×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Movies Like ‘The Martian,’ ‘The Walk’ Will Be Important for 3D, Says RealD Chief

“Jurassic World,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and other summer blockbusters are helping to rejuvenate 3D ticket sales, RealD’s Anthony Marcoly claims.

The 3D maker’s newly installed president of worldwide cinema believes that studios having figured out the formula for what makes a movie work in the format. He’s predicting that those rose tinted glasses are due for a revival after poorly received 3D offerings like 2010’s “Clash of the Titans” made the extra dimensionality look more like a cash grab than a bold new cinematic experience.

In truth, some of these gains can be traced back to “Gravity,” which recaptured the magic that audiences felt when they saw James Cameron’s “Avatar.” That goodwill translated into strong results for films like “Edge of Tomorrow” and “Godzilla” last summer, and the trend appear to be continuing with the current crop of tentpole releases.

Marcoly, who joined RealD in January after holding international distribution posts at Disney and Paramount, made his case to Variety recently for why he thinks 3D’s fortunes are on the rise.

What’s been your main priority since taking the reins at RealD?

From my perspective, it seemed like 3D fell off the radar. Nobody was talking about it, good or bad, any longer. It was old news.

But 3D is still here and alive and kicking and studios have learned some lessons. If you go back four or five years, 3D was seen as a savior for the business and everybody was converting movies into 3D, so they could get an upcharge. They couldn’t help themselves. There were some movies where the audience went was that 3D or not? There was just a bad vibe.

So what did studios learn from these mistakes?

They learned 3D is not for every movie. For movies that you need to immerse yourself in, and “Jurassic World” is a great example of this, it really works. “Mad Max: Fury Road” did great in 3D. “San Andreas” is doing very well. Action oriented movies on a conceptual level just lend themselves better to it.

One of the things I’ve trying to do is I’ve been going out and meeting with filmmakers. I’ve been asking them what do they want to do and how can we help you accomplish that goal?

Was any of the downturn in 3D related to the recession?

There could be a little of that. I still think that even three or four years ago, when the economy was worse, people were willing to pay the premium if they felt they were getting a premium experience. The problem was they didn’t see a difference. If you’re going to make a film in 3D, you’ve got to do it right.

Beyond the films themselves, what is being done to bolster ticket sales?

To do big business you need to actively and aggressively promote movies in 3D and you need to make sure you’re programming them correctly. We had four movies this summer that all opened with more than 40% of their ticket sales coming from 3D. We haven’t seen that in a long time. It was getting down in the high 20% range and the low 30s.

What do you mean by proper programming? Had they stopped showing films in 3D?

They were giving them showtimes, but 3D showings were the 1:00, the 2:00, the 3:00 show. We’d get the 5 p.m. show or the 11 p.m. show. Now we’re getting primetime slots. There’s more of a dialogue going back and forth and everybody is starting to trust one another again. They realize that if we give them great movies in 3D, they need to promote them and program then, and then we will all prosper.

It seems like the 3D movies this fall are very different than the kind of action movies you were talking about. Is that true?

Absolutely. As we move into the fall, you’re going to have “Everest,” which is a very different kind of action movie than the summer films. You have “The Walk” from Robert Zemeckis, who has always been a great 3D advocate. And you have “The Martian” from Ridley Scott, which has pieces of “Cast Away” and “Gravity.”

They’re not big action movies, but they’re using 3D to immerse viewers in the storytelling and to give filmmakers another tool. I’d liken it to what you saw with “Life of Pi.”

Are you finding that filmmakers are more willing to make movies in 3D?

I don’t know about that. All of the really prolific ones have used it. Scorsese has done one. I know Ridley Scott has talked about never doing another movie that’s not in 3D. But it’s a great storytelling method and more and more I’d like to see adult-oriented movies use it to bring in another segment of the audience who might not have seen a 3D movie before.

Some directors think it may be gimmicky. That it’s only used to make stuff jump out of the screen. But it’s not about the eye-popping stuff. The good filmmakers use it to draw you in and make their film more impactful.

More Film

  • Atlantics

    Netflix Snags Worldwide Rights to Cannes Winners 'Atlantics,' 'I Lost My Body'

    Mati Diop’s feature directorial debut “Atlantics” and Jérémy Clapin’s animated favorite “I Lost My Body” have both been acquired by Netflix following wins at Cannes Film Festival. “Atlantics” was awarded the grand prix while “I Lost My Body” was voted the best film at the independent International Critics Week. The deals are for worldwide rights [...]

  • Stan Lee, left, and Keya Morgan

    Stan Lee's Former Business Manager Arrested on Elder Abuse Charges

    Stan Lee’s former business manager, Keya Morgan, was arrested in Arizona Saturday morning on an outstanding warrant from the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD’s Mike Lopez confirmed that the arrest warrant was for the following charges: one count of false imprisonment – elder adult; three counts of grand theft from elder or dependent adult, [...]

  • Moby attends the LA premiere of

    Moby Apologizes to Natalie Portman Over Book Controversy

    Moby has issued an apology of sorts after writing in his recently published memoir “Then It Fell Apart” that he dated Natalie Portman when she was 20 — a claim the actress refuted. “As some time has passed I’ve realized that many of the criticisms leveled at me regarding my inclusion of Natalie in Then [...]

  • Bong Joon-ho reacts after winning the

    Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' Wins the Palme d'Or at Cannes

    CANNES — The 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival wrapped with jury president Alejandro González Iñárritu announcing the group’s unanimous decision to award the Palme d’Or to South Korean director Bong Joon-ho for his sly, politically charged “Parasite.” Following last year’s win for humanistic Japanese drama “Shoplifters,” the well-reviewed Asian thriller represents the yin [...]

  • Invisible Life Brazilian Cinema

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão'

    A “tropical melodrama” is how the marketing materials bill “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão.” If that sounds about the most high-camp subgenre ever devised, Karim Aïnouz’s ravishing period saga lives up to the description — high emotion articulated with utmost sincerity and heady stylistic excess, all in the perspiring environs of midcentury Rio de [...]

  • Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The 10 Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The Cannes Film Festival is too rich an event to truly have an “off” year, but by the end of the 72nd edition, it was more or less universally acknowledged that the festival had regained a full-on, holy-moutaintop-of-art luster that was a bit lacking the year before. It helps, of course, to have headline-making movies [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Soaring to $100 Million-Plus Memorial Day Weekend Debut

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” remake is on its way to a commendable Memorial Day weekend debut with an estimated $109 million over the four-day period. The musical fantasy starring Will Smith and Mena Massoud should uncover about $87 million in its first three days from 4,476 North American theaters after taking in $31 million on Friday. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content