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Michael Bay: Turn Off The Dark

Manka Bros., Khan Manka, OnMedea, Jill Kennedy, Michael Bay, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Ehren Kruger, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Shia LaBeouf, Hugo Weaving, Ken Jeong, Josh Duhamel, Frances McDormand, Patrick Dempsey, John Malkovich, Leonard Nimoy, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Alan Tudyk, Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Tom Kenny, James Avery, Glenn Morshower, Keiko Agena, Julie White, Kevin Dunn, Charles Adler, Lester Speight, Robert Foxworth, Kym Whitley, Mark Ryan, Jess Harnell, Kathleen Gati, LaMonica Garrett, Anthony Azizi, Elena Kolpachikova, David Hutchison, David St. James, Jack Donner, Kevin Sizemore, Chris Sheffield, Lindsey Ginter, Brett Stimely, Markiss McFadden, Steve Hersack, Darren O'Hare, Darcy Leutzinger, Robert Herrick, James D. Weston, Scott C. Roe, Bob Kaye, Michael Loeffelholz, Rob Guzzo, Joel Shock, Denny Torich, Annie Hsu, Jason Endicott, Matt McVay, Morgan Williams, Bryan Basil, Nathaniel Best, Anthony Bonaventura, Ryan Buckley, Ken Bulcroft, Michael Daniel Cassady, Jason Adam Chaffin, Larry Clarke, Cameron Comstock, Jordan Michael Coulson, Thomas Crawford, Adam Critchlow, Andrew Daly, John Dezsi, Gena Ellis, John Farrer, Maile Flanagan, Reese Foster, Aaron Garrido, Corin Grant, Marie Grujicic-Delage, Terrick Guindy, Niki Haze, William Haze, Jessie Heiman, David Hill, Jasyn Jefferies, Haytham Kandil, Josh Kelly, Kristoffer Kjornes, Inna Korobkina, Erik Kowalski, Scott Krinsky, Joel Lambert, Scott Levy, Brett Lynch, Noelle Lynn, Taylor McCluskey, Alecia McGill, Ray Mirabal, Michael Morana, Prida Moreza, Paul Morgan, Dean Napolitano, Jason Neisewander, Daniel OKeefe, Michael Palma, Kenny Bates, Ian Bryce, Allegra Clegg, Matthew Cohan Tom DeSanto, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Brian Goldner, Michael Kase, Michelle McGonagle, Don Murphy, Steven Spielberg, Mark Vahradian, Steve Jablonsky, Amir M. Mokri, Roger Barton, William Goldenberg, Joel Negron, Denise Chamian, Nigel Phelps, Ralph Bertelle, Allegra CleggI’m going to start with a really stupid statement:  Filmmakers are a very important piece of the filmmaking process.

But they’re not the only piece.

It appears Michael Bay has a problem with the way movie theaters have been projecting 3D movies lately (read: dark) – and, in particular, is concerned about his upcoming “Transformers: Dark Of The Moon”.  (I’m not sure why he wasn’t screaming at them when “Kung Fu Panda 2″ was released with the same issues… but I digress.)

And isn’t it ironic that Mr. Bay is asking theaters to lighten up the image of a movie titled “Transformers: DARK of the Moon”?

Here’s the dilemma for movie theaters:  Should they lose more money this quarter to make “Transformers 3″ look better?  Theater owners have been hammered lately and are just trying to survive.

I suppose one could argue the reason the economics are bad for movie theaters is because the movies don’t look better – I don’t believe that for a second.

Would better projection have helped “Green Lantern”?  All the reviews I read didn’t mention how light or dark the movie was in the theater.

Audiences couldn’t even see “The Dark Knight” and it made a billion dollars and was loved by all.

What does Michael Bay expect movie theaters to do?  Remember, these are the same theaters he defended when he signed the movie industry letter against  Premium VOD (which would offer unbelievable picture quality – probably even up to his standards) in the home just six weeks after showing in theaters.

Bay said in an email to Variety:  “We have created a special version (of “Transformers 3″) with extra sharpening, color and contrast.  It is a superior look in the format.  The brighter the image, the brain processes in a different way and the results sharpens and makes it more vibrant.  We did many studies on the formats for presentation and I found this to be the best result.”

