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Michael Bay-be Throws a Tantrum!

Paramount and Michael Bay are making some high caliber tactical demands of movie theaters this summer.  Apparently both “entities” are trying to put deals into place in order to keep the 3D version of Transformers: Dark of the Moon in digital theaters for a minimum of four weeks.  Also, Michael Bay is asking theaters to turn up the bulb wattage in order to show a brighter Transformer film.  Who died and left them in charge?

Apparently Bay has been asking theaters to show his film with more luminescence to make the image sharper.  The New York Times has this interesting detail: last week Michael Bay called the chief executives of major theater chains to implore them to show “Transformers: Dark Of The Moon” in a way that burns out projector bulbs more quickly but makes 3D look brighter and sharper. That’s because there’s been a continuing problem that “the darkness of 3D is starting to impact movie satisfaction.” Using the same cameras James Cameron used for “Avatar,” Bay wants to show off the Autobots and Decepticons in the best possible light.

Here’s what media analyst Rich Greenfield had to say about the darker presentations of some recent 3D movies.  “This was a key problem with “Pirates of the Caribbean” 3D, with both “Green Lantern” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” starting off with darker imagery and then layering on 3D glasses that darken the images further.”

Logic dictates that wearing sunglasses in the dark might be counterproductive to enjoying your theater going experience.  Hopefully this will be the last summer of the major 3D craze.  A lot of movies like “Green Lantern” are converted to 3D and are not actually filmed in that format.  Audiences see movies that are converted and become dissatisfied with the results.  This could add to the problem Michael Bay is trying to challenge. Thankfully, audiences will not have to see Megan Fox’s heavily made-up pockmarked face.

On a slightly different note, Paramount is trying to control theaters by waving a carrot in front of the chief executives, while strong-arming them at the same.  Last week Paramount also told theaters they have to play the picture in 3D next Tuesday night for the early screenings to spread “buzz” or they can’t play the film at all. The company line has been “Michael Bay is insisting on the Digital presentation”. Or is this really all about numbers and Paramount’s screwing Disney and Warner Bros on their 3D dates? Case in point. Paramount won’t even accept the 35mm Technicolor 3D release prints if theaters have the Digital in house. And the studio is telling theaters it’s a four-week minimum in their Digital Theater. This strategy succeeds in keeping Pixar’s “Cars 2” out of some digital runs, which will cut back the grosses while forcing Warner Bros’ “Harry Potter And The Deathly Hollows Part 2” out of 3D dates as well.  On July 22nd, Paramount will open “Captain America: The First Avenger,” while trying to occupy the vacant spot on the 3D screens left behind by Transformers.  How magnanimous of them!

Paramount Vice Chairman is trying to sell this bill of goods as a favor to movie audiences by saying, “The best thing for 3D was Avatar giving people a spectacular 3D experience. The goodwill towards 3D lasted just over a year. “Transformers 3” can give 3D the shot in the arm. That’s what would be great for 3D and the industry.” However, Greenfield points out that, despite Warner Bros marketing muscle, 2D ticket sales have been outpacing 3D ticket sales for the upcoming “Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2” based on the live “top sellers” data on the Pulse section of Fandango’s iPad application. Tickets went on sale recently and its 2D tickets are in the top 5, but not its 3D tickets.

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” will arrive in theaters on June 29th.  The film stars Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Hugo Weaving, Josh Duhamel, John Malkovich, John Turturro, Patrick Dempsey, Alan Tudyk, Frances McDormand, Frank Welker, Mark Ryan, Peter Cullen, Tom Kenny, Karyn Parsons, Leonard Nimoy, and Tyrese Gibson.  Michael Bay directs.

Source: Deadline (Special thanks to writer Nikki Finke)