New Jack City: Is 3-D Ripoff To Moviegoers? Michael Bay Takes Stand!

Has 3-D finally flamed out at the movies?

Not yet, but it’s heading for the E.R.!

Seems immediately following James Cameron‘s smash success with AVATAR and its fabulous 3-D imagery, movie studio’s couldn’t jump on the money train fast enough. Problem was—and continues to be—that most of the movies were converted to 3-D after the fact in post production!

Call it Ersatz 3-D or 3-D Lite, but moviegoers began to feel ripped off. Here they were paying hefty 3-D upcharges for something that really wasn’t worth it.

Making matters worse, it’s been alleged that management at certain major movie circuits (including one with theatres in the K.C. market) had instructed theater personnel to turn down the wattage on their digital projector’s xenon lamps which can be as bright as 3,500 to 4,500 watts.

Why turn it down?

The cost of the bulbs can range anywhere from $750.- to $1,500.- and usually are guaranteed by the manufacturer for roughly 750 hours of operating time. In other words, most theaters probably have to change bulbs twice a year. Not a cheap proposition.

And powering down the wattage adds extra hours of life to the digital cinema xenon bulbs.

Here’s how that diminishes 3-D!

If the bulb is turned back in its output while darkened 3-D glasses are worn by viewers, the entire 3-D presentation can look faded, limp and far below the standard the filmmakers intented.

Fast forward to TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON opening later this week which was filmed in true 3-D —NOT converted! It’s 3-D is top notch and compares favorably to AVATAR!

To make certain its full 3-D impact in the brightness is seen, Deadline Hollywood and the New York Times report that director Michael Bay got on the phone and personally spoke with some of the C.E.O.’s of American’s largest theater circuits to implore them to show his new Transformers in a way that could burn out projector bulbs more quickly, but makes the 3-D look brighter and sharper.

In other words,  turning up the juice!  Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Can we blame Mr. Bay for making those demands? Absolutely not. Especially after the darkened imagery we’ve been experiencing in a number of local megaplexes of late!

And you know who you are!

Here’s hoping theater chain chiefs—and studios—have gotten the message to ease the increasing customer flow away from 3-D before it’s too late!

Tell me what your experience has been with 3-D presentations at greater Kansas City’s theater complexes?
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10 Responses to New Jack City: Is 3-D Ripoff To Moviegoers? Michael Bay Takes Stand!

  1. TIAD says:

    Try Naming Names, Jack….
    Try naming names, Jack, so that we can avoid these local “rip off” artists.

    7 + 2 = the square root of 81

  2. chuck says:

    good info…
    Yeah, who was doing it??

  3. Markus Aurelius says:

    they may know who they are, but we don’t
    You can’t say that certain theaters are turning down their wattage, effectively ripping off customers paying the extra to see 3D films, without telling us who is doing it. How is the consumer to discern where to go?? The media’s job is to inform and empower the public with the truth. If you don’t think you can responsibly name names, then it sounds like you’re not 100% convinced that this is actually happening. If not, then report it that way. Instead you use the word ‘allege’ but then for the remainder of the column act as if the reduced wattage is fact. If it’s fact, give us the names. If it’s speculation, then treat it as such. At any rate, at least give us a link to where it has been alleged so we can make up our own minds. If nothing else, thanks for raising the issue.

  4. Markus Aurelius says:

    Here’s some helpful info on this issue….
    From Roger Ebert’s blog ( about what you can do about the issue of theaters showing 2D movies through 3D lenses (which reduces the brightness significantly)….

  5. smartman says:

    Nice work! Once again the comments are more informative than the post.

    C’mon Jack wassup? This is so not like you. You could have provided the same info Markus dug up to support your allegations.

    Maybe a phone call or e-mail to AMC for a comment?

    If you’re just gonna phone it in hang up before you dial.

  6. jack p says:

    OK, so bitch slap me why don’t you. I was just trying to point out an industry wide problem that’s popped up from coast to coast–not just in K.C.
    And I’d still be interested to hear of YOUR experiences (either tops, good or poor—and why) when watching a 3-D presentation at a local theater complex…WHICH Y O U CAN NAME!

    (and just to make you all happy I’ll go to confession next Sunday———Hold it! I’m not Catholic. Never mind.)

  7. TIAD says:

    I went to this place, you see? And I saw this thing, you see? And it wasn’t very good, you see?

    Is it clear now – in either 2D or 3D?

    6 + 3 also equals the square root of 81

  8. PB says:

    So, let me get this straight…
    …if a movie has that “digital” or “D” tag (something I’ve just noticed recently and wasn’t sure what it meant) in the theatre listings, it’s not the proper 3D projection?

  9. Hearne says:

    I’ll take the hit
    Robert Butler wrote about the 3-D picture being dim at AMC’s Leawood Town Center before he left the Star. And there’s was an anonymous comment Cinemark’s projection in KCC’s comments section.

    However, last month Cinemark boasted that their “Barco DLP projectors are capable of the biggest and brightest 2D and 3D images on the market, meeting or exceeding industry standards.”

    Here’s to them and AMC Town Center keeping them turned up!

  10. Ryan Noonan says:

    Hey Jack

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