Why Iron Man 2 ignores Hollywood 3D mania
Iron Man 2 was already in production when 3D Avatar made history. And though 3D is now a mainstream tool, it's not always appropriate, say filmmakers.
Summer movie-going begins at midnight with “Iron Man 2,” the Marvel sequel projected to threaten the first-weekend box-office performance of the current record-holder, 2008’s “The Dark Knight.” But remarkably, in the new Hollywood 3D bonanza led by the best-selling movie of all time, “Avatar,” the Iron Man 2 is coming to theaters in good, old-fashioned 2D, no 3D version in sight.Skip to next paragraph
Why It Matters
• Iron Man 2 accounted for 90 percent of ticket sales at MovieTickets.com on Thursday.
• At least 842 showings of Iron Man 2 are sold out, including 255 midnight showtimes.
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There are good reasons for that – primarily that the film was already in production long before James Cameron showed the industry the power and promise of 3D moviemaking.
But the sky-high expectations for the Robert Downey Jr. star vehicle raise questions about the current 3D craze in Hollywood, one which has led to the awkward, last-minute conversion of films such as “Clash of the Titans,” from 2D into 3D, as well as virtually every studio searching through its vaults for films to “re-master” in 3D.
3D is already a mainstream filmmaking tool, says David Wertheimer, executive director of the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California. “There is no major film going into production today that doesn't have people asking whether it should be in 3D or not,” he writes in an e-mail.
“It is a revolution, like color or sound, but the analogy is not perfect. 3D will not reach 100 percent penetration like those technologies did. Just about any film could be better with 3D, but for a lot of reasons, it will be a long time before even a majority of them are offered in 3D, much less all of them.”
As revenues from 3D films rise, there is a great temptation to see the technology as the salvation of the industry, says Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com Box Office. Recent numbers are indeed impressive, he points out, noting that through this past weekend, four 3D films have generated 25 percent of this year’s domestic box office – some $850 million. But, he cautions, “bad 3D, like bad movies, can kill the industry at any time.” Only five years ago, the industry was languishing with attendance at its lowest in decades for a simple reason – Hollywood simply wasn’t turning out films audiences wanted to see, he adds.