Studios Holding Back 3D Releases? Of Course They Are!13 Sep, 2010 By: Thomas K. Arnold
I'm generally quite a fan of Nikki Finke and her "Deadline Hollywood" tip/gossip sheet. She breaks stories and isn't afraid to give us the real dirt on what's going on behind the scenes in Hollywood.
But her latest "scoop" makes me wonder.
In today's "Deadline," one of the top stories is headlined, "Studios Choking Off 3D Blu-ray Demand?" And the lead really sucks you in: "There's an accusation that Hollywood studios are holding back their hottest 3D Blu-ray releases, including Avatar 3D and Toy Story 3, until they see how much demand there is for the new format." The story is based on a Screen Digest report on 3D for the home and concludes with a quote from the research company's analyst, Richard Baxter: "Our research shows that all the studios support 3D BD but many of them are unwilling to release their strongest 3D titles before the installed base of home 3D hardware is large enough to generate serious returns."
Duh! Of course studios want to hold off releasing their marquee titles until there's a bigger installed base. That's what studios traditionally do when there's a new format being rolled out. Remember DVD? Heck, when that format first launched, only a handful of studios were even releasing any product — and Universal Studios' entry into DVD consisted of licensing 100 catalog titles to an outside supplier. Uni simply didn't want to be bothered. It also took studios several years before they came to market with some of their true classics, including the "Star Wars" movies. And in each case, the explanation was the same: "Why waste a marquee release on a small audience? We're going to wait until DVD is more mainstream. There's much bigger upside."
We saw the same thing happen with Blu-ray Disc. So why is Screen Digest coming out with a report with the ominous title, "Studio Caution May Stymie 3D, Blu-Ray’s Potential Killer App" — particularly now, just months (not years) after the first 3D TVs hit the market?
And, perhaps more importantly, why is Nikki Finke, the Mother Theresa of Muckracking, making such a big deal out of it?
Honestly speaking, there's other data in the report I find a lot more compelling, a lot more newsworthy. What about the prediction that within three years, 75% of U.S. households that have 3D-enabled TV sets will be able to show 3D Blu-ray Discs?
That's a tremendous vote of confidence in our business. But I guess it's just not nasty enough to warrant a Deadline headline.