced that 3D was going to be one of the experiences viewers could choose, the only question remaining is how much?  With two formats available in 2D it seemed like the company was going to give preferred treatment to two dimensional showings...until they didn't.

Although ticket pre-ordering is still early for the movie (and more showings are bound to be added), what is interesting to note is that almost all of these preview showings are in 3D.  In fact, from the two pages worth of theater listings that are currently available in my area, only ONE is showing the movie in 2D!  That screening is happening at the TCL Chinese Theater (which, for the record, has a FANTASTIC IMAX screen), where the 10:00m and 1:45am showings are being shown in 2D!  That said, it should also be noted they have a 'fan event' to kick off the (what looks to be an all night) string of screenings is in 3D, which means that theater may believe 2D is the more profitable of the two formats, someone bigger is pushing the 3D version as the opening act because they believe this is the format its meant to be seen in.

Which makes a lot of sense.  "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" was one of the biggest 3D success stories in the past five years, and the lack of a BluRay 3D release was so strong at Disney that the company caved and gave it an elaborate special edition release several months later.  Also, George Lucas was in the process of converting all the previous Star Wars films into 3D formats, so there's that fact for whatever its worth.  What is going to be interesting about this specific release is how much more screen showings the 3D version of 'The Last Jedi' receives and how well it does.  Will it be big enough to get IMAX to change course on what was (at the very least) a misguided idea?  How big of a success will it be?  I have no doubt this will be the biggest success for IMAX this year.  There's almost no way it can't be.

The big question, I suppose I have, is that if this is a huge success DESPITE the lack of 2D showings, wouldn't that prove my point that 3D isn't in and of itself the problem with their ticket sales?!  Does that mean IMAX will just have to completely back peddle?  Or, what if we get closer to the release and the screenings are split more down the middle between 2D and 3D?  Will it mean more or less ticket sales for IMAX?  Will it be noticed if there less ticket sales this time around when the movie (possible) does better business overall?  Which version will have had the lower sales?  Will the 70mm screenings be more profitable than the digital screenings were like "Dunkirk" was earlier this year?  I guess we'll just have to wait and see.  Whatever version you see though, may the force be with you...always.


IMAX Loses Bet that Audiences ONLY Want 2D with "Blade Runner 2049" Release!

IMAX's bet that 3D was the reason for sagging ticket sales is officially wrong.

Alright, this was proven wrong a month ago, but now we can say without a shadow of a doubt 3D showings have NOT been contributing to lower than hoped for ticket sales!  For those new to the situation, IMAX Corporation announced a few months ago that audiences had spoken: They hate 3D overwhelmingly prefer 2D movies!  Thus, they would be scaling back on IMAX 3D movies, and they would start by releasing "Blade Runner 2049" exclusively in 2D (they also, I want to add, also said they would be showing most movies only one week, and I'll explain why that's important later).  Now, as I wrote about last week, this didn't bother the film makers of the movie.  In fact, both the director AND cinematographer wen ton record stating that 2D was the way the movie was meant to be seen! 

That is probably more of a reason it's only being shown in IMAX 2D as opposed to anything else, but the company needed to show they were doing something - ANYTHING - drastic to show that they were going to do something to lure more people into IMAX theaters!  The problem with this method is that while 2D may indeed have been the film makers intended format to view the movie, but launching war on the 3D fanbase, you actually got many of them (me included) to write scathing articles about how we were NOT going to see the movie in IMAX!  I'm actually going to see the movie in both formats and write a review later on describing which version to see, but I remained skeptical that only showing the movie in 2D would prove any more profitable than usual.  So, how did "Blade Runner 2049" do at the IMAX box office?  Well, as you probably guessed from the headline, it isn't completely good.  However, let's look at box office numbers for IMAX movies that opened this year on their opening weekend (and please keep in mind these are rough estimates from Box Office Mojo):
  • xXx: Return of Xander Cage (3D) - $1.8 million
  • Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (3D) - $800,000
  • The Lego Batman Movie (2D) - $400,000
  • Logan (2D) - $10.1 million
  • Kong: Skull Island (3D) - $7.4 million
  • Beauty and the Beast (3D) - $21 million
  • Ghost in the Shell (3D) - $2.9 million
  • The Fate of the Furious (2D) - $6.7 million
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (3D) - $25 million
  • Alien: Covenant (2D) - $5 million
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (3D) - $8.2 million
  • Wonder Woman (3D) - $12.4 million
  • The Mummy (3D) - $700,000
  • Despicable Me 3 (2D) - $300,000
  • Cars 3 (2D) - $100,000 (yes, "Cars 3" truly is Pixar's least attended film)
  • Transformers: The Last Knight (3D) - $5.2 million
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (3D) - $13.8 million
  • Dunkirk (2D) - $11.9 million
  • Inhumans (2D) - $2.85 million (this isn't the opening weekend: This is the ENTIRE gross!  This was an IMAX funded exclusive that didn't play in ANY other theaters, and it did worse than just the opening weekend of "Ghost in the Shell")!
  • It (2D) - $8.2 million
Now then, the numbers vary a little bit as IMAX records are not reported on in the most rigorous detail, but these are roughly what the opening box office numbers were for movies that were showing in IMAX.  From the list we can gather a few facts: The three highest grossing opening weekends were for 3D movies ("Beauty & the Beast," "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," and "Spider-Man: Homecoming").  With the exception of "Beauty and the Beast," the movies that made the most money tended to be the movies that were largely considered 'good' as opposed to 'bad.'  Also, most of these movies stayed in IMAX for more than one week, which is probably why the company really wants to get enough movies to keep content fresh on their screens, as you don't want to get stuck with a stinker any longer than you have to.

