Academy Award’s 2009 Movie Preview

sherlock holmes oscars

During the credits of the 81st Academy Awards, video clips were shown for many of the films that will hit theaters in 2009. You might have turned off the television after Slumdog Millionaire won Best Picture and missed everything. Or maybe you just want to see the awesome Terminator Salvation footage or the first look at Public Enemiess again. If so, don’t worry, we have the whole 3-minute clip embedded after the jump.

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Monsters vs. Aliens 3D Super Bowl Ad

Despite having searched a couple different supermarkets, I was never able to get my hands on a pair of the free 3D glasses for the Monsters vs. Aliens 3D Super Bowl advertisement. But I’m sure many of you probably did, and might want to see the gimmick, i mean trailer again, in 3D. I’ve embedded the Monsters vs. Aliens 3D trailer after the jump thanks to Hulu. Enjoy.

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With more than a dozen digital 3D releases coming out this year (including James Cameron’s sure-to-be-megahit Avatar in December 2009), studios have a vested interest in making sure films can be viewed by the audience in the way they were intended. According to Variety, Paramount is now offering to pay “virtual” print fees directly to theater owners who convert at least 50% of their screens to digital, with a higher fee offered for screens converted to 3D. Jeffrey Katzenberg of Dreamworks Animation wants there to be more than 2,000 3D-enabled theater screens in the country when their Monsters vs. Aliens is released on March 27. Currently, there are only 1,250 digital screens (out of 5,620) that have 3D capability. Read More »

Last week I recieved a mysterious e-mail:

Happy New Year –


please keep a lookout for an exciting announcement crossing the AP Wire this
Sunday, January 4th concerning the new film, MONSTERS VS. ALIENS.
Ooze gonna’ save us in 2009?

I sent a inquiry out to my Twitter followers trying to figure out what the big announcement could be, but got no response. But today ComingSoon recieved a tip revealing all.

Apparently Monsters Vs. Aliens will be the first movie trailer in Superbowl (or maybe even television history?) to be broadcast in 3D. On February 1st, during the Superbowl, the 3D trailer will air. So where do you get the 3D glasses for this experiment? Well, as you might have heard, NBC is also airing a special 3D episode of Chuck later in the month (the trailer is likely to re-air in 3D at that time). Viewers will be instructed to pick up special glasses at any Sobe or Pepsi display at participating retailers to be able to watch the commercial and television show in 3D. I love the idea behind the concept, but the execution is pretty baffling.

Sadly, this is Anaglyphic 3D technology (aka Red eye/Blue eye)  which is 50 year old technology. I’ve heard Jeffrey Katzenberg speak about the dangers of the public’s perception of that old technology. His big pitch is that the new technology is far superior, and that the concept of Anaglyph is holding the 3D movement back. I’ve been a big supporter of DreamWorks Animation’s 3D workflow, and the technology, but this seems backwards, even to me. James Cameron has also been outspoken against studios using Anaglyphic technology for DVD releases.  So it seems strange that Katzenberg would use the old technology to promote the new technology. Almost sad.

Update: Apparently Anaglyphic 3D technology (aka Red eye/Blue eye) will not be employed for this stunt, even though red/blue glasses are shown in the television advertisements. The glasses will use Intel InTru 3D and ColorCode 3-D, and Katzenberg says it will be better than the old anaglphic technology but not anywhere close to that of today’s 3D digital cinema. But from what I understand, ColorCode 3-D is amber and blue lens, and is only a slight improvement on the old Anaglyphic technology.

photo credit tvbythenumbers

Monsters vs. Aliens Movie Trailer #2

Dreamworks Animation has released the second full movie trailer for their computer animated sci-fi comedy Monsters vs. Aliens. This trailer is a little bit sillier than the last one, focusing more on the wacky monster characters who, turn out to be our only hope against an alien invasion. Leave your comments below.

[flv:http://bitcast-a.bitgravity.com/slashfilm/trailers/monstersvsaliens2.flv 470 196]

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Variety reported this past week on some important goings-on in the world of 3D at the 3D Entertainment Summit in Century City. Apparently, 3D is the future of cinema (not surprising, given the summit’s title), but there were also some interesting statistics revealed:

  • Despite the growth in the number of 3D screens in America, they consistently generate twice the audience and three times the amount of revenue of 2D screens
  • The 3D screens playing Bolt, Meet the Robinsons, and Chicken Little outperformed their 2D counterparts by 2.5 to 1.
  • For Dreamworks Animation, the cost of making a film into 3D is an extra $15 million

One of the most significant quotes comes from Jeffrey Katzenberg of Dreamworks. According to Katzenberg, 3D is “a premium experience and has the consumer paying a premium price.” Katzenberg stated that Dreamworks will start charging $5 extra for their 3D films starting with Monsters vs. Aliens in 2009.

I’m quite ambivalent about this news. On the one hand, I understand that more work is required for 3D films, both from the producers of a film and from the theaters that must somehow project the images and have the infrastructure in place to distribute glasses, etc. On the other hand, I don’t feel like the quality of the 3D films I’ve seen recently (specifically Bolt and Beowulf which both would have cost me about $10-12), would have motivated me to fork over an extra $5 just to catch them in 3D.

Editors (Peter Sciretta) Note: In San Francisco, most theaters charge a $2.50 surcharge for 3D films, but I’m not sure if that is the case all around the country.

