Tuesday, April 03, 2007

3-D makes more cheddar

The makers of "Meet the Robinsons" are probably happy they embraced 3-D.

The Disney movie opened on 3,413 screens nationwide on March 30, taking in a total of $25.1 million. The overall screen average was a so-so $7,361. The weekend's top film, "Blades of Glory," took in $33 million and averaged a stronger $9,790.

But "Meet the Robinsons" outperformed the leader in one aspect. 581 of its screens projected the animated film in Disney Digital 3-D (or Disney's REAL D brand). Those took in an average of $12,220 over the weekend.

Looking at the figures in a different light, 13 percent of the screenings accounted for 28 percent of the movie’s box office.

That's news, according to Variety, which observed: “If only ‘Robinsons’ had been able to hit more 3-D screens, it likely would have been able to open with more moolah, but the technology is still being rolled out. (Manhattan was the only town in which the pic played exclusively in 3-D in all its bows.)”

But is 3-D still a novelty or a true market force? Keep in mind that 3-D movies charge more for admission. To see “Meet the Robinsons,” I paid $8.25 for a matinee screening at the Boardwalk. That’s not chicken change.

Disney's going to test 3-D’s draw again in October with a re-release of the 3-D version of "Tim Burton's A Nightmare Before Christmas." Its trailer was shown before "Meet the Robinsons" this weekend, and it looked quite good.

I personally didn't catch the first 3-D release of “Nightmare” during October 2006. Anyone? It made more than $9 million on just 187 screens, according to Variety.

Rereleases are fine and dandy, but I want to sample the sweets of newer eye candy. A new “Beowulf” gets a 3-D release, on 1,200 screens, in November.

If I could legally post a picture of my drool, I would.


3-D Revolution Productions said...

Wonderful news for all 3-D enthousiasts and 3-D film producers. Let's hope it creates a current that will carry an independent wave of 3-D movies as well, and not just the massive studio productions.

The weak use of 3-D in 'Robinsons' does bring up a very notable point about 3-D, though, which is that most people will not find it worth watching 3-D unless the 3-D is actively used. And with active use I mean in your face, thrill ride and gaping depth 3-D. As a 3-D producer, I am always looking for the balance of just how much of the off-screen and in-screen extremities need to be used to please a 3-D glasses-wearing audience. And personally, I found the balance in 'Robinsons' to be way off. I understand that studios want to show films in 3-D because of the financial imperative, but if they keep pumping out bland 3-D films the audience is going to not want to see 3-D films any more, if only because most people find donning the glasses quite a big hurdle. Patrons are fickle and the potential of 3-D releases must not be killed off by greedy studi oexecs who just hit the 3-D switch for the sake of squeezing an extra buck out of a movie. Oh dear, that's it then.

Check out http://www.the3drevolution.com/3dtheory.html for more theory on 3-D film making.

Greg Pearson said...

I caught Nightmare in 3D on Starz...just happen to have the glasses...it was interesting, though I'm betting more fun in a theater