Top 10 Film Industry Stories of 2010: #8

Simply Putting 3D in the Title Isn't Enough

By David Mumpower

January 27, 2011

It was this picture or a piranha eating some dude's...well, you know. I think we chose correctly.

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Two years ago in this forum, I mentioned that with the impending onslaught of RealD releases, a saturation point would be reached sooner than later. I am not one of those doomsday types who spent the body of 2010 shouting “DEAD FORMAT! DEAD FORMAT!” In point of fact, I picked fights with those people more often than I should have. The reason why is simple. With the sheer volume of money being directed to the production of 3D televisions, Blu-Ray players and other accompanying electronics devices, the reality is that this phenomenon is an object in motion that will stay in motion for an indefinite period. This is the shiny new toy of moviemaking; as such, it won’t be going away for a while. Then again, just because consumers have a shiny new toy does not mean that they will play with it. Several 3D releases in 2010 emphatically demonstrated this.

Let’s work backward in this discussion and focus upon the effect before taking up the issue of causality. All of these films have something in common: Piranha 3D, Saw 3D, Step Up 3D, Alpha and Omega, Legend of the Guardians: The Owns of Ga’Hoole, My Soul to Take, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and Gulliver’s Travels. You are probably thinking to yourself that these are all movies and judging by the “3D” in some of the titles, 3D ones at that. What almost certainly has you confused is the presence of Alpha and Omega, which may or may not be a real thing.


To your and my surprise (okay, only yours…I’ve seen this movie), Alpha and Omega not only exists but was a 2010 3D release. That’s right. People paid extra per ticket in order to watch this movie of animated wolf mating. Therein lies the problem. Someone somewhere made the determination that what people will pay to watch is a three dimensional representation of the mating habits of wolves. I’m guessing that person is a lifetime subscriber to National Geographic and that said person has had quite the streak of failed relationships that ended with him being called “sick” and/or “a pervert”. Also, that person probably made a lot more money than you did last year. Stuff like this is why so many of us turn to heavy drinking. But I digress.

The purpose of the above is to reinforce the lemming mentality that too frequently drives the industry. If a movie about dinosaurs and one nut-chasing saber-toothed squirrel can make money, derivations of this concept such as the above start to make sense. People convince themselves that while the concept of tribal wolves falling in love sounds silly on each and every level possible, they are the ones to make this into a winning project. And yes, it sounds crazy, even to them. Since William Goldman gave the body of Hollywood a Get Out of Jail free card with the mantra, “Nobody knows anything”, however, everyone decides that the wolf mating concept is worth a shot. Then, they try to tell themselves that Justin Long is just the star they need to do the voice. It sounds so completely crazy right up until we realize that a movie about a nerd Viking earned half a billion dollars last year, meaning that the people who did the nerd wolf movie weren’t that far off the mark. Okay, yes they were, but you catch my drift.

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