'Lion King' success: Should Hollywood fall back in love with 3D?
Two big weekends for 'The Lion King 3D' and suddenly Hollywood is abuzz with talk of 3D conversions. But is the format the reason for the success of the returning modern classic?
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Audiences are tired of paying the extra ticket charge for so-called blockbusters pumped up with often dim, poorly-projected 3D, says Seton Hall University film professor Christopher Sharrett.Skip to next paragraph
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Ticket sales for the latest 3D installments of “Harry Potter” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” were far weaker than expected; the 2D editions did better, he points out, adding that sales of 3D televisions have hardly produced the windfall that the electronics industry expected.
The 3D format has often been used to boost poor, uninspired movies, he says, adding, “3D might be put back on the shelf for another 20 years, until its gimmick value seems fresh again.”
But Ms. Straetker says she would pay the extra charge to see “The Lion King” in 3D, “because I do think it would be a unique experience,” nonetheless, adding, “I think there is more to this success than just the 3D aspect of it. I think that there is a market for good, classic, family-friendly films.”
In today’s crowded marketplace, even beloved classics need every ounce of help they can get to break through, says Rob Hummel, president of Legend3D, a leading 3D conversion company based in San Diego which has done 2D-to-3D conversion work on “Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon,” “The Smurfs,” “Green Lantern,” “Alice in Wonderland,” all the “Shrek” films and are currently working on a 3D theatrical release of “Top Gun.”
He notes that a re-release 15 years ago of “Mary Poppins,” “a personal favorite,” quietly died at the box office, because there was nothing special to draw attention to it. He acknowledges there have been dismal failures, both in the conversion process as well as new films. But, he adds, “when the conversion is done right, the films can really sparkle.”
He says it is extremely helpful to work alongside the original filmmakers, as is being done with such modern classics as the “Star Wars” franchise as well as James Cameron’s “Titanic.”
The director himself is overseeing the conversion, which will consume a year at a cost of some $18 million. Lest anyone doubt the painstaking nature of the work, Mr. Cameron was quoted as saying the process is akin to “mowing the lawn with a nail clipper.”
IN PICTURES: The Lion King franchise