Cameron: Titanic 3-D in 2012, Extended Avatar This Summer
If you kept your eyes on the box office the week before Alice in Wonderland hit theaters in IMAX 3-D, you saw Avatar take back the #1 box office spot the entire week leading up to Alice's release, not to mention that despite Disney's box office reign that weekend, nearby digital 3-D screens showing Avatar saw a decent increase in numbers, showing that there is still demand. So to counteract the money Fox might be losing, THR's Heat Vision reports that an extended cut of Avatar might head back to IMAX in late summer. In related news, Cameron says they're aiming for a 3-D theatrical re-release of Titanic sometime in 2012.
First, on Avatar's re-release, the main driving force seems to be money (obviously) as James Cameron told USA Today: "The word we’re getting back from exhibitors is we probably left a couple hundred million dollars on the table as a result." And Fox isn't going to let that much money go to waste, not when they have the highest grossing and most lucrative IMAX release ever at their fingertips with $127.1 million of its $712.5 million domestic haul coming from IMAX showings. Additionally, Avatar has done more than 80% of its domestic business in 3D theaters, which represented fewer than half of its runs. That's just crazy!
However, there is some artistic merit to the re-release considering the theatrical cut of Avatar was missing about 40 minutes of additional material that didn’t make the original cut, and Cameron said about 10-12 minutes of that footage could be quickly put through post-production and be ready to add to a director’s cut for a theatrical reissue or as an extra on the DVD release. Of course, around 10 minutes is all Cameron could add for an IMAX re-release considering the maximum length a movie that can be released in IMAX is 170 minutes and the current cut of Avatar comes in around 160 minutes. The summer re-release would follow the DVD premiere of Avatar in 2-D, which will happen as soon as next month and no later than May.
On the Titanic 3-D front, the hopeful re-release was brought up in the aforementioned interview with USA Today, where Cameron said the hope was to have the 3-D re-release of Titanic hit in the spring of 2012 in order to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the ship's doomed voyage. Cameron continues to criticize the mishandling of 3-D and how it's ruining the potential 3D has of making the moviegoing experience all the more magical. For example, he rags on all the studios converting nearly every last movie into 3-D:
"You know, everybody is an overnight expert. They think, 'what was the takeaway lessons from Avatar? Oh you should make more money with 3D.' They ignore the fact that we natively authored the film in 3-D, and decide that what we accomplished in several years of production could be done in an eight week (post-production 3-D) conversion with 'Clash of the Titans.' It's never going to be as good as if you shot it in 3-D, but think of it as sort of 2.8-D."
"If people put bad 3-D in the marketplace they're going to hold back or even threaten the emerging of 3-D. People will be confused by differences in quality. Because the audience doesn't know the difference -- when they put on the glasses on, they don't know if the problem is in the glasses, the TV or the actual way in which the stereo space is managed by the producers of the film."
Despite the fact that I agree with the mishandling of 3-D by studios, I'm not so sure audiences can actually tell the difference between a film shot natively in 3-D and a film that's converted in post-production. Still, I wholeheartedly agree with Cameron that converting older films to 3-D -- a la Titanic or the talks of the potential Star Wars 3-D conversions -- should be left to the original filmmakers when possible. "I think it should be driven by the artist. If Star Wars gets converted into 3-D I think George (Lucas) should do it. If Terminator gets converted into 3-D, I should do it." So what are you waiting for, James? Get on it! Check out the rest of the lengthy interview with Cameron about Avatar, 3-D technology and more at USA Today.