Also, judging by the numbers, it appears that good 3D movies are making roughly the same as good 2D movies, so you have to wonder how much IMAX's claim holds up.  Well, let's stop beating around the bush; what did "Blade Runner 2049" ultimately make for IMAX in the opening weekend? 

*drum roll*

That's it.  Purely from a side of finances, it did no better than most 3D bombs and far worse than most 3D successes.  The big announcement that "Blade Runner 2049" would make more money if shown only in 2D has officially proven to be false.  Of course, "Inhumans" sort of proved this a month ago, but since that was a TV pilot that just happened to be screened on IMAX's across America, there was still a little doubt.  With "Blade Runner 2049" there is a 3D version out there, and not having this one in 3D didn't yield in any more money.  Now then, to give IMAX credit in one area, the movie only made $31 million all around, which means this is officially a box office disappointment.  The difference between this movie and most of the ones up there is that if you look at the box office in general, IMAX movies tended to account for somewhere between 5%-12% of the opening total gross.  With "Blade Runner 2049" that number creeps closer to 25%, so that IS an uptake in IMAX ticket sales!

The problem is it doesn't really matter much in a business where accounting is everywhere.  It sort of reminds me when my family went on the Toy Story Mania ride at Disney's California Adventure, where I got the highest score of the family.  My mom - in comparison - got the lowest score.  However, she chalked it up to a win because she had the highest accuracy rate.  I love my mom, but in the real word accuracy and more tickets sold doesn't mean anything if it doesn't result in more money being made.  For that matter, "Beauty and the Beast" and "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" had numbers that took roughly 25% of the opening grosses themselves.  What do all three of these movies have in common?

All three had aspect ratios that were specifically fitted for IMAX theaters, resulting in about 26% more image at the top and bottom of the screen, to make it more immersive on those giant screens (and people wanted to see them in general).  

That may be a bigger selling point than 3D or film is, so IMAX Corporation may want to start investing in more movies being shot with IMAX cameras so that they can brag about having the "true" image on opening weekend.  Regardless what they decide to do in the future, I think it's pretty clear their attempt to make more money with "Blade Runner 2049" by ditching 3D altogether was a wash.  Would it have made more or less if it had been in 3D?  That's hard to say.  I think the box office shows people weren't as interested in this as Warner Bros. hoped they would be in general, but it seems unlikely 3D would have hurt the ticket sales any more.  People usually want to see good movies and will pay for them in IMAX regardless of the picture format.  I don't know why they didn't want to come out and see this movie, but genuinely great movies bombing at the box office is not a new thing, and is another topic for a different article altogether.


Is "Blade Runner 2049" Worth Seeing in RealD 3D or IMAX 2D?

Alright, I know a lot of you have been wondering where I've been and I'll just state this now: Never get writer's block.  With that out of the way, tonight we will have our first screenings of "Blade Runner 2049," which is being shown in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 2D.  This is IMAX's first public war with 3D.  They fired some warning shots earlier in the year with "The LEGO Batman Movie," "Cars 3," "Despicable Me 3," and "War of the Planet of the Apes."  When it came to THIS movie though, the CEO of IMAX made it very clear that audiences preferred 2D films over 3D, cited "Dunkirk" as their key example, and bragged that "Blade Runner 2049" would be shown in 2D only!

