Is 3-D Following Up on Its Promise to Save the Movie Biz?

Premium prices for three-dimensional movies were responsible for helping movie theaters avoid a slump this summer, according to newly tabulated box-office stats.
up3dU.S. box-office revenues were up 4 percent this summer, to $4.3 billion from $4.13 billion in 2008. That was spread across a decreased number of total admissions, with 570 million tickets sold for a drop of 1.5 percent. What pushed this year’s revenues over the edge, though, according to the National Association of Theaters Owners, via The Hollywood Reporter tonight, is that some of those tickets were sold at premium prices for 3-D pics like Up and G-Force.
The association is giving 3-D the credit for the bump, even though there were only four 3-D movies this summer (those two plus Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and X Games: The Movie, with some additional 3-D footage in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince). Plus, there were only 1,500 to 1,700 functional 3-D screens this summer, and 3-D venues accounted for only about a third of each 3-D film’s showings.
Studio execs like DreamWorks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg have been cooking up hype for 3-D, though we think it’s wacky to presume that an additional dimension could make film industry finances healthy. Besides, many moviegoers, including myself, felt like 3-D was superfluously used in pictures like Up.
There will be 14 total 3-D titles released to theaters when 2009 is done, The Hollywood Reporter says. Meanwhile, technical improvements to 3-D are making it higher quality and more scalable, and promise to bring it into the home and dissociate it from the encumbrance of special glasses. Even YouTube, that most democratic video platforms, is experimenting with a stereoscopic player.

Vid-Biz: Take180, 3-D TVs, CEOs

Take180 has 9M Views Since Last Fall; Disney-owned studio formally launches with three participatory web series: My Date, I <3 Vampires, Electric Spoofaloo. (release)
3-D TVs Could Account for 10% of Global TV Sales by 2011; but only if industry agrees on autostereoscopic standard, according to Screen Digest. (release)

Digital Media CEOs Worth Less
; Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer lost $6 billion and Netflix’s Reed Hastings is the lone gainer on paidContent’s chart of how digital media CEOs’ holdings changed in 2008. (paidContent)

Reckitt-Benckiser to Shift $20M to Web from TV
; major advertiser had measured-media budget of $475 million last year, with less than $1 million on the web; now employing video ad networks to get cheap CPMs. (AdAge)
iWidgets Signs Revision3; will distribute Diggnation via Facebook application. (release)
ExtendMedia Names Tom MacIsaac CEO; was previously on startup’s board as partner at BlueRun Ventures, prior to that was CEO of AOL-acquired Lightningcast. (emailed release)

Entertainment Tonight Comes to the iPhone
; get your celebrity news on the go with application developed by Rhythm New Media. (emailed release)

CES Cheat Sheet: How to Argue that 3-D Sucks

nvidia_geforce_vision_3d_610x444With consumer electronics companies intent on making 3-D the belle of the ball at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, I thought the skeptics among you might benefit from some arguments and knowledge about the topic that goes beyond wide-eyed exclamations of delight at the idea of a 3-D SUPERBOWL AD!!!! When some sap brings up Bolt or Beowulf you can bust out with one, or all of these arguments, to make them realize what a tool they are. And, if you’ve already shelled out for your 3D-ready TV, then tell me why I’m wrong.

For those who want to argue on the technical merits, Charlie Demerjian over at The Inquirer does a nice job talking about the many ways one can implement 3-D, and why Nvidia’s choice of active glasses is wrong. A point he doesn’t address fully is that, for something to work in 3-D, a consumer has to have the original content filmed or created for 3-D and a compatible DVD player and screen. Figuring out what works together may not be easy for consumers to decipher, especially since the standards are still being set. Read More about CES Cheat Sheet: How to Argue that 3-D Sucks

James Cameron: The World Should Be Shot in 3-D

Written by Michael Stroud

3-D movies — from Jaws in 1983 to Spy Kids in 2003 — have long been staples of movie fare. Then as now, audience goers donned special glasses that make double images leap out of the screen. But today’s movies, using advanced cameras, are far sharper; and the prospect of standardized 3-D for all films and TV shows means the technology will likely become a DVD staple, too, over the next 10 years.

Or at least that’s director James Cameron’s message at Hollywood’s first 3-D Entertainment Summit. Cameron is currently producing Avatar, his eagerly awaited $200-million feature film, set on another planet in the far future. Shot entirely in 3-D, the film is set for release in December 2009.

“There’s nothing in the palette of entertainment that can’t be done in 3-D,” he said. “All the hard work has been done.” Read More about James Cameron: The World Should Be Shot in 3-D

Wikitecture for the 3-D Web Developer

wiki-treeAs an active resident in Second Life as part of my Web work, I am fascinated by the exploration of virtual world environments as platforms for “wikitecture” which essentially is collaborative planning and design. The process is being tested by architects and urban planners, but for anyone building in 3-dimensional spaces, wikitecture could be the next wave of collaboration.

One of the companies exploring wikitecture is Studio Wikitecture, creator of an open-source, 3-D Wiki plug-in for Second Life in partnership with i3dnow that facilitates the creation of a “wiki-tree” to design objects such as building models.

In June, the company’s entry placed third in an international competition hosted by Architecture for Humanity on the Open Architecture Network. The company demonstrated their application by bringing together dozens of web workers from around the world to collaboratively design and build a 3-D model of a medical center in rural Nepal.

Read More about Wikitecture for the 3-D Web Developer