DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg thinks post-conversions could kill 3D

Jeffrey-KatzenbergImage Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage.comThe issue of 3D is being debated all over Hollywood in this post-Avatar world, where it seems every-other movie being released boasts a third dimension. In a lengthy interview with Variety, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg says that decisions being made in the next 30-60 days will determine the future of the platform. In short, Katzenberg says 3D just for the sake of 3D is not a good decision, because “all 3D is not created equal.” In that regard, the DreamWorks exec had some strong words for the 2D-to-3D conversation of Warner Bros.’ Clash of the Titans. “We’ve seen the highest end of [3D] in Avatar and you have now witnessed the lowest end of it [in Titans],” he says. (Warner Bros. said it is not commenting on Katzenberg’s statements at this time.)

Katzenberg goes on to say that there currently is no technology that can make a first-rate 3D offering out of a conversion, and he warns that if a number of low-quality converted 3D movies hit theaters, the moviegoing public will eventually be turned off by terrible 3D experiences — especially given the higher ticket prices. “We are asking the moviegoers to pay a 50 percent premium to come see these films,” he says. “So I think [there will be a] backlash. It will be a whiplash. They will walk away from this so fast.”

What’s your take? Is all 3D created equal, or would you prefer it not exist at all? Do you ever see yourself converting your personal library into 3D? How long will it be before the “bad egg” trapdoor opens and the use of 3D in film goes down the Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory garbage chute?


Comments (39 total) Add your comment
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  • Michelle

    I HATE 3D. Every time I see a 3D film I wind up with a massive headache. It’s just not worth the extra money and aggravation. What is WRONG with good, old fashioned 2D?

    • Jay

      uhm… its missing that 3rd dimesion. In other words…. flat

      While not necessary for a generic comedy or chick-flick, it can greatly enhance an action or sci-fi film.

      • BlackIrish4094

        Not to me.

      • terry

        Yeah, cause god knows 2001, Jaws, Alien, Close encounters, ET, Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, T2 etc. just weren’t very good films. They would have been really great if they’s been done in 3D.

  • Laura

    Mr. Katzenberg sure likes throwing the blame on a rival studio’s sub-par 2D to 3D conversion, and yet I would argue that his own film, How To Train Your Dragon, had a similar underwhelming 2D to 3D conversion. Seriously, I don’t think 3D added anything to that film except a higher ticket price, which is exactly what Katzenberg wanted. I mean seriously, you have a “3D” movie about flying dragons, and said dragons never fly out of the screen?? Even just a little?
    Personally, I think this whole 3D trend is just a giant scam to charge the public more money. Unless objects are going to specifically be flying out of the screen, then 3D doesn’t add anything but heavy glasses on your face, darker colors in the film, and an expensive movie ticket. Don’t believe the hype.

    • Dan S

      I guess we didn’t watch the same “How to Train Your Dragon” in 3D, because what I saw was incredible use of the tech. Remember the flying scenes, when it felt as if you were “whoosh”ing through caves and over beautiful beaches right along with the dragons? Tell me that would have been as magical in two directions.

      Further, your comment that dragons should have been “flying out of” the screen harkens back to the worst era of 3D, in the 80s, when the focus was all on stuff coming out at you (an effect which looks hokey in the theater and TERRIBLE in later 2D versions). The new 3D movement has simply used the technology to create depth, which enhances the reality of the image. This is much preferable.

      Finally, while I agree that 3D conversions are generally bad compared to the real thing, they seem to work much better for computer animated films like Dragon than for live action stuff like Alice and Clash.

      • Dan S

        *dimensions (typo)

      • James The Greatest

        I agree with everything Dan S. said. Alice In Wonderland felt like a pop-up book, not a 3D movie. Conversions are dreadful (but work much better in animated films).

    • Jason C

      Laura, you’re missing what Katzenberg was talking about. How to Train Your Dragon wasn’t converted to 3-D, it was made in 3-D like Avatar. What he’s referring to are movies that are filmed in 2-D and then converted later into 3-D by studios in order to make more money on the product, more as an afterthought than because that was the original intention of the filmmakers.

      • Laura

        You’re right, Jason – I could have sworn that Dragon was converted to 3D after Avatar, but after doing some digging, apparently it was always a 3D film.
        However, I still stand by my statement that 3D is overrated and Dragon would have been a perfectly fine movie without it. For example, I saw Up in 3D last summer. Then I saw it in 2D recently on a giant plasma TV. I noticed NO difference in the film. That’s what I’m talking about. This whole notion that it adds depth doesn’t really do anything for me but make the colors on the screen darker. And I’m not the only one. I know lots of people who don’t think these “depth” 3D films really add anything to the film. Even Avatar in 3D didn’t really do anything for me – I thought the movie was prettier when I took the glasses off, because the colors were brighter and the non-3D parts of the picture was clearer.

    • Matthew Thomas

      Laura,
      I can’t change your opinion but i completely disagree with you. Dragons in 3D was just incredible. There was so much of depth and beauty in the images. And scenes like the first time Hiccup flies couldn’t have achieved the same level of wonder, joy and amazement in 2D. Clash on the other hand was simply terrible.