As you can guess, I wasn't impressed with these statements.

Now, "Blade Runner 2049" is put in an unfortunate position of being a movie that IMAX is using to play an elaborate game of chicken with their audiences.  The thing is, by using the movie as a scapegoat to get rid of 3D, IMAX has ignored a potentially bigger issue that (as serious fans of 3D and movies in general) we need to be discussing: That director Denis Villeneuve doesn't want the movie to see seen in 3D.  He filmed it in 2D and always intended to be seen in 2D.  He hasn't made any statements himself, but his cinematographer Roger Deakins (whose work is pretty fantastic if you ask me) has admitted in interviews that the 3D post-conversion was a job done by the studios, and that 2D is the way to view the film.  On a discussion forum on is official website he was prodded by anxious movie goers and asked what he thought of the 3D conversion.

At first he jokingly plead the fifth, before elaborating a little bit more.  He confirmed that, yes, he WAS involved in the 3D conversion process!  He confirmed that, yes, it looks competent.  Finally, he confirmed that, no, he doesn't think too highly of 3D (and this conversion looked as good as it could knowing that its not supposed to look this way).  Now, this is where I maybe have to take some responsibility because I have been critical of IMAX for throwing 3D under the bus to explain sagging ticket sales.  I mean, it's true, but when they announced that "Blade Runner 2049" was going to be released in 2D only I got out my pitchfork and planned for a full boycott of the movie in IMAX, being unaware of the fact that both the director AND cinematographer are apparently not happy with how this 3D version turned out!

While George Miller was more than happy to convert "Mad Max: Fury Road" into 3D because of the effect it added to the movie, apparently Deakins and Villeneuve feel the 3D effect hurts "Blade Runner 2049" more than it helps.  This puts me in an interesting position because of how IMAX has sold this release.  3D fans are justifiably pissed because the company has made it sound like buying a ticket for this movie is a vote AGAINST 3D in the future!  On the other hand, we have film creators who are in the corner telling us that they would honestly prefer we see the movie in 2D.  By all accounts, that means that the IMAX release of "Blade Runner 2049" is the best way to see the movie, as it is on a larger than life screen with 26% more image to show.  Yet IMAX has positioned it where fans of 3D don't want to see the movie in the best possible way because they are afraid they will be voting against seeing "Justice League" in IMAX 3D.

Personally...I'm going to do my homework and see the film both in 3D AND in IMAX 2D!  I'll see it in IMAX first, but I will make it a point to see it again in 3D.  Should my writers block be gone by then (I don't know if you can tell, but I'm still struggling at the moment), I will report what I think of the two different visual experiences, and which format I ultimately liked better.  If you should take one thing away from this article its this: "Blade Runner 2049" in 2D was always the preferred way to view this movie, and by using the film as a political reason to scale back on 3D in the future, IMAX has likely scared away people from buying tickets to see the movie simply because they didn't communicate this with people.  In a way, by emphasizing stock over the film makers vision, they made far more enemies than they needed to.

Update: For those who want to know my final verdict on the 3D version of "Blade Runner 2049," I have written a follow-up article here!


Want to see "The LEGO Ninjago Movie" in IMAX? Good Luck Finding it...


"The LEGO Ninjago Movie" is not exactly my most anticipated movie of the year.  I LOVED "The LEGO Movie" (so much so I gave it a rare five star review and listed it as one of the best films of the year), and I reasonably enjoyed "The LEGO Batman Movie," but to do a second round of these movies in the exact same year is stretched it for me!  I know continuity is not a big issue for this (now) franchise, but it just seems like Warner Bros. is churning these out as fast as they can before people get bored with them.  They are taking something that was unique and special and Shreking it up, where soon the supply will at outweigh the demand (which, I want to add, doesn't mean the products won't be good, only that people will be so sick of them they will be passing them up even if the final product is good).  "The LEGO Ninjago Movie" was originally announced to be coming to IMAX 3D.  The '3D' part was still in question for me when IMAX made the strange choice to strip "The LEGO Batman Movie," "Despicable Me 3," and "Cars 3" of their 3D presentations, so I figured this would be a 2D only showing.

