In this morning’s roundup of movie news ‘n’ notes from around the web, exhibitors get lessons in 3D, see the new Pixar and bid farewell to the MPAA’s top dog.
Two weeks before he leaves the MPAA for a new gig, Dan Glickman talks to David Germain about his six years as Hollywood’s chief lobbyist. His predecessor Jack Valenti told Glickman that preserving the ratings system would be his most important job, but maybe that was just Jack, who created the system; his successor clearly thinks that combating piracy was job one. Glickman also does something startling for an MPAA chief: he says that some of the recent changes in the ratings system were prompted by criticisms in Kirby Dick’s documentary “This Film Is Not Yet Rated.” Now, that’s something Valenti would never have allowed himself to admit. (The AP via USA Today)
ShoWest exhibitors get a seminar in 3D, where they learn to tell RealD from Dolby from Xpand from Masterimage from Oculus from Technicolor. In addition to the tech talk, reports Carl DiOrio, “digital cinema vet” Bill Mead offers a creative overview: "Anybody can do 3D, but it’s hard to do 3D well." I would add that asking viewers to put on their glasses so that they can watch a 3D commercial for Friskies cat food before a showing of “Alice in Wonderland” is not necessarily using 3D well. (The Hollywood Reporter)
On a different continent entirely, the Entertainment Expo in Hong Kong has recruited Weta Workshop’s Richard Taylor to talk about 3D and digital cinema. Taylor, who worked on “The Lord of the Rings” and “King Kong” before moving to “Avatar,” tells the Independent that James Cameron’s monster hit is just the tip of the, um, iceberg: he forsees a day of "fully immersive 3D virtual worlds where people can interact at a social level with a full level of emotional interplay between the digital avatars in the 3D space.” Well, that’s easy for him to say. (The Independent)
And speaking of “Avatar,” Cameron and Fox are doing their best to prove that all that talk about the movie being an ecological statement wasn’t just positioning it for the Oscar race. The DVD and Blu-Ray release, it turns out, is being planned for Earth Day, April 22 – a Thursday instead of a Tuesday, but who cares about traditional release days when you’ve got the greenest movie ever? The film, says Geoff Boucher, will also break new ground in one rather surprising way: it’ll be the first Blu-Ray ever released with absolutely no supplemental material. Producer Jon Landau says that’s because they need all the disc space to optimize the video and sound quality. (Hero Complex) But Patrick Goldstein thinks it’s a Fox plot to make people buy the bare-bones DVD in April, and then the “Special Edition” in the fall, then the 3D version next year. (The Big Picture)
Katey Rich sees Toy Story 3 at ShoWest, notes that she’s not supposed to review it or give away much of the plot, and then sort of does just that. The bottom line: “’Toy Story 3’ fits perfectly in line with the Pixar legacy, and almost definitely represents the 11th hit in a row for the remarkable studio.” Joe Adalian says that Pixar boss John Lasseter “was mobbed by happy theater owners” after the screening, which sounds like a good sign to me. (Cinema Blend)
The New York Times spotlights the three South by Southwest films that IFC has released to video-on-demand concurrently with their SXSW debuts. There’s a romantic comedy, a rock documentary about the White Stripes, and a comedy about a couple of apparently hapless Brits, “Le Donk and Scor-zay-zee.” (Arts Beat)