Titanic 3D: The Hiding

Paramount obviously doesn’t need to expend much energy to raise awareness about the forthcoming Titanic 3D (4.4). Diehards who saw and worshipped James Cameron‘s 1997 blockbuster 15 years ago will cough up for a somewhat darker stereoscopic version no matter what. There is, however, a second target audience — i.e., the wait-and-see crowd who aren’t sure how good the 3D conversion will be, and are waiting for buzz.

Well, guess what? They aren’t going to hear any buzz until the night before Titanic 3D opens (i.e., Tuesday, April 3rd) because Paramount apparently won’t be screening it anywhere for anyone — not for press, not for fans — for the next 33 or 34 days.

Or so it appears. Maybe they’re planing some private industry screenings I haven’t heard about. I’ve written Paramount to make sure that the 4.3 preview really will be the only peek-out between now and then, and to convey my surprise that they would go dark for this long a period.

A neutral observer would say that Paramount miscalculated by inviting Roger Ebert and David Poland to special Valentine’s Day screenings of Titanic 3D on Tuesday, 2.14, because Ebert and Poland both panned the 3D presentation, more or less. It appears that Paramount doesn’t want to attract any more “too dark and filtered” responses so they’ve parked the car and turned off the engine.

The Ebert-Poland reactions haven’t stopped writers like Cinema Blend‘s Kelly West from expressing optimism (“I’m hoping that the film will prove to be a fine example of how a movie can benefit from a 3D make-over,” she wrote earlier today), but Paramount has apparently decided they can only devalue the brand by sneaking Titanic 3D any further so that’s all she wrote for the month of March.

I’ve always liked Titanic, and I definitely love the last 25 to 30 minutes. I’ve said that for years. So it’s been my interest all along to savor Titanic 3D under the finest theatrical projection standards possible. The piece I posted yesterday suggested that a darker filtered image with a foot lambert range of roughly 4 or less is what the general public is going to see. I’d love to see something brighter and more satisfying than what Ebert and Poland said they saw, and maybe that’ll be the case when I see it on 4.3. Here’s hoping.

I spoke earlier today to Boston Light and Sound’s Chapin Cutler, who said he had no knowledge or insights about Titanic 3D‘s presentation. He did, however, repeat the basics: “3D in general is dark. The common specs are real dark and it is not uncommon for 3D to be run at 3 to 4 foot lamberts. Although there are [ways] to raise the illumination levels in cinemas, that is really hard on big screens given the 10 to 15% efficiency of 3D systems.”

Either way I would love to be able to see Titanic 3D under optimum conditions. Meaning that I’d love to be able to see it under better conditions than the general public will be paying to see. Is there going to be a screening at some high-end post-production facility between now and the 4.4. opening? A screening room that offers optimum conditions, I mean? Has any thought been given to the Panavision 3D option, an integrated image-enhancement system that works with all maor 3D projectors except Sony’s?

Yesterday’s article passed along a testimonial from respected projection consultant James Bond that Panavision 3D would enhance the presentation of Titanic 3D. (I don’t personally know that it would enhance the film’s appearance — I’ve just been told that.) Tomorrow afternoon I’ll be attending a demonstration of Panavision 3D at Panavision’s Woodland Hills headquarters.

Update: N.Y. Post critic Lou Lumenick also saw Titanic 3D on 2.14, and posted a rave. He also tweeted the following in response to this piece: (a) “I saw Titanic 3-D on 2/14 at the AMC Loews 34th St. and it looks great, works wonderfully”; (b) “It wasn’t at all like Transformers 3, [in which] some of the daytime scenes looked like they were filmed at night”; (c) “I’ve been enormously critical of 3D, especially lousy post-conversions. But based on this, I’d like to see a 3D Wizard of Oz“; (d) “Based on the wild anticipation at the 2.14 screening, I’m not sure Paramount really needs to screen this for critics at all.”

All of this sounds great, but what, one wonders, were Roger Ebert and David Poland on about when they complained? Were they both unlucky in that the 3D projection they saw in Chicago and Burbank, respectively, wasn’t as good as what Lumenick saw in NYC? Weird.

  • Kakihara

    Titanic doesn’t *have* any diehards. It was the Twilight of the 90s.

  • Raising_Kaned

    That’s your worst comparison since….well, last week, at least.

  • Krazy Eyes

    Wells banned the wrong guy.

  • Jesse Crall

    “Titanic doesn’t have any diehards.”

    Da fuck? Titanic isn’t like Twilight, Titanic has many die-hard fans, and Twilight has die-hard fans as well.

    I’ve never seen Titanic on the big-screen, but I appreciated it more than I enjoyed it. It’s definitely a wait-and-see kind of deal, and if they can’t improve on whatever version Ebert saw, I’m passing.

  • BoulderKid

    Titanic sold more than three times the tickets of any Twilight movie. RESPECT.

