Harry Potter abandons 3-D. Has the 3-D bubble burst?

Back in February, we reported the news that Warner Bros was planning on converting a whole bunch of their 2-D features into 3-D . These pictures included Clash of the Titans, Cats and Dogs 2: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, Legend of the Guardians and, most notably, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One. Well, scratch that last one.

But first, some context:

The original news was met with mild excitement (yes, even by myself). Audiences were drunk on James Cameron‘s Avatar, a film that was shot with specially-crafted 3-D technology that genuinely added to the viewing experience.

Eight months later, and our feelings towards 3-D films have changed considerably. Rushed post-conversions as conducted on hit films Alice in Wonderland, Clash of the Titans and The Last Airbender have only soured the experience of seeing a film in (supposedly) three dimensions. Audiences are being asked to pay a higher price to see a dimly lit version of a film with slightly blurry 3-D effects (or rather, the lazy separation of the foreground from the background) – and they’re not happy.

Viewers have cottoned up to the fact that 3-D does not make a film good, leading to the underperformance of recent 3-D releases (including Cats and Dogs 2; especially Cats and Dogs 2). And according to The Wrap, people are now actively seeking out 2-D sessions for films also available in 3-D. While 80% of Avatar’s grosses can be attributed to 3-D screenings, the recent family hit Despicable Me only relied on 3-D sessions for 45% of its box office total.

In light of all this news, WB has announced that they have ditched plans to release Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One in 3-D. According to their press release:

We will not have a completed 3D version of the film within our release date window…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.

Now, Clash of the Titans was converted from 2-D to 3-D in under a month, so it seems unlikely that the exercise would be totally impossible for HP7P1. Perhaps WB are nervous of having their flagship release endure the same backlash as the rest of the post-converted features?

WB still plans on converting Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two – for now.

Discuss: Is 3-D officially passé?

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