Warner Bros.' "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1" will not be released in 3D because the conversion process won't be finished in time, the studio announced on Friday.
"Despite everyone's best efforts, we were unable to convert the film in its entirety and meet the highest standards of quality. We do not want to disappoint fans who have long-anticipated the conclusion of this extraordinary journey, and to that end, we are releasing our film day-and-date on November 19, 2010, as planned. We, in alignment with our filmmakers, believe this is the best course to take in order to ensure that our audiences enjoy the consummate "Harry Potter" experience," the studio said in a statement.
With only five weeks to go before the release of "Deathly Hallows — Part 1," it's clear the studio looked at the conversion footage and decided it wasn't working — not that there wasn't enough time to finish the 3D conversion, since the release date had been set long ago.
The studio will release "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2" in both 2D and 3D formats on July 15, 2011, as planned, it said. Both "Part 1" and "Part 2" will be released into IMAX theaters, as well as on conventional screens.
This is a really smart decision by Warner Bros. to not risk diluting the quality of its most important franchise by rushing the first part of the final installment into theaters. A poor 3D conversion would hurt the integrity of the studio's cash-cow, and the extra dollars aren't worth the potential backlash from the franchise's fanbase.
WB has felt the wrath of the critics and the blogosphere before — when the 3D conversion process on "Clash of the Titans" was roundly decried for being too dark and difficult to watch. Several people I know who paid (extra) to see that film in 3D were turned off by the experience and, as a result, do not plan to see Jonathan Liebesman's sequel, which will also be released in 3D.
Producer David Heyman said, "For 10 years, we have worked alongside Alan Horn and the studio, whose priority has always been to preserve the integrity of Jo Rowling's books as we have adapted them to the screen, and this decision reflects that commitment."
Director David Yates continued, "This decision, which we completely support, underscores the fact that Warner Bros. has always put quality first."
As Hitfix smartly points out, the biggest beneficiary of WB's decision is DreamWorks Animation's "Megamind," which opens in 3D on Nov. 5, and now won't lose 3D theaters to the latest "Harry Potter."