Well, turns out if you wanted to see the movie in IMAX you may be out of luck altogether.  Unfortunately for "The LEGO Ninjago Movie," it is sharing a release day with "Kingsman: The Golden Circle."  IMAX made a deal to project both movies.  Despite the previous two LEGO movies opening number one at the box office and being far bigger hits than most analysts could have predicted, the company is choosing to show 'Kingsman' at the vast majority of their theaters.  In fact, none of the IMAX's in the LA area is even showing "The LEGO Ninjago Movie."  Thankfully, a lot of regular theaters are showing it in 3D (with even a few XD and RPX screens projecting it), so people who want to see the movie in 3D have the option to do so.  If you want to see it on the REALLY big screen though...eh, looks like your out of luck!  Also, if you have an IMAX that DOES happen to be showing it, I wouldn't expect it to be in 3D! 

Despite the huge success of the re-release of "Wonder Woman" and the utter bombing of "Inhumans," IMAX Corporation is still going forward with scrapping 3D for most of their future showings.  At the moment they are going to be offering future Marvel movies in both formats, but I think we'll just have to wait out their business rethinking.  At one point they will realize that 3D isn't what's keeping people away from their theaters, and I assume it will be back at some point.  Hopefully it will be before we miss out on too many 3D worthy films, but we'll have to wait and see on that one.  In the meantime, I hope everyone enjoys "Kingsman: The Golden Circle," which is one of the few sequels I've been looking forward to seeing.


"The Emoji Movie" and "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" Both MIA in BluRay 3D?


Not going to lie: This is a tough one for me.

No, not in the sense that I want either of these movies in 3D (or at all), but the fact that I must condem the lack of a domestic BluRay 3D release for either "The Emoji Movie" or "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets."  Neither of these movies are very good.  One is clearly a little better than the other, but neither of these are movies I want to buy.  I don't even want to rent them.  Heck, I don't want to stream them.  Not getting domestic 3D releases of these movies should (in theory) be no big deal because these are movies I don't want to watch again.  I did see both of them in 3D in theaters and felt the effects were nice, but since the movies were terrible it was all a moot point.  "The Emoji Movie," in particular, is a movie that is bad in such a unique way that you can't help but wonder how it got off the ground in the first place.

"Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" is at least directed by Luc Besson, who has a huge following as a visually good director (though I must admit I find most of his movies to be boring and logistical messes at the end of the day).  It may be why this movie is being released in 3D in the UK as an Amazon.com exclusive.  I need to warn people that there is no promise of this being a region free disk, so buy at your own risk (if this exclusive version is made available in the US I will make note of it).  For me, it's disappointing that fans of these movies don't have much in the way of a choice if they want to see the movie in 3D.  I might not want to buy these movies, but there are some people who do, and they should have the right to do so.  For that matter, I did not buy "Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie" this week because of a lack of 3D release (even though it is something I clearly want to watch again).

I'm starting to think that the movies that get 3D releases and those that do not are being picked by throwing darts at a board.  That's all I can go by these days, because very little is making sense anymore.  Right now I'm just thankful that "War of the Planet of the Apes" is getting a domestic BluRay 3D release.  I mean, yeah, that's a good movie that deserves to be bought in 3D, but who the heck knows what the criteria is for making that decision anymore?!

For those curious, I DID write a review for "The Emoji Movie" that can read here!


"Thor: Ragnarok" to be Showin in IMAX 2D AND 3D (Also, it has a Pretty Exclusive Poster)!!!


Well...it looks like IMAX isn't ready to give up 3D just yet.  I wondered if they would.  Their announcement that "Blade Runner 2049" was going to be shown in 2D only got them LOTS of negative publicity from fans (in all fairness, there were lots of people who also were on board with the choice)!  There are signs that IMAX may be having some second thoughts about the new policy in regards to certain movies.  Maybe "Blade Runner 2049" is a movie they think they can get away with testing a 2D only release on, but they certainly aren't pulling the 3D version of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."  Furthermore, their four biggest hits of the year were "Wonder Woman," "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," "Spider-Man: Homecoming," and "Dunkirk."  What may stand out is that three of those movies are in 3D and all three are superhero movies, which means they might not want to throw that audience out to the curb just yet (especially when the re-release of "Wonder Woman" was in 3D and did very well).  So, they are compromising...

