But then you have these other movies, showing in the same theaters, that you watch with the same glasses, that look like s**t. It hasn't gone unnoticed: Clash of the Titans famously was released in 3D and Jeff Katzenberg, the guy pushing 3D heavily, said it looked so bad it was going to kill the format.
But the low point has to be The Last Airbender. Forget about the dialogue and acting for a moment--it had a 3D job so terrible that it looked significantly worse than any of the old-fashioned 2D movies it was being shown alongside. Everything was dark and muddy.
Or maybe we just don't know what genius looks like.
What's Going On?
What they're failing to tell you in the ad campaigns for these films is that not every 3D movie was actually shot in 3D. Most of them weren't, in fact. They were instead converted to 3D after the fact. Not only does it not give you anything like the illusion of depth that 3D is supposed to be used for, but it actually degrades the whole image.
The reason is technical: The 3D conversion darkens the image a lot as a function of the process. You lose light both when converting the film, and then from the glasses, meaning you essentially make a bright film overcast and render a dark film impossible to see. So if a film was dark to begin with, like The Last Airbender, turns into a murky mess.
Why would they do that? Because the converted 3D movies can charge the same ridiculously inflated ticket price as the real 3D movies. We're talking up to a 50 percent markup here.
Do the math: It only costs the studio $10 to $15 million to do this quick and dirty 3D conversion, yet it helps a mediocre movie like Clash of the Titans make $500 million worldwide. The jacked-up 3D ticket prices alone will earn that money back many times over.
So, the same rule applies here as it does everywhere: If it's making them rich, why ever change it?
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