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Marshall Fine

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Curtains for 3D, Comic-Con?

Posted: 06/17/11 10:36 AM ET

Talk about mixed signals.

First the New York Times runs a story about how the studios are losing faith in 3D as a money-maker. Which is good news -- it's never too soon to drive a stake through the heart of this ridiculous fad.

Then The Wrap runs a story about how upcoming 3D movies by Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Peter Jackson and Michael Bay could save the gimmick.

(I know what you're thinking. It feels wrong and even a little heretical to mention Bay's name in the same sentence with the other three.)

Personally, I think it's a fool's wager to bet on the survival of 3D based on films by the aforementioned directors. Put it this way: Bay's third Transformers film, which is in 3D, would do huge business no matter what the format -- even if it were only available to be seen on iPhone screens. Not because it will be good -- I can guarantee that it won't be, based on the craptastic filmography that is Bay's career (especially the Transformers films).

No, it will do huge business because there's a mass audience of people who are suckers for his outlandish and nonsensical action films. That doesn't mean they're good; it just means they sell. So do hamburgers at McDonald's -- and they have about the same amount of nutritional value as Bay's films.

As for Jackson's two-part Hobbit film, again, there's a built-in audience that would flock to it whether it was in 3D or black-and-white. Spielberg's (The Adventures of Tintin) and Scorsese's (Hugo Cabret) 3D entries are both essentially children's stories; Spielberg's is computer-animated. Again, that means they come with a built-in audience that has little to do with the directors' brand or with 3D.

The bottom line is that 3D is a hype, a gimmick, a phony. And while there may be the occasional breakout hit in 3D, it won't be because the movie was in 3D. Audiences are getting weary of paying a premium for so-so movies, just because they require a set of goggles.

Meanwhile, the Times also reported that the major studios suddenly have grown leery of what has become known as the Comic-Con effect.

Click here: This commentary continues on my website.

 
 
 

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