James Cameron is critical over the glut of inferior 3D films in the wake of Avatar. Few can argue over the success of Cameron’s epic blockbuster as it reaches nearly 3 billion dollars in world wide box office receipts. According to Boxofficemojo.com, Avatar is currently at $2.7 billion dollars and that’s not including the re-release containing an additional 9 minutes of footage scheduled to hit theaters on August 27th. Reported as the highest grossing movie of all time, Avatar has rekindled an interest in 3D (three-dimensional) or S3D (stereoscopic 3D) films, a technology that enhances the illusion of depth perception. The technology has actually been around in some form or another since the 1950’s, popularized by the films Man in the Dark from Columbia and House of Wax from Warner Bros. But expensive hardware and the processes necessary to create and project the 3D films and a standardized format made widespread distribution almost impossible. Yet the technology endured and was later resuscitated in the 1980s and 90s by IMAX theaters and Disney.
But not all is well in the land of Hollywood and 3D movies as James Cameron addresses what he believes to be a “knee-jerk reaction to seeing the gold rush happen and the studios just wanted to jump in on it”. With recent movies like Clash of the Titans and The Last Airbender riding on the coat tails of Avatar’s success, both shot in the traditional 2D format and later converted to 3D, Cameron and others have been critical of the technology used to convert them to 3D. He equates the conversion process to a “sausage grinder..with some kind of faux 3D or a 2 ½ D mess”. But back-lash over inferior films and criticism of producers rushing to meet demand might just be the beginning as ticket sales decline for the latest 3D films that are high on concept and low in story.
On the heels of Cameron’s very public scrutiny is news that he plans to make the conversion of his 1997 blockbuster Titanic to 3D and release it in theaters in 2012. He admits that the conversion process, purportedly better than companies he has publicly panned, will not be as good as the technology used in Avatar but will be a cinematic experience nonetheless that will continue to expand and develop as new techniques and technological innovations are explored.
Some wonder whether or not Cameron can have his 3D cake and eat it too, while others believe the proverbial bottom is poised to drop out of 3D mania as big screen manufacturers rush to deliver 3D televisions to home theaters everywhere.