Hollywood’s 3-D kick hits a bump

While movies change titles all the time -- Will Smith's “Hancock” used to be called "Tonight, He Comes" -- rarely does a name switch hint at a looming crisis for the film business at large. But that's exactly what's behind the changed title of "Journey to the Center of the Earth."

When the Brendan Fraser adventure film, which opens Friday, was first shown to theater owners at their annual ShoWest convention in March, the movie was called "Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D." The film's producers were confident back then that there could be as many as 1,400 North American theaters equipped to show "Journey" in its intended 3-D format by the film's premiere, so that the film's startling sea creatures (among other eye-popping effects) really would jump out of the water.

But as July approached, theater owners were converting their auditoriums to 3-D at a much slower pace than "Journey's" makers anticipated, meaning there would be only about 800 domestic theaters ready to show the film in 3-D. Warner Bros. (which recently absorbed "Journey" maker New Line Cinema) was forced not only to shorten the film's title by eliminating "3D," but also had to tweak its advertising campaign to make clear that many theaters -- about 2,000, in fact -- would be showing the movie in the traditional two-dimensional format.

(LA Times)

Digital Cinema, Hollywood

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