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Rocketta
Apr 24th, 2006, 06:11 PM
"Titanic" director: digital cinema will save biz

By Sheigh CrabtreeMon Apr 24, 6:23 AM ET



"Titanic" director James Cameron, warning that Hollywood is "in a fight for survival," wants the movie industry to offer films in digital 3-D to counteract declining sales and rampant piracy.

"Maybe we just need to fight back harder, come out blazing, not wither away and die," Cameron said during his keynote address Sunday at the National Association of Broadcasters' Digital Cinema Summit.

"D-cinema can do it, for a number of reasons, but because d-cinema is an enabling technology for 3-D. Digital 3-D is a revolutionary form of showmanship that is within our grasp. It can get people off their butts and away from their portable devices and get people back in the theaters where they belong."

Cameron also took the occasion of the world's largest annual film and broadcast technology trade show at the Las Vegas Convention Center to fire a few shots across the bow of the controversial practice of simultaneous movie and video releasing being promoted by entrepreneur Mark Cuban and "Bubble" director Steven Soderbergh, among others.

"We're so scared of piracy right now that we're ready to pimp out our mothers," Cameron said. "This whole day-and-date DVD release nonsense? Here's an answer: (Digital cinema is) one of the strongest reasons I've been pushing 3-D for the past few years because it offers a powerful experience which you can only have in the movie theater."

The director of the highest-grossing film of all time in nominal terms at $1.8 billion worldwide said he is considering a rerelease of 1997's "Titanic" in digital 3-D just as Peter Jackson is planning at some point for "King Kong" and, possibly, his "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. George Lucas also plans to rerelease his original "Star Wars" in 3-D timed to the space opera's 30th anniversary next year.

With filmmakers and exhibitors united behind the idea of enhanced cinema experiences, Cameron predicted that studios would become even more focused on both releasing new titles and rereleasing classics in 3-D digital cinema.

"We will reach a point in a few years when every major studio will ask how many of its four or five annual tentpoles should be in 3-D," Cameron said. "It will become almost a rule that all major 3-D animated releases will be made available in 3-D.

"Every year there will be a copy of timeless favorites brought back through (3-D) dimensionalization," he said. "The new wave of 3-D films will be the must-see films, the major releases from major filmmakers."

Cameron said that despite industrywide squabbling and fear-based decision-making associated with new technology, and even despite the fact that the major studios haven't cooperated in the past, the digital cinema rollout actually is happening.

"We're halfway through the looking glass," he said. "We're past the point where the fear of change is outweighed by the fear of not changing."

While most people associate 3-D with either animation or projection, Cameron said that there are a variety of stereographic processes that can be introduced while shooting, during postproduction, or after a movie has been archived.

Among the films testing the various 3-D waters are "Narnia" producer Walden Media and New Line Cinema's "Journey to the Center of the Earth," which is being shot live-action with stereographic cameras; Robert Zemeckis' "Beowulf," which is employing 3-D-animated performance capture; and Walt Disney Feature Animation's computer-animated "Meet the Robinsons," which will be projected in 3-D.

The filmmaker said his interest in digital 3-D goes back to his love of movies and his love of making them for the big screen. "I'm not going to make movies for people to watch on their cell phones. To me, I'd rather go back to doing some more deep-ocean expeditions," Cameron said, referring to the handful of maritime documentaries he has made since "Titanic." "I don't want that grand, visionary, transporting movie experience made for the big screen to become a thing of the past."

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

Rocketta
Apr 24th, 2006, 06:13 PM
He's definitely right that the movie industry needs to investigate new technology to make their product more interesting compared to watching it at home.

controlfreak
Apr 24th, 2006, 08:57 PM
Interesting. 3D cinema has never been that popular, dating back to the 70s and Jaws 3D, which now has a large cheese factor, to modern IMAX films which, though undeniably spectacular, have never sold as many tickets as traditional cinemas. Personally I don't think that 3D is going to be the big thing that saves the cinema industry, but they are on the right lines in terms of trying to find something which can only be offered in theatres.

Perhaps they could have a "cinema cut" of a film, which contains say 15-20% more and better scenes than the TV/DVD version (at least for the first few years of a film's life, then the full version could come to TV/DVD). This would piss off the DVD market no end but might get more people back into theatres. (It would work on me.) DVDs are a huge economic asset to film studios but also the greatest source of piracy. Maybe they need to risk sacrificing some of that market to stay in business.

Rocketta
Apr 24th, 2006, 10:17 PM
I think 3-D has never worked in the past because of the awefulness of the glasses and the fact that you really can't see much 3-D...:shrug: now if they were to come up with a new way of projecting the 3-D where you didn't have to wear any contraption to see it and you always feel like your in the movie a little bit....I think that would be a huge success. However, you're right they have to do something or follow the fate of the music industry. :(