Discuss: Do guys think it’d be worth it?

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

New Monsters vs. Aliens Featurette

WiReD Magazine has a new featurette for DreamWorks Animation’s Monsters vs. Aliens, which takes a look at all the crazy characters that are included in the film. Near the end of the clip you can see some of the new innovations that Dreamworks is bringing to 3D animated filmmaking. For example, the camera rig that allows them to virtually control a camera inside the 3D space within the virtual world. I got to visit the Dreamworks campus in July and see much of this new technology first hand (you can read my report here). I’m a Pixar guy, and probably always will be – no sense in hiding it. But it seems to me that Dreamworks Animation is way ahead of the game in the 3D space, and Monsters vs. Aliens will be a game-changer when it comes to watching a movie in 3D. Watch the new featurette after the jump.
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Monsters vs. Aliens Movie Trailer

Update: A revised trailer is now officially back online.

Dreamworks Animation has released the official trailer for Monsters vs. Aliens I had an opportunity to see ten minutes of this film in 3D before Comic-Con, and while I’m not entirely sold on the characters, I will tell you that the 3D in this film is the best I’ve ever seen in a computer animated feature. It’s the first movie to be completely developed for 3D, instead of just converted to 3D in a post production process. Its something that needs to be experienced to be believed. Check out the trailer below, and tell me what you think in the comments.

[flv:http://bitcast-a.bitgravity.com/slashfilm/trailers/monstersvsalienstrailer.flv 470 200]

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How Dreamworks Animation is Innovating 3D

/Film was invited to the Dreamworks Animation campus to preview some footage from Monsters vs. Aliens, and take a tour of the company’s new 3D process (which is actually pretty incredible… more on that later). It all began when Dreamworks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg saw a screening of Robert Zemeckis’ Polar Express in IMAX 3D.

“I was so blown away by the presentation. I literally came scurrying back here and said, this is a game change,” Katzenberg told /Film and a small group of other online press. “The implications of this movie theater experience are something I have not seen or imagined in my 35 years of doing this and I think it is a huge opportunity and we need to get on it.”



Katzenberg explained that filmmaking has been through two great revolutions, the first being the transition from silent film to talkies, and the second being the transition from black and white to color. He insists that 3D is the next great revolution.

“The movie theater experience has not been innovated in any meaningful way in decades. Meanwhile, the home experience with the big flat screen tvs and surround sound, blu-ray and everything else has just become amazing. So one experience has stood still while the other has continued to rise up.”

Movie attendance continues to fall as the popularity of the home theater and on demand movie watching builds. This leads us to Katzenberg’s passionate plea to keep the movie theater experience alive.

“I love the movie theater experience. I think that it’s very special when a couple hundred people to share a experience. Everything is amplified – things are scarier. Things are funnier. Things are sadder. Everything in that shared experience is enhanced. And I would like that experience to stay around and to me this offers the first opportunity to innovate the theater experience in ways we can’t in our home for many years to come.”

He admits that 3D will eventually be possible in your home theater, but says its probably “10 years out”. And even then he likens it to “the difference between a live sport event and being in the arena and everything that it brings and how immersive it is vs. watching it on TV.”

“Samsung is making monitors right now that are 3D capable, so I don’t think that’s the challenge. It’s actually the viewing experience,” Katzenberg explaned. “There’s 2 things about 3D in order to really give the full Rolls Royce version of it. One is the size of the screen needs to hit your peripheral vision. If you think about it, if you have a 50” television set that means that you actually sit no further than 50” away from the TV. So that’s here. You don’t sit that close to your TV.” … “The second thing is that the more light, the more it diminishes the 3D experience and so I made a joke which is I walked around my house in terms of where I have a TV set and the only place I can go in my home in which I can have a 3D experience as good as what I can have in the movie theatre is in coat closet where I come into my….and I can’t fit a 50” TV in there, so it’s light actually kind of dissipates it a fair amount. You can do it in the home but it’s not going to be, again

So why now? What’s changed?

“These are polarized glasses as opposed to my father’s 3D: The blue and red anaglyph, which kind of disintegrated… forget the fact they were made of cardboard, beyond that they sort of disintegrate the color and the art of the film. They were really more for gimmick than a quality experience.”

Secondly the technology behind the projection of 3D films which allows for “absolute precision in doing the right eye left eye so that all of the imperfections and things that we all associate with the old 3D, in terms of what happens on the theater side, are corrected. And if you remember, with the old 3D, there were two projectors, and if you’re trying to line those things up, it is impossible to have precision in it. And those imperfections cause many of those things that people identify with motion blur, eye strain, nausea, those things.”

But the third thing Katzenberg touted was the new tools to create the technology. This is where Dreamworks Animation is taking 3D to the next level. Until now most 3D films have created in a post production process, something Katzenberg compares to the equivalent of a black and white movie being colorized.

“If you have seen a black and white movie that has been colorized, it is that big of a gap. Because a movie that was designed and shot in black and white, everything about it from the set dressing to the cinematography to directing the film, is very specifically designed to show shades of white to black and all of the colors and skews of gray in between it,” explained Katzenberg. “So literally a color would be picked for a piece of set dressing because it would translate to a color of gray. So to go in and literally colorize it, it doesn’t look right. That’s what happens when you post-produce a movie in 3D.”

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