Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hollywood and 3D

When I was at Pixar, we started the trend towards Computer Graphics generated movies via the world's first 3D-CG animated movie 'Toy Story'. Now, 3D-CG is the lingua franca for all animated movies (save for a few like Coraline which is stop-mo)

This time, Jeffery Katzenberg wants to start a new trend in 3D  - 'real' 3D via 3D glasses

To quote from the article in Hollywood Reporter:

150 million 3D glasses are being given away in the US so TV viewers can watch a 90-second commercial for the new 3D animated feature Monsters Vs. Aliens during the Super Bowl game Feb. 1.
The cost of the stunt is somewhere in the "tens of millions of dollars" said DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg.

In fact, last year when I attended IBC , Katzenberg gave his keynote by beaming in through a crystal-clear live 3D transmission from Los Angeles (yes, the fish in the pond behind him looked as if they could swim into the room). Katzenberg thinks that 3D glasses will be the next fashion statement - with glasses converting from sun glasses to '3D' glasses as you enter the theatre. The technology has come to point where nobody in the audience hurled. They applauded. So perhaps he is on to something.
Pixar/Disney is also releasing a 3D movie this summer called UP, as is Jim Cameron with Avatar.

Hollywood is definitely watching and waiting. With recent movie goers prefering to stay home and stream movies into their home theatre systems (as witnessed by Netflix's recent earnings), will this technology prove to be a lure to get audiences back in the theatres (the highest money raking operation for hollywood)? Will TV manufacturers incorporate technology for 3D viewing within the home theatre?
Of course the high level question is: will audiences want to watch 3D movies? Wait and see...

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