'Avatar' producer stresses story over format

Amid the buzz about 3-D as the future of cinema, there’s already some backlash, notably from critic Roger Ebert and L.A. Times blogger Patrick Goldstein, who’ve been skeptical about its creative potential.

Some in the 3-D community have worried that when an expensive 3-D release flops, as some inevitably will, the industry will sour on stereo.

“Avatar” producer Jon Landau says the key is not to count on 3-D to sell an otherwise weak picture.

“Technology does not have to live up to the hype; storytelling does,” he says. “If you do not make a good movie, you could be in black-and-white, you could be in mono, it does not matter. People are not going to go.”

Disney’s Mark Zoradi says there is a risk of overhype, but echoes Landau: “If a movie fails in 3-D, then it probably would have failed in 2-D as well. You would go back to the script and the overall story. If a movie fails in CGI, you wouldn’t say it should be done in 2-D.”

The bottom line, Landau says, is: “I think we are beyond the blame game as it relates to 3-D. History has proven to us at the recent box office that 3-D works and people are seeking out that experience.”

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