  • BlackIrish4094

    I wish it didn’t exist at all or at mnost as a one off event here or there. I am waiting until DVD / Blu-ray releases to see movies because every freakin movie is coming out in 3-D (Step Up 3, new Resident Evil, new Bond,what next Sex and the City II, Manolos in 3-D??), it’s too expensive to see (has turned a night at the movies to a $100 experience in NY), gives me a headache and often is not released in 2-D or at unattractive showtimes to herd people to the pricier shows. Ridiculous.

  • Jeanine

    I really hope that post-production 3D is phased out. While I enjoyed Avatar and Alice in Wonderland in 3D, being suckered into watching Clash of the Titans in 3D very nearly turned me off to 3D movies all together, just as the article says. I hadn’t known that Titans was made 3D in post-production until after I saw it. I promptly told all of my friends how much it sucked, and one told me it was no wonder, due to the post-production rendering. I made a decision that night that I would no longer go to see a 3D movie until I have researched whether it was originally filmed in 3D or not. I also hope that all new movies do not turn into 3D films, because I will definitely not be going to see as many movies as I currently do. There’s nothing wrong with 2D =)

    • Dums

      Alice in Wonderland was also converted to 3D in post-production, like Titans.

  • Burgess

    I hope the trend stops. I find most 3D annoying and distracting. 3D serves a purpose if you don’t have a great script, then the distraction becomes the movie. Otherwise, 3D is only good in some animated movies, not for regular dramatic movies. I’d hate to see everything redone in 3D.

  • Brian

    While 3D has never given me the headaches and nausea many people seem to experience, I do think it’s a gimmick that will hopefully go away, soon (at least until true 3D holographic movies come along). The technology, however, will make for some amazing gaming experiences when 3D TVs come down in price.

  • Kyle

    @Laura I think Katzenberg is saying that Titans was very bad (3-D version) because it was bad and was rushed!! If there are more bad movies in 3-D like Titans then people wont see 3-D movies!!!

  • chalky

    3-D for the sake of 3-D is a terrible idea. If a movie is filmed with 3-D in mind, it can be terrific visually, but a movie that’s converted post-filming isn’t because there isn’t going to be any fancy camera-work involved to really make it pop. Not everything needs to be in 3-D either.

  • Jason

    I’m on the 2D bandwagon as well. First, the 3D doesn’t work well for my wife, so she automatically doesn’t like it. For me, I just don’t see the point most of the time. Yes, Avatar was cool, as were Beowulf and A Christmas Carol, but some of the other films that were later turned to 3D just weren’t worth the hype or the money. I agree with the poster who said that if things aren’t coming off the screen (like they do in the Disney World 3D films), there’s just no point. We don’t need “depth.” When I want depth, I’ll go to live theater.

  • Brett

    Avatar in 3-D was the best film of the year in 2009. I agree that action films which are filmed “natively” in 3-D are a wonderful, new experience. Movies which are converted to 3-D in post-production are ok but not as good. I enjoyed How to Train Your Dragon in 3-D, as did my 4-year-old daughter. It’s worth the price for the extra dimension. I hope that the technology keeps improving, as I hear they’re bringing classics like Star Wars to 3-D, and it’d be a tragedy if it weren’t converted well.

  • Cerveza Sam

    I’m decidedly against 3D.
    I like to be able to “see” a film. A lot of blurry images moving about that my mind doesn’t have the time to process really ruins a film. I had to go back and “re-watch” one of the recent Harry Potter movies after it came out on DVD, because the 3D IMAX experience ruined some of the most climatic scenes of the film.

  • JosieG

    I’m not a fan of 3-D either. Mostly because of the massive headache it causes me to have. I love the look of it for the 1st few minutes, but it’s a nightmare for me after that.

  • Diana

    The one 3D movie I went to (Up) gave me a massive headache and also made me nauseous. Unless the technology changes to eliminate these side effects, I will be skipping the 3D movies.

    I, too, would assert that good plot and acting are much more important than special effects any day.

    • toonaspie

      Up’s the only 3D I’ve seen so far and I didnt anything about that film all that 3D worthy.

      Considering it’s supposed to be an emotionally film, I would find wearing 3D glasses to a film that’s supposed to make you cry in the first five minutes VERY awkward.

  • Beth

    I can’t stand 3D. The glasses never fit right over my own glasses and most of it is done very badly. I made an exception for Avatar, because it was designed for high quality 3D from the beginning, and Coraline, which also did it right. Most 3D looks like garbage, though, and having to pay extra for it is just adding insult to injury.

  • BrandonK

    I absolutely agree with Katzenberg. “Clash of the Titans” in converted 3D was pretty bad…it gave me a headache and didn’t look good. I won’t see another converted 3D film.

    • BrandonK

      I guess I should point out that I love 3D when it’s done right, as in “Avatar” and “Coraline” and “Up”, etc. I just feel the movie needs to be filmed in 3D, not converted to it.

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