Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton said the thirst for 3D movies may “temper down” internationally but predicted that while it may “level out to a place, it is not going to go away.”
In a wide-ranging conversation with attorney Bruce Ramer at USC’s annual Institute on Entertainment Law and Business on Saturday, Lynton reaffirmed the studio’s commitment to 3D despite some softening at the domestic box office.
“The fad element will die down, but I think some of the things that have been frustrating to the 3D experience here are being dealt with, and a lot of that innovation is happening outside the United States, and obviously if it works it will be imported here,” said Lynton, citing the creation in Australia of specially designed glasses for kids — eliminating a frustration for parents.
“If you had shown, for example, someone back in the 1950s an edit where there is a woman crying and there is an image of a gravesite, they would not have understood what we as a modern audience understood, which is that the woman is grieving over someone who has died,” he noted.
“I think 3D has come along at a moment, and it is not an accident, when we as an audience and a culture can read 3D. We understand how to interpret that visually. And that is very, very important. It means that it is not a fad. Does it mean it is for everything?
No, probably not. Probably at the outset it is for exactly what we have seen it in.”
He said the greater returns for 3D internationally are probably because of the growth of digital screens in such territories as South Korea, Russia and India.
The institute was sponsored by USC’s Gould School of Law and the Beverly Hills Bar Assn.
Last year, Lynton caused a stir when, while on a panel in New York, he said rather glibly, “I’m a guy who sees nothing good having come from the Internet. Period.” He quickly wrote an essay on the Huffington Post called “Guardrails for the Internet: Preserving Creativity Online,” in which he explained his remarks.
At USC’s event, he explained that, at the time, he had been frustrated after learning a major Sony release was being pirated on the Internet — and that his 14-year-old daughter was working on a school report but getting all of her information from Wikipedia.
“We need rules of the road,” Lynton said. “Absent those rules, what we see is all of our content is in jeopardy of being stolen.”He said he had been talking with the heads of major universities to persuade them of a plan in which students risk being taken off the university system the third time they are caught downloading pirated movies. “My hope would be that they would wind up on the couch at home and their parents would say, ‘What happened? We paid all that tuition?’
And they would go, ‘Oh, I stole a movie,’ and that is a quick way of delivering the message to that neighborhood that is not such a good idea.”
“I think we need these kinds of rules, otherwise we are going to wake up one day and quickly discover we don’t have a business anymore.”