Manka Bros., Khan Manka, OnMedea, Jill Kennedy, Michael Bay, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Ehren Kruger, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Shia LaBeouf, Hugo Weaving, Ken Jeong, Josh Duhamel, Frances McDormand, Patrick Dempsey, John Malkovich, Leonard Nimoy, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Alan Tudyk, Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Tom Kenny, James Avery, Glenn Morshower, Keiko Agena, Julie White, Kevin Dunn, Charles Adler, Lester Speight, Robert Foxworth, Kym Whitley, Mark Ryan, Jess Harnell, Kathleen Gati, LaMonica Garrett, Anthony Azizi, Elena Kolpachikova, David Hutchison, David St. James, Jack Donner, Kevin Sizemore, Chris Sheffield, Lindsey Ginter, Brett Stimely, Markiss McFadden, Steve Hersack, Darren O'Hare, Darcy Leutzinger, Robert Herrick, James D. Weston, Scott C. Roe, Bob Kaye, Michael Loeffelholz, Rob Guzzo, Joel Shock, Denny Torich, Annie Hsu, Jason Endicott, Matt McVay, Morgan Williams, Bryan Basil, Nathaniel Best, Anthony Bonaventura, Ryan Buckley, Ken Bulcroft, Michael Daniel Cassady, Jason Adam Chaffin, Larry Clarke, Cameron Comstock, Jordan Michael Coulson, Thomas Crawford, Adam Critchlow, Andrew Daly, John Dezsi, Gena Ellis, John Farrer, Maile Flanagan, Reese Foster, Aaron Garrido, Corin Grant, Marie Grujicic-Delage, Terrick Guindy, Niki Haze, William Haze, Jessie Heiman, David Hill, Jasyn Jefferies, Haytham Kandil, Josh Kelly, Kristoffer Kjornes, Inna Korobkina, Erik Kowalski, Scott Krinsky, Joel Lambert, Scott Levy, Brett Lynch, Noelle Lynn, Taylor McCluskey, Alecia McGill, Ray Mirabal, Michael Morana, Prida Moreza, Paul Morgan, Dean Napolitano, Jason Neisewander, Daniel OKeefe, Michael Palma, Kenny Bates, Ian Bryce, Allegra Clegg, Matthew Cohan Tom DeSanto, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Brian Goldner, Michael Kase, Michelle McGonagle, Don Murphy, Steven Spielberg, Mark Vahradian, Steve Jablonsky, Amir M. Mokri, Roger Barton, William Goldenberg, Joel Negron, Denise Chamian, Nigel Phelps, Ralph Bertelle, Allegra CleggManka Bros., Khan Manka, OnMedea, Jill Kennedy, Michael Bay, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Ehren Kruger, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Shia LaBeouf, Hugo Weaving, Ken Jeong, Josh Duhamel, Frances McDormand, Patrick Dempsey, John Malkovich, Leonard Nimoy, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Alan Tudyk, Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Tom Kenny, James Avery, Glenn Morshower, Keiko Agena, Julie White, Kevin Dunn, Charles Adler, Lester Speight, Robert Foxworth, Kym Whitley, Mark Ryan, Jess Harnell, Kathleen Gati, LaMonica Garrett, Anthony Azizi, Elena Kolpachikova, David Hutchison, David St. James, Jack Donner, Kevin Sizemore, Chris Sheffield, Lindsey Ginter, Brett Stimely, Markiss McFadden, Steve Hersack, Darren O'Hare, Darcy Leutzinger, Robert Herrick, James D. Weston, Scott C. Roe, Bob Kaye, Michael Loeffelholz, Rob Guzzo, Joel Shock, Denny Torich, Annie Hsu, Jason Endicott, Matt McVay, Morgan Williams, Bryan Basil, Nathaniel Best, Anthony Bonaventura, Ryan Buckley, Ken Bulcroft, Michael Daniel Cassady, Jason Adam Chaffin, Larry Clarke, Cameron Comstock, Jordan Michael Coulson, Thomas Crawford, Adam Critchlow, Andrew Daly, John Dezsi, Gena Ellis, John Farrer, Maile Flanagan, Reese Foster, Aaron Garrido, Corin Grant, Marie Grujicic-Delage, Terrick Guindy, Niki Haze, William Haze, Jessie Heiman, David Hill, Jasyn Jefferies, Haytham Kandil, Josh Kelly, Kristoffer Kjornes, Inna Korobkina, Erik Kowalski, Scott Krinsky, Joel Lambert, Scott Levy, Brett Lynch, Noelle Lynn, Taylor McCluskey, Alecia McGill, Ray Mirabal, Michael Morana, Prida Moreza, Paul Morgan, Dean Napolitano, Jason Neisewander, Daniel OKeefe, Michael Palma, Kenny Bates, Ian Bryce, Allegra Clegg, Matthew Cohan Tom DeSanto, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Brian Goldner, Michael Kase, Michelle McGonagle, Don Murphy, Steven Spielberg, Mark Vahradian, Steve Jablonsky, Amir M. Mokri, Roger Barton, William Goldenberg, Joel Negron, Denise Chamian, Nigel Phelps, Ralph Bertelle, Allegra CleggSo Michael Bay knows how the brain reacts to images?  Has there been a study on how the brain reacts to Michael Bay films?  My hypothesis… it slowly dies.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Terrence Malick has issued specific instructions to movie theaters on how to project “The Tree Of Life”.

