James Cameron gives Hollywood 3D advice: try harder

Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:53pm EDT
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By John Gaudiosi

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - Since director James Cameron's "Avatar" raked in $2.8 billion at global box offices, Hollywood has flooded theaters with wave after wave of 3D movies, but some industry watchers wonder if theatergoers are now drowning in it.

While a few of this summer's 3D movies crossed the $1 billion global box office mark, there's been a backlash from the media and moviegoers over the poor quality of some 3D films that are converted into the medium instead of filmed in it.

Cameron believes Hollywood needs to make some changes to win back fans. He and partner Vince Pace have been busy working on their "Avatar" sequels and collaborating with filmmakers like Michael Bay ("Transformers") and Kevin Tancharoen ("Glee: The 3D Concert Movie") to help bring better 3D experiences to theaters. Those films have used the Fusion 3D camera system that Cameron and Pace designed for "Avatar."

Cameron talked to Reuters about the current and future 3D landscape, how some theater owners are hurting the 3D business, and why Hollywood may soon be offering movie-goers discounts for 2D movies, in this exclusive interview.

Q: Why the backlash after all the big 3D movies that have been released?

A: "I think the media has overplayed the so-called 'backlash.' If you look at total revenue, it's not an issue. There are more 3D movies than there have ever been before. So they're tending to divide the marketplace, but the total revenue for 3D has consistently grown since it started four or five years ago.

Q: What do you think Hollywood needs to do to get the public engaged in 3D movies from a creative perspective?

A: "This is a good moment for Hollywood to acknowledge that they have to try harder to maintain the idea that 3D is a premium experience. We can't take cheap routes to offer a 3D title in the marketplace. I'm not a big fan of 3D conversion because I think it produces what I call 2-and-a-half-D. It doesn't have the depth of native 3D that's actually been photographed in 3D. Post conversion tends to be a little harder on the eyes and not give you a good depth experience. The audience is reacting and they're saying, 'Wait a minute, I'm paying a premium price for a ticket and I'm not getting the added value that I wanted from 3D.'"   Continued...

<p>Film director and Lightstorm Entertainment Chairman James Cameron delivers a keynote address titled "Renaissance now in imagination and technology" in front of an image of his recent movie "Avatar" during the Seoul Digital Forum 2010 May 13, 2010. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak</p>