As you can see, at the three IMAX's in my area that have confirmed "Thor: Ragnorak" will be showing at, the theaters will be showing both 2D AND 3D versions of the movie!  No doubt they will do this for the next few superhero movies to see which versions sell more tickets.  I also have no doubt that the 2D showings will be given the more time friendly showings, with the 3D versions showing first thing in the morning and last thing at night.  It might also make good market sense though.  3D fans will go out of their way to see the 3D versions, so putting them in undesirable timeslots might just capitalize on that "niche" market.  That said, take note of the IMAX only poster for the movie above.  Notice how it only advertises the film as being played "in IMAX" and omits the 3D part?  That is deliberate, believe me.  They don't want to commit to showing 3D films anymore.  They want an out, so they won't advertise it anymore.

I suspect this to be the case for at least a little while.  My prediction is that this experiment is ultimately going to be a bust.  I don't think peoples viewing habits are going to change much, and something tells me that since the biggest barrier people have with 3D is the cost (which IMAX cost the same regardless which version you are watching) I believe both versions will sell roughly the same amount of tickets.  The good news for us is that this means 3D will still be carrying its weight at the theater.  The bad news means the IMAX Corporation won't have that excuse anymore when it comes time to explain falling ticket sales again, and they might have to address the REAL reasons people aren't going to IMAX anymore: Smaller screens, high ticket price, and bad movies that don't benefit from being on a giant screen!

Good luck guys.


IMAX's Big "Inhumans" Blunder

IMAX believes that the main reason people are going to their theaters less this year is because audiences would prefer to see movies in 2D rather than 3D.  This is SUCH a misguided belief that I'm still working on a multi-part series on why this is the case!  What baffles me though is after this (very unfounded) claim was made, IMAX decided that to help turn their fortunes around they would turn to television.  No, seriously, the biggest new release theaters received this weekend was "Marvel's Inhumans," which is NOT a movie, but rather the two episode pilot to a TV series that will be airing on ABC in a few weeks.  Reportedly, the first two episodes were filmed with IMAX cameras in a deal IMAX struck with Marvel to help fund the series.  The pilot grossed about $1.5 million dollars in the opening weekend.  That is (if my numbers are correct) the lowest opening of ANY IMAX release this entire year!

I just want to pause and ask if anyone at IMAX noticed that this isn't in 3D?  No?  Alright, moving on...

So, IMAX decided that it wanted to invest heavily in "Inhumans" so that they could have the first two episodes exclusive to their screens.  Marvel - in an attempt to curb the cost of the series to make it more likely to be picked up by ABC - decided to cut the deal.  There is no word on what would have happened if the deal had gone through and ABC decided to pass on the project.  Look, I know on paper this probably sounded a little good.  And when I say it sounded good I mean it sounded good to have something on your screen that was exclusive to you that had Marvel in the title.  That must have sounded like a good deal.  Also, "Iron Fist" hadn't premiered yet, so people didn't yet realize that Marvel could make a TV series that was really terrible yet.  None of that changes the fact that this is a TV SHOW that is being put on a HUGE screen!  A TV show is going to have a MUCH lower budget than a movie and it will SHOW on an IMAX!

Heck, they already tried this with a season final of "Game of Thrones" a few years ago, and if THAT wasn't going to work on IMAX, what the heck made them think "Inhumans" would?!  So...why am I talking about this on the site?  This doesn't really have much to do with 3D, I will admit, but IMAX is on a  special list for me.  I'm going to be watching their box office VERY closely because I don't for a second believe 3D is the reason IMAX attendance is down!  I believe it is the movies they decide to show.  I believe it is because the screens are getting smaller while the surcharge is going up.  I believe it is because when you compare those smaller screens to RPX and XD (both of which are a couple dollars cheaper) there is virtually no difference.  Heck, I believe they are suffering just like all the other theaters out there due to lower than expected ticket sales in general this year.  In an attempt to spin it though, they saw the success of "Dunkirk" and decided 3D was the problem.

Now though...now, they have given me a gift.  They invested MILLIONS of dollars in this deal with Marvel to get "Inhumans" on IMAX screens!  A show that (now that I've seen it) is average at best and looks cheap on the giant screen.  The box office was less than $2 million dollars for it's entire week.  This is the LOWEST grossing IMAX release of the year!  So low was this figure, that a last minute limited release of "It" for IMAX is getting a considerably bigger rollout today.  Yet, not only was "Inhumans" in 2D, but it's a production IMAX wasted valuable money in.  Money, I'm certain, they could have probably used to help get through the ticket drought.  Also, "Wonder Woman" came back in IMAX 3D for a week and did VERY well while a 2D only engagement of "War for the Planet of the Apes" left no impact!  However...there is something else IMAX isn't getting, and it's something we can look at in a future post.