  • Markj74

    Just when you think Kakihara/DZ can’t get any stupider he yanks the rug out from under our feet yet again. Priceless.

  • JustPassingThrough

    I think they should throw buckets of ice cold water on the audience. Why stop at just adding 3D…

  • azmoviegoer

    Is there a list online anywhere of the theatres that will be showing it in 2d? Couldn’t find any info on the official titanic website or thru google.

  • Ray

    Shut the fuck up, D.Z.

    (God, IT FEELS GOOD TO BE A GANGSTER).

  • Matthew Starr

    I saw Titanic 3D at the very same screening as Lumenick and it looked excellent to me. It was not dark at all and the 3D was effective.

  • LFF

    Wells, seriously… You ban Lex, but let DZ thread fart repeatedly without policing it?

  • Edward Havens

    I am amazed how people still fall for troll BS in 2012.

    If one is going to see Titanic in Digital 3D, one needs to see it in IMAX. The IMAX digital system uses two projectors instead of one (provides a brighter picture with better clarity), the bulbs in IMAX projectors are usually higher wattage than normal digital projectors (6000w vs. 3000-4500w), and IMAX digital projectors are almost exclusively the most up-to-date generation of digital projectors.

  • Circumvrent

    I don’t want to pick on Ebert, but either Chicago has some shitty theatres, or he has some sort of eye issue with 3D. I saw ALICE IN WONDERLAND in 3D, and thought that it was way too dark, but I’ve never had a problem with anything else, and I’ve never heard about anyone having a problem with it either. Just critics.

  • http://www.kindvast.com cardboard displays

    If one is going to see Titanic in Digital 3D, one needs to see it in IMAX

  • Kakihara

    Boulderkid: Yeah, but the Twilight movies combined are more successful than Titanic.

  • JChasse

    Yeah, Boulderkid, four movies combined gross is more than one movie’s gross, which means… uh… what does that mean, DZ?

  • Dr. Kyoj√¥ Niide

    To be fair to Jeff, he did ban DZ. Since he returned in his new guise he has quit the old multi-linking malarkey which I always understood to be the main problem, and stuck to just spouting infuriatingly idiotic (and often contrary) opinions.

    I don’t think it’s really fair to ban someone just for holding incredibly stupid views, and it certainly isn’t right to compare his contributions to the barrage of sleaziness which caused Lex to be blacklisted. And I’m speaking as someone who was broadly in favour of Lex on the whole.

  • JLC

    I really wish Jeffrey had saved some screencaps of the stuff that got LexG banned. It was not his normal shenanigans. Periodically, Lex would do a riff on Nicholson’s “All Work and No Play Make Jack a Dull Boy” scene from The Shining, with post after post of obscene gibberish. Sometimes, he made little pictures like e.e. cummings.

    When Jeffrey opened the floor to banning him, he started posting direct personal attacks against Jeffrey, pushing hot button topics and daring Jeffrey to ban him.

    Jeffrey would not have banned Lex for the normal “LOOK AT HER” and “do they show her feet?” marlarkey. It went way beyond that.

  • Edward

    I saw the 3-D trailer for Titanic in front of Hugo. It looked great, not dark at all (Regal Cinema). I need to make the drive to check it out in IMAX.

  • DavidF

    @Markj74 – Thinking DZ couldn’t get any stupider was your mistake there.

    Otherwise, basically duplicating what Edward said. It’d be fun to see this on the big screen again and while there’s no disputing 3D is darker than 2D, it seemed pretty good (I’m recalling the dark-on-dark shot of the propeller coming out of the water looking just fine, for example).

  • Padre la Tiempo

    I understand that they cleaned up the print a bit for this version prior to even starting the 3D conversion- so that bodes well for a nice looking 2D BR release of this movie. I’m just wondering how far they went- did they fully restore it? new 4K master? Did they touch up any of the now dated looking CG and compositing; the CG people in the wide shots and some of the really obvious green screen compositing come to mind…

    Anybody in the know?

  • Dr. Kyojô Niide

    To be fair to Jeff, he did ban DZ. Since he returned in his new guise he has quit the old multi-linking malarkey which I always understood to be the main problem, and stuck to just spouting infuriatingly idiotic (and often contrary) opinions.

    I don’t think it’s really fair to ban someone just for holding incredibly stupid views, and it certainly isn’t right to compare his contributions to the barrage of sleaziness which caused Lex to be blacklisted. And I’m speaking as someone who was broadly in favour of Lex on the whole.

  • DavidF

    Ebert said they did not touch up the CGI (e.g. the computer people walking on the bridge in the long shot of the boat) but I’m not complaining….it’s the film Cameron made in 1997.

  • http://www.franklin-et-marshall.net alico

    There is, however, a second target audience — i.e., the wait-and-see crowd who aren’t sure how good the 3D conversion will be, and are waiting for buzz.

  • Iklan Internet Murah Efektif Berkualitas Indonesia Raya

    Wells banned the wrong guy.

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