I’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.”
So 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.
Imagine 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.
Jill Kennedy – OnMedea