Could 'Phantom Menace' Ruin Our Chance of Seeing 'Star Wars' in 3D?
It might seem like that headline is a bit of an oxymoron since The Phantom Menace has become part of the Star Wars canon for better or worse, but there's a chance that the 1999 prequel could end up ruining the chances of seeing the original trilogy in theaters in 3D. Back in March we learned that George Lucas' return to his sprawling space opera would return to theaters on February 10th, 2012 complete with the 3D treatment. While many of us have assumed that the rest of the films would follow suit, producer Rick McCallum recently had some words that call into question the certainty of seeing the complete saga in 3D.
Speaking with Czech Position (via Flickchart), McCallum says, "We're doing 3D versions of all six films, one a year, starting in February of next year. We start with [episode] one and go all the way through six, totally chronological. One a year, if they work. If they don't, then there will be just one [episode converted to 3D]." While that makes business sense, at least for Hollywood, it sounds pretty bogus to me on another level. First of all, Phantom Menace is widely regarded to be the worst movie in the entire series, and while it might be exciting to see that podrace in 3D next February, I don't think the audience heading to theaters for the prequel will be a flawless indicator of who will turn out for the original trilogy in theaters in years to come.
Second of all, consumers are getting tired of seeing movies in 3D already. A Deadline article analyzing the box office performance of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides points out that the high ticket prices and abundance of 3D screenings of the film actually hurt the film's box office (aside from the fact that the fourth installment in the series was quite boring). So if audiences are sick of seeing brand new films in 3D, how are they going to feel about seeing films available on Blu-Ray and DVD in 3D when ticket prices are so exorbitant? Combine that with the fact that Phantom Menace isn't really a fan favorite, and you may have some trouble getting bigger audiences into the theater to make releasing the rest of the films worthwhile.
Honestly, this is more of an argument about whether or not anyone cares about 3D re-releases, but with something as iconic and revered as Star Wars, there needs to be a better approach. Surely there will be plenty of hardcore fans returning to see the movies no matter what. In addition, people who were just kids when Phantom Menace came out in 1999 maybe have kids of their own, and they'll want them to have that experience. But if these fans don't turn out, we'll be stuck with what I consider to be the worst Star Wars film back in theaters in 3D, and that's it. Honestly, I wish they'd release them in the same order they first hit theaters, beginning with the original trilogy. Otherwise, suffice it to say, I've got a bad feeling about this.