‘Monsters vs. Aliens’ Won’t Have 3-D Disc Release7 Jul, 2009 By: Thomas K. Arnold
When the huge box office hit Monsters vs. Aliens comes out on DVD and Blu-ray Disc Sept. 29 from Paramount Home Entertainment and DreamWorks Animation, home viewers won’t be able to see the film in 3-D, even though 3-D showings accounted for 58% of the CG-animated film’s opening weekend box-office take.
The reason, according to DreamWorks Animation chief Ann Daly: The state-of-the-art 3D treatment DreamWorks and Intel developed specifically for RealD’s 1,700 3-D-enabled movie screens couldn’t be replicated in the home — at least, not yet.
“The movie itself was developed with the notion of doing the RealD-Dolby experience in theaters, and those specs are not ideal for the anaglyph presentation” for home viewing, which still relies on glasses with colored rather than polarized lenses, Daly said. “It’s a completely different process, and when we started to look at how it would look in the home, we were not satisfied.”
Once 3-D specs for Blu-ray Disc are finalized and consumer electronics companies fall in line with the appropriate hardware, Daly said, DreamWorks can always make plans for an eventual 3D release that more faithfully replicates the theatrical 3-D experience.
“We’ve been paying a lot of attention to the development of TVs that can deliver a theater-like 3-D experience,” Daly said, “and we think if we hold off until we actually get an in-home experience that works, it would be much better than doing it early. If we did it now it would feel gimmicky rather than good.”
Chris Chinnock, co-founder and managing director of the 3D@Home Consortium, said he isn’t surprised DreamWorks and Paramount are not going to release Monsters vs. Aliens in 3-D for DVD and Blu-ray Disc. The InTru 3-D technology developed by DreamWorks and Intel worked wonders in theaters with digital projectors, he said, but simply couldn’t be replicated in the average consumer home.
“The only viable option was to do anaglyph or color coding, and doing [that] would compromise the quality of the product,” he said.
Home viewers did get a taste of Monsters vs. Aliens in 3-D earlier this year, however. For the February Super Bowl, Intel shipped 125 million free anaglyph glasses to retailers nationwide to hand out to their customers so they could watch 3-D commercials for Monsters vs. Aliens in 3-D.
To satisfy fans’ demand for 3-D, Daly said, DreamWorks instead has created an all-new companion short, Bob’s Big Break, that can be viewed in 3-D in the home using magenta-and-green glasses, four pairs of which are included in the “Ginormous Double DVD Pack” and Blu-ray Disc edition.
“The short was specifically designed with magenta-and-green glasses in mind,” Daly said. “We even adjusted the color for 3-D conversion to optimize the 3-D experience.”
This marks the third time in less than a year that DreamWorks has included a companion short with the DVD/Blu-ray Disc debut of a big family film.
“It’s been interesting for us to see the progression of consumer sales with the DVD double packs,” Daly said. “We started with Kung Fu Panda and the 22-minute Secrets of the Furious Five, and then followed with Madagascar 2 and more of the penguins. And the progression of sales from Kung Fu to Madagascar 2 indicated that if we spent time and money to put something together that had substance and value, then customers, even in this marketplace, would choose the double-pack over the single disc. In fact, with Madagascar, 50% of our first week’s sales volume was from the two-pack.”
Daly said Bob’s Big Break is the “highest-quality” companion piece to date, a computer-animated 3D short with nearly all the original voice artists from the movie. The plot finds B.O.B. (Seth Rogen) and his monstrous crew on a mission to break out of the government’s secret holding cell, Area 52. They make a triumphant escape, almost, by outwitting grizzled General W.R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland).
A paddle ball game on the DVD and Blu-ray Disc of Monsters vs. Aliens also will be in 3-D.
Home Media Magazine senior reporter Chris Tribbey contributed to this report.