Martin Grove’s Hollywood Report 09-10-12

“Finding Nemo 3D”

“Finding Nemo 3D”

“Hotel Transylvania” – In theaters September 28th

“Hotel Transylvania” – In theaters September 28th

“Resident Evil: Retribution” – In theaters September 14th

“Resident Evil: Retribution” – In theaters September 14th

3D Dimension: Hollywood’s been putting technology to work since the early 1900’s when moving images moved from arcade peep show machines to on screen projection in nickelodeon theatres.

Over the years, new technologies like sound, color and widescreen have been harnessed to compete for moviegoers’ time and money. Most recently, Hollywood’s turned to 3D for an added dimension that eventizes movies and attracts moviegoers looking for something special. In fact, in mid-February when China agreed to allow 14 additional U.S. films per year to play in its theatres, it specified that to qualify they needed to be in 3D or IMAX.

Although 3D is hot today, it actually dates back to the early 1950s when Hollywood was suffering from competition from the then new television business. To give moviegoers something they couldn’t get for free at home on their new small screens, the studios turned to 3D as a gimmick to enhance films like “Bwana Devil,” “House of Wax,” “Dial M For Murder” and “Kiss Me Kate.” But the '50s 3D fad fizzled out largely because the glasses available at the time to watch 3D films resulted in eyestrain and headaches for many moviegoers.

Today’s 3D glasses are much improved over their '50s prototypes and 3D presentation looks better than ever. Because films are made now with 3D in mind, the added dimension on screen is a better fit with the storytelling. And with the premium ticket pricing that 3D movies now command, it’s no wonder that seven of this year’s Top Ten grossing domestic releases were in 3D – “The Avengers,” “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Brave,” “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted,” “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax,” “Men in Black 3” and “Ice Age: Continental Drift.”

Hollywood hopes to add to that list of hits by releasing a dozen more 3D titles between now and the year end. Here’s a quick look at what’s upcoming.

This weekend will see two 3D releases targeted to different audiences going into wide release.

Horror film fans can sink their teeth into Screen Gems’ R rated “Resident Evil: Retribution,” the first in the five film franchise to be presented in 3D. Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (“Resident Evil”), it stars Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory and Michelle Rodriguez.

The hit horror series began with “Resident Evil,” which reportedly cost $33 million. It opened Mar. 15, 2002 to $17.7 million and went on to do $40.1 million domestically.

“Resident Evil: Apocalypse,” which reportedly cost $45 million, opened Sept. 10, 2004 to $23 million and ended up doing $51.2 million domestically.

“Resident Evil: Extinction” opened Sept. 21, 2007 to $23.7 million and grossed $50.6 million domestically.

“Resident Evil: Afterlife” opened Sept. 10, 2010 to $26.7 million and wound up with $60.1 million domestically.

“Retribution” pits Alice (Jovovich) against the Umbrella Corporation, whose T-virus is ravaging Earth and turning people into Undead flesh eaters.

Meanwhile, family audiences can catch Disney and Pixar’s re-release in 3D of their 2003 G rated animated comedy adventure “Finding Nemo.” Directed by Andrew Stanton (“John Carter”) and Lee Unkrich (“Toy Story 3”), its voice talents include Albert Brooks, Ellen Degeneres and Alexander Gould.

“Nemo,” which opened May 30, 2003 to $70.3 million, did $339.7 million domestically.

Sept. 21 will bring us Lionsgate and Big Entertainment’s R rated sci-fi action thriller “Dredd 3D.” Directed by Pete Travis (“Endgame”), it stars Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby and Lena Headey.

“Dredd’s” roots are in 2000 AD’s Judge Dredd comic book series. The setting is a future world in which nuclear war has blistered Earth and the surviving population lives in crowded crime ridden mega-cities ruled by violent drug lords. It’s a world in which Judge Dredd (Urban) functions as judge, jury and executioner.

The multiplexes will be busy Sept. 21 with four wide openings competing for moviegoers’ time and money.

The 1995 original “Judge Dredd” was directed by Danny Cannon (“I Still Know What You Did Last Summer”) and starred Sylvester Stallone in the title role. It opened via Buena Vista June 30, 1995 to $12.3 million and did $34.7 million domestically.

