“This is not your grandfather’s 3-D,” is the message being hammered home by evangelists of digital 3-D.
But as the long-promised wave of next-gen 3-D features is about to hit theaters, studios and distribs face a problem: how to promote 3-D movies on 2-D TV.
So far, the answers look a lot like grandpa’s 3-D after all.
Advocates like DreamWorks Animation’s Jeffrey Katzenberg — eager to build and protect the nascent stereoscopic 3-D brand — proclaim it’s about immersiveness and subtlety, not gimmicky effects jumping out at auds.
But ads for Lionsgate’s 3-D shocker “My Bloody Valentine” feature so many images of flames and weapons flying off the screen they resemble something John Candy might have done on Second City TV, say “Dr. Tongue’s Evil 3-D House of Pickaxes.”
Evangelists also tubthump the digital 3-D systems that make the anaglyph paper red-and-blue glasses of old obsolete.
But DreamWorks Animation, NBC, Pepsico and the NFL are working on a massive 3-D promo to air during the Super Bowl: footage from DreamWorks’ upcoming 3-D toon “Monsters vs. Aliens,” a SoBe water commercial and an episode of “Chuck,” all broadcast in 3-D.
More than 100 million 3-D glasses will be given away, and those glasses will be… paper anaglyph.
But they’re not your grandfather’s anaglyph glasses, promises Katzenberg, who calls the new ColorCode lenses “a significant improvement.”
“It’s a new process that delivers a much crisper image and does not dilute the color out the way red and blue did.”
In fact, ColorCode glasses are being used on the 3-D homevideo release of “Fly Me to the Moon.”
Katzenberg points out that the Super Bowl is “the most valuable piece of real-estate that exists in television in the world,” and the NFL and its corporate partners, including Pepsi, are very protective of that real-estate. All those corporations vetted the 3-D promo carefully and had to be satisfied before they signed on.
Mark Waller, senior VP of marketing and sales for the NFL, which did a 3-D demonstration telecast of a game back in November, says the need to send so many millions of glasses to grocery and convenience stores meant the glasses needed to have paper frames.
“The Super Bowl audience is so huge. We wanted to make sure that there would be an ample supply of glasses for everyone who wanted to use them and we wouldn’t have disappointed people. I think that’s why you’re seeing paper glasses.”
Katzenberg didn’t have anything specific to say about Lionsgate’s “Bloody Valentine” ads, with their in-your-face depiction of 3-D, but notes, “The audience today is very smart and very informed. … They will, in my opinion, understand and recognize what it is they’re coming to see and what quality product they’re being offered.”
It would be a blow to DreamWorks if they didn’t.
Katzenberg’s toon shop hopes to charge an extra $5 per ticket for its 3-D releases. That would be tough if 3-D reacquired its old rep as a format for schlocky horror retreads.