Clash of the Titans will be coming to screens in 3-D on April 2, Warner Bros. has confirmed. The expected decision was supposed to come down last Friday after the executives screened the footage of their upcoming swords-and-sandals epic starring Sam Worthington. The studio will also release the majority of its 2010 higher-profile titles, specifically Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 (November), Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (July), and Guardians of Ga’Hoole (September) in 3-D too.
The question now is, how are they going to find the screens to make it work by the beginning of April? Not only does Clash, which is co-produced/co-financed by Legendary Pictures, open one weekend after DreamWorks Animation releases How to Train Your Dragon in 3-D on March 26, that film is coming only three weeks after Disney opens Alice in Wonderland 3-D on March 5. Adding to the pile-up is James Cameron’s Avatar, which, considering its week-after-week drop in the astounding 20% range, not to mention the 9 Academy Award nominations it just accrued, won’t be leaving 3-D screens any time soon.
Well for starters, exhibitors are installing 3-D technology at a breakneck pace, hoping to increase the number of 3-D screens from 3,000 to close to 4,000 by the end of March. Warners and Paramount are also willing to provide a print compatible with another technology, Technicolor’s 3-D for film solution, that allows exhibitors in smaller towns around the country to screen 3-D without having to install the expensive digital technology. Seen as something of a stop-gap solution until the theater chains can catch up to Hollywood’s output, Technicolor’s 3-D for Film allows theaters to install 3-D without converting their projectors to digital. No one believes the technology is as superior as the digital systems that screened Avatar. (In fact, sources tell EW.com that James Cameron refused to screen Avatar in the format after seeing a test-version of the product.)
But Technicolor’s solution does offer theaters a temporary substitute. Warners president of distribution Dan Fellman confirms that exhibitors are only looking at adding the technology to between 100-150 theaters. “You are not going to find that my major city presentations will be flooded with this type of technology. While we like it and think it’s good, we are committed to a digital solution,” says Fellman. The studios have yet to screen Dragon or Clash to exhibitors and until then we won’t know how the industry’s 4,000 3-D screens get divvied up among all the 3-D projects. Considering all the obstacles, it’s going to be quite a battle come March for 3-D. Can’t wait to see how the industry solves this one.
Photo credit: Jay Maidment