There’s nothing wrong with 3D movies that can’t be fixed if directors pay more attention to details in the productions, studios do more to promote them, and theaters offer them on additional screens. At least that’s the way RealD CFO Drew Skarupa described things in his appearance today at the MKM Partners Investor Day Conference. The 3D technology company has been in Wall Street’s dog house lately as the percentage of box office sales for 3D films has declined. The format accounts for about 33% of domestic sales for films that offer the option, down from 43% last year; elsewhere the take rate has fallen to 47% from 61%. Skarupa acknowledges that some 3D films don’t take full advantage of the extra dimension, usually because they’re converted to 3D after being shot in 2D. Although “conversions have gotten better and better,” they aren’t as good as films shot in 3D. For example Warner Bros’ upcoming Gravity is “a must-see in 3D. It’s a made-for 3D movie.” But persuading filmmakers to change will be “an evolution. It’s not going to happen overnight.” RealD is trying to help by advising some directors and “giving them ideas about the shot.” Meanwhile the company wants studios to step up their marketing — it has “come down a bit.” And theaters need to “increase those [3D] show times” especially on weekend evenings. RealD’s exit surveys found that about 25% of movie-goers love 3D, and an equal number dislike it. The remaining 50% “we call the swing vote, it’s heavily influenced by showtime and marketing…It’s important for us to focus on that 50%.”
Consumers aren’t going to buy many 3D TV sets unless they have more content to watch on them. The independent studio said at the International CES confab in Las Vegas today that it will help the cause by using Samsung’s image processing technology to create 3D home video versions of action films Gamer, Crank, and Bangkok Dangerous as well as horror film The Descent. Lionsgate says that it has “a number of additional theatrical titles in the pipeline for the next wave of conversions” starting with “library titles that have already demonstrated success on DVD, Blu-ray, [electronic sell through] and VOD platforms.” Lionsgate President of Worldwide Television and Digital Distribution Jim Packer says that consumers “have consistently demonstrated their willingness to pay for added value.” Samsung SVP Kyungshik Lee says that the partnership “will provide the best 3D viewing experiences to Samsung Smart TV consumers.”
This was a year of incremental change at the 2012 International CES. The most prominent products didn’t wow people with their novelty; they’re mostly bigger, better and Web-connected versions of familiar technologies. But consumers who love hot new gadgets, and have money to burn, will still be intrigued by some of the devices that manufacturers displayed. Here are a few of the stand-outs to watch for this year — at least until Apple announces some of its own new products. But remember: Consumer electronics makers are notorious for showing off products at CES that never actually make it to retail shelves, or take far longer to do so than companies envision:
DirecTV has become the first distributor to carry 3net, the joint venture TV network from Sony Corp., Discovery Communications and IMAX. The 24/7 3D TV network will launch on the satcaster on Sunday at 8 PM ET with the world premieres of original 3D programs China Revealed and Forgotten Planet as well as the 3D TV premiere of Into the Deep 3D. The network will roll out original 3D series and other new programming every night at 9 PM ET.
Here’s the game-changer: BSkyB is thinking about broadcasting the April 29th Royal Wedding in 3D. TV experts wonder if Prince Williams’ wedding to commoner Kate Middleton might be the technology boost that the Queen’s 1953 Coronation was when many England’ers bought their first TV sets to watch that royal spectacle. And it may be that people worldwide do the same thing for this wedding and 3D. Sales of 3D TV sets in the U.S. have been modest so far. (Screen Digest predicts there will be only 4.7 million 3D TV sets installed in the U.S. by the end of 2011.) If Sky does go ahead with 3D then it will feed those signals to its international news affiliates. But BBC Vision boss Jana Bennett sounds pretty unenthused about the prospect of the BBC filming in 3D though — “although I can see an archive argument,” she tells me.
The Beeb will definitely be filming next April’s wedding in high-definition. TV technology consultant Chris Forrester thinks that broadcasters will use the Royal Wedding to promote HD to those who haven’t yet upgraded to HDTV sets/receivers.
UK broadcasters will be hoping for record viewing figures in what could be the most watched TV event in history. A total of 28.4 million British viewers tuned in to watch Prince Charles marry Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. Over 750 million tuned in worldwide to see that wedding dress trail up the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral. Media outlets …
The 3D joint venture of Sony Corp., Discovery Communications and IMAX Corporation has announced the first slew of original series and acquisitions that will be part of its inaugural slate. It includes Sony’s 3D theatrical movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. The channel launches in 2011.
Abandoned Planet Explore the strangest places on earth – entire cities now completely devoid of all humanity. This series of one-hour programs sheds light on why people have abandoned the places they once called home and what happens after they leave. Produced by Flight 33 Productions.
Africa in 3D From Gannet Island and its 100,000 seabirds of the same name sharing one giant rock, the 60,000 flamingos at Kamfers Dam, the Luangwa River and its 30,000 hippos and much more, this series of one-hour programs captures the richness and diversity of the world’s second-largest continent. Produced by Aquavision Television Productions.
The full schedule will be announced today. But LeBron James will soon throw down a monster dunk in 3D when ESPN broadcasts the Miami Heat-New York Knicks game on December 17th from Madison Square Garden. The matchup will be one of 8 regular season games and 6 playoff matchups to be broadcast in 3D. ESPN has been ahead of the curve in terms of the technology: it screened the 2007 All-Star game in 3D in select cities at special events, and launched with World Cup soccer matches in June, and will air the 2011 BCS national championship game. But this adds a new high profile sport. DirecTV, Comcast, and AT&T all carry ESPN 3D, but Time Warner does not. So that puts the total amount of households receiving 3D at around 45 million. Of course, you need a 3D television set.
Burbank, Calif., September 7, 2010 — The Walt Disney Studios and Sony Electronics have joined forces in the United States to provide both consumer and retail education, promotion and marketing support for in-home 3D devices and content. The collaboration includes advertising and retail execution, as well as product bundling, including the Blu-ray 3D debut of one of 2010’s most successful films, Disney’s Alice in Wonderland.
Launching during the high-traffic holiday retail season, this innovative campaign, running nationwide in the U.S., incorporates 10 different Sony 3D BRAVIA HDTVs and includes one of the most successful 3D films in history, Disney’s Alice in Wonderland.
“We are excited to partner with Sony on 3D offerings and to offer consumers their first chance to experience one of 2010’s top 3D films and the amazing spectacle of Wonderland in their very own homes,” said Lori MacPherson, General Manager of Home Entertainment for The Walt Disney Studios. “We recognize Sony is a leader in HD hardware and we know movie lovers will enjoy the immersive content that is a part of Disney’s 3D titles.”
The marketing campaign features multiple consumer incentives as well as a comprehensive television, on-line, social media and print campaign. With the purchase of select Sony’s 3D BRAVIA HDTVs, consumers will have a choice between Alice in Wonderland or the family favorite Bolt on Blu-ray 3D.
In many markets outside of the U.S., Disney will also make available the Blu-ray 3D version of Alice in Wonderland and Bolt for select Sony 3D products. Details of the