3D is particularly well suited for family films and a case in point will be Sept. 28’s opening of Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation’s PG rated animated comedy “Hotel Transylvania,” from first time feature director Genndy Tartakovsky. Its voice talents include Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James and Fran Drescher.

The hotel in question is Dracula&Rsquo;s lavish “five stake” resort where monsters and their families can live it up without interference from humans. Frankenstein and his wife, the Mummy and the Invisible Man are among those on hand to celebrate Drac’s daughter Mavis’s 118th birthday when an ordinary human unexpectedly turns up and falls for Mavis.

Moviegoers will get their next 3D fix Oct. 5 with Disney’s launch of the animated PG horror comedy “Frankenweenie” from director Tim Burton (“Alice in Wonderland”). Its voice talents include Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara and Martin Short.

Mid-October won’t see any new 3D releases, but the month will end with Open Road Films’ Oct. 26 opening of its R rated thriller “Silent Hill: Revelation 3D.” Directed by Michael J. Bassett (“Solomon Kane”), it stars Sean Bean, Radha Mitchell and Carrie-Ann Moss.

It’s the sequel to the R rated “Silent Hill,” which opened via Columbia Pictures Apr. 21, 2006 to $20.2 million and went on to gross $47 million domestically.

In the new film, Heather Mason (Adelaide Clemens) is turning 18 and dealing with terrible nightmares as well as her father’s sudden disappearance. Her discovery that she’s not who she thinks she is plunges her into a demonic world from which there may be no escape.

3D is back in family territory with Disney’s animated comedy “Wreck-It Ralph” opening Nov. 2 from first time feature director Rich Moore. Its voice talents include John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch.

Reilly voices Wreck-It Ralph, who longs to be as beloved as his video game’s perfect good guy Fix-It Felix (McBrayer). Ralph’s problem is that nobody loves a Bad Guy. When a modern, first-person shooter game arrives featuring tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (Lynch), Ralph sneaks into the game hoping to win a medal. When he accidentally unleashes a deadly enemy, every game in the arcade is threatened.

3D will be plentiful for Thanksgiving as two big releases targeted to family audiences arrive in theatres Nov. 21. DreamWorks Animation and Paramount’s “Rise of the Guardians” is from first time feature director Peter Ramsey and stars such voice talents as Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin and Isla Fisher.

It’s about Pitch, an evil spirit voiced by Jude Law, who wants to take over the world. To stop him, the immortal Guardians must join forces for the first time to protect the hopes, beliefs and imagination of children everywhere.

Also hitting multiplexes Nov. 21 is 20th Century Fox and Fox 2000 Pictures’ live action adventure drama “Life of Pi.” Directed by Ang Lee (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”), it stars Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan and Adil Hussain.

Based on the best-selling novel by Yann Martel, it’s the story of Pi Patel, the precocious son of a zoo keeper in Pondicherry, India. Pi’s family sets out for Canada, hitching a ride on a huge freighter. After a shipwreck, Pi’s adrift in the Pacific Ocean fighting for survival on a lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a 450-pound Bengal tiger.

Dec. 14 will bring moviegoers one of the year’s most anticipated 3D releases, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” from Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, MGM and WingNut Films. Directed by Peter Jackson (“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy), its stars include Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis and Cate Blanchett.

The film’s screenplay by Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens, Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro is based on the best-selling novel “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien. It revolves around the adventures of Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) as he and a group of Dwarves try to get back a treasure that was stolen from them by the dragon Smaug.

Christmas will bring moviegoers two new 3D presents, both of which will hit the megaplexes Dec. 21.

Paramount’s fantasy “Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away” is directed by Andrew Adamson (“Shrek” and “Shrek 2”) and stars Erica Linz and Igor Zaripov. The film features performances by the world famous Cirque du Soleil troupe.

Disney and Pixar’s 3D re-release of their G rated 2001 animated comedy adventure “Monsters, Inc.” is directed by Pete Docter (“Up”), David Silverman (“The Road to El Dorado”) and Lee Unkrich (“Toy Story 3”) and features such voice talents as Billy Crystal, John Goodman and Mary Gibbs. The 2D version of the film opened Nov. 2, 2001 to $62.6 million and wound up grossing $255.9 million domestically.

Bottom line: With films targeted to a wide range of moviegoers, Hollywood has high hopes that September will get the fall movie season off on the right boxoffice foot.