First of all, as respected a filmmaker as Terrence Malick is, most of his movies don’t get a super wide release and are thus relegated to lower tiered theaters (in L.A. this would be Laemmle).  Many of these theaters don’t have (and can’t afford) this kind of equipment.

Which is another interesting conundrum – some of the best movies made over the past [any amount] years are the ones that have been stuck in art houses with terrible projection systems.  Shouldn’t these be the films that get preferential treatment?

What should the projector settings be for “Midnight In Paris”?  Poor Woody Allen’s movies have been shown in nothing but lower grade art house theaters for the past 30 years and not one person has come out to say his films deserve to be shown in the best theaters with the best projection system in the world.  He uses world class cinematographers and you don’t see him bitching about the quality of the movie projection systems.

Manka Bros., Khan Manka, OnMedea, Jill Kennedy, Michael Bay, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Ehren Kruger, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Shia LaBeouf, Hugo Weaving, Ken Jeong, Josh Duhamel, Frances McDormand, Patrick Dempsey, John Malkovich, Leonard Nimoy, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Alan Tudyk, Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Tom Kenny, James Avery, Glenn Morshower, Keiko Agena, Julie White, Kevin Dunn, Charles Adler, Lester Speight, Robert Foxworth, Kym Whitley, Mark Ryan, Jess Harnell, Kathleen Gati, LaMonica Garrett, Anthony Azizi, Elena Kolpachikova, David Hutchison, David St. James, Jack Donner, Kevin Sizemore, Chris Sheffield, Lindsey Ginter, Brett Stimely, Markiss McFadden, Steve Hersack, Darren O'Hare, Darcy Leutzinger, Robert Herrick, James D. Weston, Scott C. Roe, Bob Kaye, Michael Loeffelholz, Rob Guzzo, Joel Shock, Denny Torich, Annie Hsu, Jason Endicott, Matt McVay, Morgan Williams, Bryan Basil, Nathaniel Best, Anthony Bonaventura, Ryan Buckley, Ken Bulcroft, Michael Daniel Cassady, Jason Adam Chaffin, Larry Clarke, Cameron Comstock, Jordan Michael Coulson, Thomas Crawford, Adam Critchlow, Andrew Daly, John Dezsi, Gena Ellis, John Farrer, Maile Flanagan, Reese Foster, Aaron Garrido, Corin Grant, Marie Grujicic-Delage, Terrick Guindy, Niki Haze, William Haze, Jessie Heiman, David Hill, Jasyn Jefferies, Haytham Kandil, Josh Kelly, Kristoffer Kjornes, Inna Korobkina, Erik Kowalski, Scott Krinsky, Joel Lambert, Scott Levy, Brett Lynch, Noelle Lynn, Taylor McCluskey, Alecia McGill, Ray Mirabal, Michael Morana, Prida Moreza, Paul Morgan, Dean Napolitano, Jason Neisewander, Daniel OKeefe, Michael Palma, Kenny Bates, Ian Bryce, Allegra Clegg, Matthew Cohan Tom DeSanto, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Brian Goldner, Michael Kase, Michelle McGonagle, Don Murphy, Steven Spielberg, Mark Vahradian, Steve Jablonsky, Amir M. Mokri, Roger Barton, William Goldenberg, Joel Negron, Denise Chamian, Nigel Phelps, Ralph Bertelle, Allegra CleggImagine what the theaters were like when “The Godfather” was first put out.  Gordon Willis painstakingly lit that film and it was absolutely gorgeous and it was shown (and loved) on a 1971 movie projector.  “Jaws”, “Close Encounters…”, “Star Wars”… etc. etc. etc. were all made and projected with the equipment available at the time.  And these are classic films.  Whether it was shown light or dark had nothing to do with how it was received.

But Michael Bay appears to have higher stands and demands more.  Perhaps Michael Bay should front the additional cost when these expensive projector bulbs burn out faster and need to be replaced more frequently.

Don’t get me wrong, movie theaters are a major contributor to the problem here starting with the $15 for a medium popcorn and a diet Coke… oh, yeah, and the projection is really dark.

But no matter how horrible the experience, at least you’re not spending $300 to see “Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark”.

