Warner Bros. has been the highest grossing studio for the past two years. Last year they raked in over $2 billion in domestic grosses, breaking the movie industry record of $1.789 billion set by the studio the year before. Last year they had the help of unexpected hits like The Hangover and The Blind Side. And in 2008, they had the testosterone fueled hit with the Dark Knight, and the estrogen fueled one with the Sex and The City movie. But for the past decade, the studio's sure fire money maker has been the Harry Potter franchise, with the 6 films, so far, earning the studio over $4.5 billion world wide at the box-office.
Now with the franchise soon coming to a close with the release of the final book split into two films, -- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I at the end of this year, and Part II in 2011 -- the studio is undoubtedly setting it's sights on something to fill the void... trading in J.K. for DC.
At the ShoWest industry convention yesterday, Warner Bros President Alan Horn moderated their annual preview of the studio's planned releases for the year. Along with new footage of Christopher Nolan's Inception and Clash of the Titans 3D footage, two big announcements were made. The first, Horn revealed, is that ALL of their upcoming tentpole movies would be in 3D. The second, is that they'll be focusing more on DC Comics properties, as a way to fill in for Harry Potter once that series ends in 2011!
This is great new for comic book fans! I'd usually be scared if a studio began relying on comic book films, since, in the past, that would mean they would have to Hollywood-ize them and water them down to make them more appealing to a wider audience. But with Nolan at the helm of the Batman franchise, and with his Godfather-type role with Superman, I think we can trust that this probably means we should be expecting higher profile directors, with the studio putting more time and money into these films.
The first announcement isn't a surprising move considering this month's announcement that The Green Lantern and Sucker Punch would be released in 3D, joining the already planned 3D releases of Legend of the Guardians and the last two Harry Potter films.
Our friends at FirstShowing were at the event, and report:
Horn announced that all of their tentpole movies, including upcoming DC Comics movies and big special effects films, will be released in 3D. This means we can probably expect the new Superman and Batman to be in 3D as well, as long as Chris Nolan approves of it. However, he also said that they'll look at each project individually and determine whether it's best to shoot in 3D or convert into 3D on a movie-by-movie basis.
Horn feels that 3D is "new standard " for the company, and with Warner Bros. as far ahead of the pack as they are, all of the other major studios are sure to follow in their footsteps. I really wish they wouldn't cheap out with the conversion, it's as clear as day that it is inferior (especially when rushed) to things shot in 3D. Addressing the criticism of conversion, Horn said "in our opinion, conversion to 3D doesn't lessen" the 3D experience.
With the introduction of high definition to television, even the low-budget sitcom has had to upgrade to higher budgeted more detailed sets. CGI effects in movies and video games are constantly having to evolve to cater to the more scrutinizing eyes, consciously or unconsciously, of the audience/gamer. In my opinion, 3D conversion is in the same boat. Audiences are only getting more savvy, and it is flat out human nature to learn to see the flaws in something visually. So when we could literally walk out of a movie shot in 3D, and into one converted, people are going to see a drastic difference, and it's only going to become more obvious.
What do you think of Warner Bros. putting more focus on DC properties after Harry Potter ends? What do you think of them making all of their tentpoles in 3D?