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Scorsese and Luhrmann Go 3-D with Hugo Cabret, The Great Gatsby

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood February 21, 2011 at 12:52AM

Haven't the studios figured out yet that discerning audiences consider 3-D to be a negative? Warner Bros. got it when they returned Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 to 2-D. Why downgrade a Tiffany property?
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Thompson on Hollywood

Haven't the studios figured out yet that discerning audiences consider 3-D to be a negative? Warner Bros. got it when they returned Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 to 2-D. Why downgrade a Tiffany property?

It makes sense to turn a digital or VFX-driven action film with broad appeal into a 3-D picture, such as an A-list animated film, Cameron's Avatar, Spielberg and Jackson's upcoming The Adventures of Tin Tin or Tron: Legacy. Now two studios are heading down this path with high-priced movies with adult appeal--with which they clearly seek to hedge their financial bets via 3-D. Now Baz Luhrmann is going 3-D with his adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's New York novel The Great Gatsby, a talking heads drama if there ever was one. (Remember Jack Clayton's Robert Redford version? It was a gauzy stiff.) 3-D works best when it immerses audiences in an exotic visual world.

Nonetheless, Luhrmann, who took the grain of a good local idea and turned it into the over-inflated bomb Australia, will start shooting in Sydney in August for Warner Bros. Adapted for the screen by Luhrmann and his Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge! co-writer Craig Pearce, Tobey Maguire reportedly will play narrator Nick Carraway to Leonardo DiCaprio's Jay Gatsby, while Carey Mulligan will be Daisy Buchanan. (DiCaprio handily won our poll on who should play Gatsby.)

And Paramount is releasing producer/financeer Graham King and director Martin Scorsese's first 3-D film, period mystery Hugo Cabret, in many countries worldwide, opening the film stateside on November 23. Hugo Cabret stars Asa Butterfield, Chloe Moretz, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ben Kingsley, Jude Law and Emily Mortimer; the film is produced by GK Film's King, Scorsese, Tim Headington and Johnny Depp. John Logan, who landed an Oscar nom for Scorsese's The Aviator, adapted the Caldecott-winning novel by Brian Selznick about a smart kid who lives in a train station and chases after a mystery about his past with a feisty young girl.

What's happening is that filmmakers are trying to convince studios to back riskier films by offering to go 3-D, which brings premium ticket prices. (Studios beware: a friend of mine felt royally ripped off when she went to 3-D Gnomeo and Juliet). Am I the only one who has more confidence in Scorsese making this work than Luhrmann? I wish they'd both call off the 3-D squad, now.

[Photomontage courtesy of The Playlist.]

This article is related to: Directors, Genres, Headliners, Studios, Stuck In Love, In Production, Exhibition, Martin Scorsese, Books, Classics, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Warner Bros./New Line, Paramount/Vantage/Insurge/CBS, Screenwriters, 3D


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.