And all these technical issues happening right now would mean absolutely nothing – and no one would be talking about it at all – if the movies being projected didn’t suck so much.

Accel Partners, Ben Silverman, Bob Iger, Chris Hughes, David Kirkpatrick, Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, Gerald Levin, Greylock Partners, HBO, Jeff Bewkes, Jeff Zucker, Jill Kennedy, Joanna Shields, Jon Miller, Khan Manka, Li Ka-shing, Manka Bros., Mark Cuban, Mark Zuckerberg, Matt Cohler, MySpace, Nicolas Carlson, OnMedea, Owen Van Natta, Paul Buchheit, Peter Thiel, Rupert Murdoch, Sheryl Sandberg, Sumner Redstone, Toy Story 3Jill Kennedy – OnMedea

Permanent link to this article: http://mankabros.com/blogs/onmedea/2011/06/23/michael-bay-turn-off-the-dark/

9 comments

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  1. Fred Thomas Fred says:

    “Dark of the Moon” – I thought it was Transformers 3. I would rather see Bad Teacher in 3D.

  2. Hollywood Producer says:

    With Cars 2 getting pretty bad reviews and Transformers next, this summer is turning quickly into a real dud at the movie theaters.

  3. Mike says:

    Jill, you are a dim bulb. You obviously have done absolutely no research in regards to what Bay means by making the image in the theater “brighter”. Yes his movies can cause migraines and can be totally head slap stupid, but your lack of education makes you look like a moron. I’m sure this will be deleted but that’s your prerogative. A little history, theaters have historically cranked down the Xenon bulbs in their projects to about 2/3rds their brightness under the false assumption and fuzzy math that says it’ll prolong the life of the bulb and save them money on these expensive bulbs. But that proved not to be the case. The savings and longevity were negligible. What happened is that the audience was being gipped out of a brighter, more vibrant image and forced to watch something slightly muddy. New 3D projects required different standards. Again, the theaters are not taking care of things on their end. And when the theaters project a 2D movie in a theater that also projects 3D, they aren’t changes the lenses and removing the polarizing filter necessary for the 3D films. Therefore, the 2D movies are losing their sharpness, contrast, brightness and vibrancy. His call for theaters to brighten up the image is in response to this. Your arguments involving Malick and Jaws and Woody Allen are pointless. Please, get some education before you blog.

    1. Jill Kennedy says:

      Great points, Mike. I can rise above the insults and not insult you back. Instead, maybe I’ll just go to the Motion Picture Library and study ancient projection techniques.

      My point was – Michael Bay isn’t speaking for the industry and trying to change bad practices. He’s selfishly trying to put the blame on movie theaters for (what has been) really bad product. And when the 3D crowds don’t come out – he’ll say “It’s because it’s too dark for moviegoers. They don’t like the experience!”

      No, they don’t like the movies. It’s no longer “If you build it they will come…” it’s “If you build WELL they will come.”

    2. Cole Porter says:

      Those bulbs cost about $10,000 each in big theaters, right? That is not insignificant. What theatres should do (if they want to be sneaky) – crank it up for opening weekend and sold out audiences and crank it down during all the lulls.

    3. Jim says:

      Mike, I will have a large popcorn, Milk Duds and a Cherry Slushie with that can of smart ass.

  4. Nate says:

    I work as a projectionist and know for a fact that we do not crank down the bulbs. They stay at full power and as time goes on they dim as all bulbs do. Digitals go for 1800 hours and then are replaced(this is NEC DLP projectors). Some of our 35mm bulbs go out to over 6000 hours and are putting out a gorgeous picture with no flicker. Most get replaced in the 3000 range. If a theater owner has to crank down his projectors to save money because he isn’t making money on his 1000% markup on popcorn and fountain drinks then there is something seriously wrong with his business.

  5. linda says:

    “maybe I’ll just go to the Motion Picture Library and studying ancient projection techniques.”

    lol!! love your wit, Jill. You are a sharp and astute writer–and this is not just based on this posting. Just discovered your blog, re: an FB story, I believe. :-)

  6. Digby Maass says:

    Having had the last film in the Harry Potter series ruined because the 3D projection was so dark I could hardly see it, and having the same, albeit not quite so dark, experience watching Hugo 3D (with the added bonus of a double image) I can tell you it’s the cinemas that are at fault, and that is what Michael Bay was talking about. These two films I saw in local multiplexes.
    Some time previously I saw Avatar and Toy Story 3. They were perfectly projected. Something’s changed since then.

  1. Transformers: Dark Of The Moon | Behind the Proscenium says:

    [...] Michael Bay has been a director always who has the lowest standard given free rein in his films. [...]

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