Fox has long been the least popular studio in the geek world; despite being the home of "Star Wars," "Avatar" and the "X-Men" series, its bosses, and in particular head honcho Tom Rothman, have been seen as interference-happy, thanks to the botched likes of "Elektra," "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" and "The Day The Earth Stood Still." But having uncharacteristically put their faith in filmmaker-led takes on big franchises twice this summer, with "X-Men: First Class" and "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," and being rewarded by audiences and critics alike for their trouble, does this mark a turning point for the studio's standing?
The company were the first to unveil their wares at the Empire Big Screen event (a new Comic-Con-esque three-day festival run by our good pals at the U.K. film magazine, which we'll be reporting from over the next while), screening footage from some of their biggest hopes for the next 12 months or so: so how are things looking? Will the hot streak continue, or is it back to the dark days of "Max Payne" and "Marmaduke"?
Hard to tell really: the closest the studio came to showing footage from big hitters like "We Bought A Zoo," "Prometheus" and "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" was a puff piece featuring the directors of those films talking about how great Fox are; encouraging in terms of the studio's new filmmaker-friendly approach, but considering that "Prometheus" debuted footage a few weeks back at Comic-Con, it seemed like a missed opportunity.
Instead, we got the first public glimpse of footage from "Titanic 3D." Long-planned, and announced fairly recently to hit cinemas worldwide on April 6, 2012, James Cameron's Oscar-winning box-office juggernaut has been given a fresh lick of paint and, more importantly, an extra dimension, in celebration of the centenary of the sinking of the legendary ship.
About ten minutes of scenes from across the film's running time were shown, ranging from the arrival of Rose at the docks, the famous "flying" scene and the final plummet of the upturned boat into the ocean. And on a technical level alone, it's undeniably impressive, the remastering making the film look like it hasn't aged a day (Billy Zane's hairpiece and line readings, not so much...) Unsurprisingly, considering 3D prophet Cameron has supervised the conversion personally, the dimensionalization is equally strong; it's easily the most convincing case of post-conversion this writer has seen, and looked much better than the shot-in-3d trailer for alien-invasion flick "The Darkest Hour," which was shown just before.
While it bodes well for the future of the conversion process, it doesn't really change the redundancy of the whole exercise: the film feels no more immersive in 3D than it did in 2D a decade and a half ago. Fellow goggle-refuseniks need not worry though; Fox UK exec Chris Green revealed that the film will also be in screens in 2D come next April.
As for the rest of the line-up, there was very little that hasn't been seen elsewhere: an effects featurette for "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" and the same extended trailer for "In Time" that bowed at Comic-Con. The highlight was a creepy new international trailer for "Martha Marcy May Marlene," playing up the cult aspects, and in particular John Hawkes' character.
We'll have more from Big Screen across the weekend; hopefully the other studios will have more up their sleeves.