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Warners Cancels 3-D on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

by Anne Thompson
October 9, 2010 4:19 AM
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Thompson on Hollywood

In a welcome sign that the studios are recognizing the hazards of retrofit 3-D--even if done well--Warner Bros. is dumping the idea of releasing Deathly Hallows Part I, the penultimate film in the Harry Potter series, in 3-D on November 19. (An IMAX release will proceed.) Smart move--although the studio blames a lack of time for the change in conversion plans. With time to spare, they say they'll still release Part II in 3-D on July 15. I'll believe it when I see it.

Why? Warners doesn't need to do it, and after looking at some of the converted footage, they realize that 3-D could actually hurt the film's quality. They're not even putting the film out with a few 3-D scenes, as they did on the last one. The Harry Potter films are among the most expensive and lavishly produced in Hollywood. Why muck them up with 3-D, especially if they weren't shot that way?

Another likely plus from this move: Deathly Hallows will be taken more seriously by older Academy members who may not respond to 3-D. I maintain that there's a generational divide on how viewers perceive 3-D.

While Sony continues to double its bets on 3-D, the studios can't help but see that the bloom is off the 3-D rose. Tiffany productions from FX wizards like James Cameron and CG animators like DreamWorks and Pixar function well in a CG digital realm where 3-D is an enhancement. Disney's upcoming Tron: Legacy also falls in this category. But why spend $200-million plus on Harry Potter only to muck it up with a fuzzy gimmick?

Warners saw the 3-D backlash that met its rushed Clash of the Titans 3-D conversion. Bravo to Warners for making the right call and here's hoping the rest of Hollywood sees the wisdom of cherry-picking the right films for 3-D and not just burning audiences with low-budget 3-D flicks at premium prices.


  • Sharon Kahn | October 10, 2010 3:23 AMReply

    Anne, I even wonder about the generational divide on this. Granted it's not much of a sample, but I have an 11 year-old niece who says that she and her friends don't think that 3-D adds much--and she's a fan of big action films. We found ourselves on opposite sides on Avatar -- I, not a big 3-D enthusiast, thought there was real artistry in the 3D work on that film. She saw it in IMAX 3D, wide-screen 3-D and a couple of times in 2-D, and said the 2-D was every bit as good an experience for her.

  • graham | October 10, 2010 2:43 AMReply

    I agree with the majority here. I'm relieved it won't be in 3D. For me, it ruins a film.

    My reservation is whether Part 2 really will be in 3D. If Warner still insist its going to be, then I see no point in going to see Part 1, as I won't watch Part 2 in 3D, I get no local 2D alternative, and I don't want to see only half a film.

  • Angel | October 9, 2010 12:16 PMReply

    3D makes me angry....cant wait til it is gone and we can watch movies the good ole fashion way again :)

  • Kevsta | October 9, 2010 11:23 AMReply

    Finally no 3D movies!!!! GREAT MOVIE WARNER BROS. I hate how all the film coming out are all in 3D, they only do it just to make more revenue and 3D takes the joy out of enjoying a film. Anyways, I just started my movie blog guys and it would be cool if you guys can check it out and comment about what I should improve on, its, I am new to all this so I would love some advice Thanks. And thank you Warner Bros. for no 3D!!

  • Sergio | October 9, 2010 10:16 AMReply

    Can't disagree with anything you say Anne. Warner's decided with wasn't worth it or really necessary. Besides I still believe that 3D movies will go the way of 3D films back n the 50's. Here today, gone tomorrow

  • cadavra | October 9, 2010 5:38 AMReply

    In the interest of fairness, I must point out, having read the book, that most of the first half is just the three kids on the run and living in a tent. There's really very little there for the process to be exploited. Part 2, on the other hand, is spectacular (including the climactic war) and will work quite nicely in depth.

  • vickie nock | October 9, 2010 5:19 AMReply

    3d isn't all it's cracked up to be i'd much rather watch a normal film than watch something with stupid uncomfortable glasses on. why cant we just enjoy the film???

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