"Spider-Man: Homecoming" Confirmed for BluRay 3D

With Pixar reportedly prepping "Cars 3" without a BluRay 3D in mind, it is nice to see Marvel still appears to still be in the game, as "Spider-Man: Homecoming" has been announced for a statewide BluRay 3D release.  What's more, ads of the movie appearing in Best Buy ad's are very interesting to the trained eye.  If you look closely, while most movies are advertised as being flat on the TV, Spider-Man is seen jumping OUT of the TV, giving people who see the ad a subtle nod that Marvel has meant for the film to be viewed in 3D!  That said, I do need to mention that there is no ultimate combo pack that will contain both the 3D AND 4K version of the film, so you will ultimately need to choose which one you would rather have!  I don't know about you, but the choice it pretty obvious for me.


Retailers Selling Heavily Discounted BluRay 3D's

Last night when I was in a 7-Eleven, I saw two things I didn't think I would ever see: Crystal Pepsi back in stock and a BluRay 3D combo pack for "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters."  A couple months ago I found a BluRay 3D combo pack of "Epic" at a Big Lots.  While these sightings aren't common, they are out there.  Some may ask what this means for the format.  Frankly, it means nothing more than these are old disks that didn't sell very well, and whatever retailer originally stocked it, decided it would be more profitable to sell them to these stores at a heavy discount.  This was not the only movie that 7-Eleven was selling.  There were brand new copies of "Die Hard," "Field of Dreams," and "A Good Day to Die Hard" (among other title) the store was selling.  All brand new, all at $5.  Really, go by your local 7-Eleven (you may find something you've always wanted to get cheap).

Why this makes me chuckle (and why I decided to write this blog post) is that this is actually not a terrible thing for the format.  The idea that there were BluRay 3D titles out there that had enough copies made that some of them are winding up in bargain bins is sort of a good thing.  Because these are combo packs no one is going to think twice about buying them.  At $5 what are you really losing?  At most the digital copy might have expired, but there's still a BluRay and DVD you can watch.  What this does do is put 3D disks into peoples hands that are affordable.  Affordable disks was a natural evolution the format needed.  The way you got people to think more about buying a 3D TV was to get them 3D content.  Most 3D content was priced out of the regular consumers hands though.

I bought "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" because it was a cheap addition to my 3D collection, but I knew deep down that if there were more cheap releases like this, then more people might want a 3D feature in their future TV purchase to watch it in the format.  Discounted movies is not something a studio wants to have but is an evil necessity to helping grow formats and selling disks that might otherwise not get sold.  In another year or so more of these BluRay 3D's will be popping up in discounted forms.  People will buy them.  Sooner or later, some of them will get curious about watching their 3D disks.  Will there be any TV's they can get that will give them that ability when the time comes?  Who knows?  Would have been a good time to have them on the market for the audience that will inevitably want to watch these disks though.  Sort of sad to think about, no?


CORRECTION: Vudu will RENT 3D Version of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" (It's NOT for Sale)

Notice anything...missing, on this page?

I wish I could say I noticed this myself, but I didn't.  A reader by the name of Ragan pointed out that she went to Vudu to buy the 3D version of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" since (like many others) she did not manage to get one of the elusive Best Buy steelbook collections.  In one of my previous articles on the matter I mentioned (very passive aggressively) that it was nice to be able to buy the 3D through Vudu at least.  This is not the case though.  When Regan attempted to buy the 3D version, she could not find any option to do after.  After some back and forth with their customer service, they confirmed that they did not have the rights to sell the 3D version (but they could rent).  This is very likely because Best Buy paid a lot of money for the exclusive rights to the 3D version.

Then, of course, they deliberately shorthanded the item, and have made it nearly impossible for people to get the item unless they pre-ordered months ago (and, yes, I WILL be saying something about that at some point).  So, I'm sorry guys, but for those who have one of the two devices Vudu streams 3D content to want to buy "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" in 3D, I'm disappointed to report you will only be able to rent it, NOT buy it!  This just keeps getting better and better...