Turns Out Not Every Movie Needs to Be 3-D After All

Earlier this year, Warner Bros. made the rather bold announcement that the studio intended to present all of its future “tentpole” movies in 3-D. While some of these films would be native 3-D productions, a good number would be converted to 3-D in post-production. Shortly after this announcement, the studio’s ‘Clash of the Titans‘ remake premiered to widespread criticism about the quality of its 3-D conversion. Now, in another setback, Warner has announced that plans for a 3-D release of the next ‘Harry Potter’ sequel have been scrapped.

Keep in mind that the last couple of ‘Potter’ films, although not entirely in 3-D, played in IMAX 3-D theaters with selected scenes that switched from 2-D to 3-D.

According to the press release:

Warner Bros Pictures has made the decision to release “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1” in 2D, in both conventional and IMAX theaters, as we will not have a completed 3D version of the film within our release date window. Despite everyone’s best efforts, we were unable to convert the film in its entirety and meet the highest standards of quality. We do not want to disappoint fans who have long-anticipated the conclusion of this extraordinary journey, and to that end, we are releasing our film day-and-date on November 19, 2010 as planned. We, in alignment with our filmmakers, believe this is the best course to take in order to ensure that our audiences enjoy the consummate “Harry Potter” experience.

So, it sounds like a 3-D version of ‘Deathly Hallows, Part 1’ isn’t entirely out of the question – just that it couldn’t be completed in time for the November premiere. I expect that the film may be re-released in 3-D to tie in with ‘Part 2’ the following year, which I also expect to be in 3-D.

While I happen to like 3-D when it’s done well, I think that these 2-D to 3-D conversions are for the birds. If the studio wants to embrace 3-D, it should do so the right way by moving to native 3-D production. I intend to watch the ‘Harry Potter’ movies in 2-D, whether a 3-D version is available or not.

[via io9]


  1. that1guypictures

    I don’t mind conversions when they are done well. Beauty and the Beast, Alice in Wonderland and G-force were done well. Last Airbender and Clash of the Titans were atrocities.

  2. I agree. Alice In Wonderland was very well done. I also got some software on my computer that does a pretty decent job on quite a bit of 2D stuff. 2D to 3D conversions are just fine if they are done well.

    I am so happy that WB is NOT postponing Harry Potter yet again! It was already post-poned, what, a year, to avoid mixed publicity with that Broadway play that Daniel Radcliff was in.

  3. motorheadache

    This is good news for me, now I can see Harry Potter in IMAX or the Director’s Hall at my theater. I thought I might have to avoid those because they would likely be showing a 3D version. Looks like I’ll still have that problem with Part 2 though.

  4. What happens for films that are shot 3D Native, that are released on Bluray in 2D?
    Sure I have seen some, Mostly Animated stuff, But is there a “This 3d to 2d conversion stuff is crap” issue yet?

    • Josh Zyber

      Showing 3-D movie in 2-D doesn’t require the same type of “conversion.”

      The 3-D effect is achieved by photographing an image from two slightly different camera angles simultaneously, one for the right eye and one for the left eye. To watch the same picture in 2-D, all you have to do is turn off one of those angles. You’re looking at the exact same thing, but only from one angle, so the image appears 2-D. You’ll get the same effect by simply closing one eye.

      Converting a 2-D movie to 3-D is much more invasive. Because the image was only photographed from one angle originally, the other angle needed for 3-D has to be artificially extrapolated in a computer. The computer will take a look at the one existing shot, and then make a “best guess” analysis of what the image would look like if seen from slightly off to the side. Depending on the content of the image, the results can vary wildly in quality, even from shot-to-shot.

  5. Ahh, Didn’t think about that.
    I bet there will still be someone who says “The right eye perspective was the one they should have used, cause from that perspective you see just a little bit more of Megatron as he drives away….

    Thee is always “SOMEBODY” like that.

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