A Thought on 3D Movies and Eventually, The Box Office Impact [Cinema Static]

by on April 2, 2010

in Entertainment

Last year we started hearing about more and more 3D movies coming to the screen. I swear, it seemed like once everyone got a hold of the idea that James Cameron was doing 3D, the entire industry started wagging their tongues and running after the gravy train that passed them by. The problem with the chase of the 3D gravy train is that everyone was making their projects 3D, after the fact. James Cameron shot Avatar in 3D. Shooting in 3D versus post-processing for 3D is MASSIVE difference in the end result and all anyone is going to do to the market with their post-processed crap is hurt the potential for the 3D market.

And because of that difference, I wish studios would quit giving us 3D that’s applied after the fact. Joss Whedon’s project, The Cabin in the Woods, was put off a year so they can apply 3D after the fact. W* T* F*!? (And as we see, that decision has doomed the movie’s release, so far)

Post production 3D has been getting hammered, no matter what movie it’s been installed on. Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, then Clash of the Titans seems to be getting hit with what many are calling the distraction of 3D. Me? I don’t need 3D. Sure, I’ll catch a flick sooner or later in this 3-dimensional world they’re pitching at us on flat surfaced projection screens, but I’m not going out of my way to pay over-inflated movie prices for something that’s going to distract me.

Will 3D Impact Box Office Reports?

In fact, as I ponder it, I have to wonder if with the advent of higher-priced 3D movie tickets, if this isn’t going to force the system to change their benchmark on movie performance at the box-office? Movies have been ranked by funds made at the box-office. Should they continue to do so now, or do we now have to see a break-down of stats to see how a movie has done in 2D versus 3D and then compare the 2D events to historical numbers?

In the past, I’ve seen great arguments for why one must base all performance metrics on the money a movie makes versus the number of people who have seen a movie.

Avatar started that one! Avatar has kicked everyone’s ass every which way to Sunday at the box office window, and then some.

But Avatar sits at 14th in all-time estimated tickets sold list. That’s nuts but there it is. Or to be more precise, Box Office Mojo labels their list as “Adjusted for Inflation.” But let’s be honest, Avatar is still going strong so I’m not worried about it passing up Titanic, which sits at 6th in the inflation adjusted list. At the end of January, Avatar sat 26th on that same list!

At what point or will there be a point that we pull the plug on rating a movie with the box office numbers? Will ticket prices in 100 years be so high that crappy movies that come out in 4D or 5D overwhelm our present ranking system, thus negating it? I’m sorry, I just can’t see Saw 96 busting chops on Jurassic Park or Star Wars just because it cost that much more to see the thing down the road! That’s when I question the argument for present economic factors make ticket costs a viable statistic.

Who knows how it will be handled but I’m betting the age-old fight of economic times / expense vs. actual numbers of tickets will rage on for quite some time until as a whole, we see where it really needs to sit. As someone who has been a statistician (going on 20 years, professionally), numbers can be spun many ways, depending on the color of your rose-tinted glasses but at the bottom of any report that has been reflected upon from a personal angle, are the core numbers that create those reports. Period. That column of numbers on the left, when multiplied by whatever factor in column #2, whether it be ticket price or what have you, is what makes your box-office tallies sound awesome as sound bites!

That’s some food for thought from Cinema Static, the statistical engineer!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

windstorm April 4, 2010 at 9:57 am

My question is how many B.O. duds will “Avatar” end up paying for? Those tricks of accounting can make the best work of the most talented seem like wasted effort.

Imagine a theater shaped like a baseball stadium circular. In the center a circular stage. Above the stage and below it with the house lights up you see a circular strip that’s about 10″ wide that runs the circumference of the stage. At several locations their are special light projectors mounted. The lights go down the movie begins the sound comes up and on the stage appears the movie suspended above the stage in thin air . Clean crisp clear. As you turn your head and the scene plays out you can see different aspects of the scene and characters that no flat screen has ever been able to produce. Old 3-D just looked like cutouts moving on a background that sometimes seemed 3-D. This 3-D looks solid like you could reach out and touch it or if you could float over the stage you would be in the middle of the scene. This is Holographic 3-D and just a few years back it took a spectacular jump in color quality and texture improvement the year is 2027AD.

Decades ago static images and ones of limited animation in monochrome colors could be occasionally caught demonstrated at conventions, malls, and other large public venues. One could imagine that in just a couple of years someone would make a breakthrough and Holocinema would be born. Never happened. Well maybe the current interest in 3-D will cause a Renaissance of innovation and the kids today will get to see real 3-D like never seen before. Perhaps it will have a market hyped name like 4 or 5-D but really it will just be true 3-D which not accounting for time, the real 4 th dimension, is all we can perceive visually and all we really need…

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