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3d (#110 of 21)

Box Office Rap The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 and 3D’s Grey Area

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Box Office Rap: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 and 3D’s Grey Area

Lionsgate

Box Office Rap: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 and 3D’s Grey Area

When writing about the box-office prospects for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire two years ago, I commended the film’s producers for shucking a 3D conversion in favor of an exclusive 2D release and staying true to their original intentions by refusing to cash-in on of-the-moment trends. Big questions remain regarding 3D’s longevity, but less so for the immediate future. In 2014, 12 of the year’s 15 highest domestic grossing film’s benefited from a 3D release, with American Sniper, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, and 22 Jump Street being the only titles to make the ranks without it. This year has seen similar results.

Cannes Film Festival 2014: Goodbye to Language Review

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Cannes Film Festival 2014: <em>Goodbye to Language</em> Review
Cannes Film Festival 2014: <em>Goodbye to Language</em> Review

Densely allusive and at times sensorily abusive, with sudden blasts of amped-up sound effects and a playful stop-start montage aesthetic, Jean-Luc Godard’s cinematic cutup comes complete with full frontal nudity and, in what must be a first for the director, poop jokes. As a consequence, it’s a good bit funnier, as well as freer in its rapid-fire associations, than the more strident and structured Film Socialisme. What’s more, Goodbye to Language sees Godard make the leap to 3D with jaw-dropping results. There are effects here that will beggar the imagination of your run-of-the-mill multiplex 3D offering, with polyphonic layerings and juxtapositions and plain wonky freak-outs that work not only to showcase the versatility of the technology in the hands of a true cinematic craftsman, but also to supply a rough-and-ready template for a new way of looking at the world. For, as much as a cine-screed this stacked with referents can be said to be about any one thing in particular, Goodbye to Language seeks to stretch the creative parameters of vision (cinematic and otherwise) as such.

Box Office Rap The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and the No-3D Karma

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Box Office Rap: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and the No-3D Karma
Box Office Rap: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and the No-3D Karma

When a film is set to make the exorbitant amount of money that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire surely will this coming weekend, further lamenting the woes of global capital via cultural products will undoubtedly find little purchase among fans ready to see Katniss and Peeta unwillingly do battle yet again for (and against) the Capitol. Nevertheless, take note of Thelma Adams’s review, which details how “The Hunger Games has become a victim of its own success, co-opted by Hollywood, a rebel not without a cause, a money minter.” Adams’s attention to film-as-product engages a discussion of economics too often omitted from film reviews, especially when a film’s “call to arms” doubles as a “call to more ticket sales.”

This week, a more essential nerdist box-office question emerges: Can Catching Fire top the $207.4 million opening weekend of The Avengers without the support of 3D showings? And true to the spirit of this franchise, it’s only appropriate to evaluate the competitors in relation to this new, Francis Lawrence-directed entry. To recap, The Avengers opened on May 4, 2012 in 4,349 theaters (still the widest North American opening of all time) in IMAX 3D, regular 3D, and regular 2D, with a 40% 3D share, a number that helps to explain how the $169.2 million record previously held by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 could be so bracingly shattered. Earlier this year, Iron Man 3 took the second-highest opening with $174.1 million, with a similar 3D share as The Avengers. Much like Warner Bros. with The Dark Knight films, though, Lionsgate has elected not to dabble with 3D in hopes that the film’s quality will be all the pull needed to get audiences into theaters; it’s a decision that, while certainly forgoing the surcharge on each 3D ticket, retains a degree of integrity on the part of the studio, which isn’t trying to milk consumers for every last penny in their pockets.

On Trend Gravity, IMAX 3D, and the Burden of Front-Row Seating

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On Trend: Gravity, IMAX 3D, and the Burden of Front-Row Seating

Warner Bros.

On Trend: Gravity, IMAX 3D, and the Burden of Front-Row Seating

I made it to Gravity right on the button. Seeing the film on my own time (and dime), as opposed to catching a press screening, I ordered the tickets online and arrived precisely at the 7 p.m. start, at one of three Manhattan theaters that were showing the movie in IMAX 3D—on opening night. Which is to say, I was very, very late. Even before we entered the auditorium, my partner and I resigned ourselves to the fact that we’d be sitting separately. And, sure enough, after rounding the corner of the entryway, and seeing the jam-packed stadium seats, it was clear we wouldn’t be gripping the same armrest when Sandra Bullock hurtled into space like a boomerang. Any open, acceptable seats had coats and bags on them as place holders, or, in a few cases, the firm hand of someone who seemed to be eyeing me with a silent dare: “Touch this seat, and you’ll be wearing the nachos my husband’s buying right now.” I found my partner a half-decent seat in the third row, far right. But, eventually and inevitably, there was only one last option for me: the front row.

Box Office Rap The Wizard of Oz and the IMAX Cancer

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Box Office Rap: The Wizard of Oz and the IMAX Cancer
Box Office Rap: The Wizard of Oz and the IMAX Cancer

“The last time I checked, I owned the films that we’re in the process of colorizing…I can do whatever I want with them, and if they’re going to be shown on television, they’re going to be in color.” These are words spoken by media mogul Ted Turner in 1986, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, defending his decision to colorize classic black-and-white films for television airwaves, most famously Casablanca, leading Roger Ebert to call its colorized airing “one of the saddest days in the history of movies.” That sadness, Ebert claimed, comes from knowing that even the most beloved classics aren’t safe from “computerized graffiti gangs.” Well, this weekend, The Wizard of Oz boots Riddick from IMAX theaters, coming at viewers not only in the format’s scale-oriented excesses, but also in 3D. Thus, though we may still refer to the film as The Wizard of Oz, Warner Bros. is going with The Wizard of Oz: An IMAX 3D Experience. So, a question becomes pertinent: How is turning a 1939 Technicolor film into a 2013 IMAX 3D “experience” any different from Ted Turner colorizing Casablanca?