There’s a fierce debate in Hollywood over the merits of converting 2D films to 3D in post production.
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12 Apr 2010 - 2:57 PM  UPDATED 6 Nov 2012 - 1:30 PM

Many critics loathed the Clash of the Titans remake, while James Cameron and studio chief Jeffrey Katzenberg lashed the film's shoddy conversion to 3D. Does any of that matter to audiences?

Maybe not, as Warner Bros' adventure continues to rake in big bucks at cinemas around the world. In the US, the Sam Worthington starrer rang up an estimated $US26.8 million in its second weekend, dropping by a mild 56 percent, amassing $110.5 million thus far.

But there's a legitimate debate over the merits of converting films to 3D in post production. Among upcoming releases that are getting 3D makeovers are: Sucker Punch, Zack Snyder's thriller about a woman confined to a mental institution by her stepfather, who intends to have her lobotomised in five days; Green Lantern, Martin Campbell's live-action film based on the DC Comics hero starring Ryan Reynolds; the two-part Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; and Priest, Sony's vampire saga featuring Paul Bettany, Cam Gigandet and Maggie Q.

Among other major films that may go that route are Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Gulliver's Travels and The Hobbit.

Katzenberg, the DreamWorks Animation president and a leading evangelist for 3D, branded Warner's attempt to market Titans as a genuine 3D movie "disingenuous" and he warned that more dingy-looking 3D conversions will kill “the goose that is delivering us golden eggs.”

In part, Katzenberg's gripes can be viewed as sour grapes after he publicly criticised Warner's strategy of releasing Titans in the US and other markets including Australia, just one week after his 3D movie How to Train Your Dragon.

But he voiced heart-felt concerns when he told Variety, “We've seen the highest end of 3D in Avatar and you have now witnessed the lowest end of it with Titans. You cannot do anything that is of a lower grade and a lower quality than what has just been done on Clash of the Titans. It literally is 'Okay, congratulations! You just snookered the movie audience.'

"The act of doing it was disingenuous. We may get away with it a few times but in the long run, moviegoers will wake up. And the day they wake up is the day they walk away from us and we blew it.”

Time will tell if Katzenberg's fears are well founded. But already there is a groundswell of negative opinion about the plethora of 3D releases. Entertainment Weekly's website has been a forum for those who aren't enamored of the third dimension.

“I find most 3D annoying and distracting,” said one blogger, Burgess. “3D serves a purpose if you don't have a great script, then the distraction becomes the movie. Otherwise, 3D is only good in some animated movies, not for regular dramatic movies.”

Jason agreed, “I'm on the 2D bandwagon as well. First, the 3D doesn't work well for my wife, so she automatically doesn't like it. For me, I just don't see the point most of the time. Yes, Avatar was cool, as were Beowulf and A Christmas Carol, but some of the other films that were later turned to 3D just weren't worth the hype or the money.”

And this from Diana, “The one 3D movie I went to (Up) gave me a massive headache and also made me nauseous. Unless the technology changes to eliminate these side effects, I will be skipping the 3D movies.”

If those sentiments catch on among a sizable section of the audience, it'll give Hollywood a severe headache.