The debate over whether a slew of upcoming event films should be released in 3-D has only increased since the box office success of “Clash of the Titans” this Spring. Sure, the Sam Worthington period adventure was slammed by critics and even moviegoers for the weak 3-D effects because of a last minute conversion process, but the picture still grossed an impressive $490 million worldwide. It was no surprise then that while “Clash’s” studio Warner Bros. announced that a laundry list of releases would undergo the conversion to 3-D that Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated “Inception” was also being considered.
At the time, fans of Nolan’s previous work, such as the blockbuster “The Dark Knight,” cried foul hoping the filmmaker wouldn’t bow to studio pressure (if there really was any) and find themselves with a muddy “Clash” result. Ultimately, it was revealed Nolan made the decision not to release his complex mind-bending thriller in the format, but it was never clear exactly why. Until now that is. Speaking at a press conference on Friday for “Inception,” HitFix asked Nolan about his choice and got a rather blunt answer. The critically acclaimed director said that before the shoot began they looked at numerous formats including showscan, 65 millimeter (which they eventually fixed on) and, yes, 3-D technology. But, it turns out the post-production process was the ultimate factor in the decision.
“When we edited the film, we looked at the post-conversion process and did some very good tests, but when I really looked at the time period we had and where my attention needed to be in finishing the film, I decided I didn’t have enough time to do it to the standard I would have liked,” Nolan reveals.
Further, Nolan wanted to make it clear, however, that he didn’t want to disparage audiences new found love for the immersive format. Right now, it’s just not ready for his work.
“It’s perfectly possible to post-convert a film very well. I like not having glasses on when I see a movie and I like seeing a bright immersive image,” Nolan says. “So, I think at the end of the day I am extremely happy to be putting the film out with 35 mil film prints. Very brightly projected with the highest possible image quality. That’s really what excited me.”
Whether moviegoers will ever get to see those “Inception” 3-D tests on Blu-ray or in special releases remains to be seen. However, they will be able to enjoy “Inception” on the larger IMAX screens when it opens nationwide on July 16.