With IMAX screenings all the rage, is the bloom fading on 3D? 20th Century Fox may have shelved their plans to re-release the blockbuster “Independence Day” in 3D this morning, but lest you think they’ve given up on the medium, think again. Announced as fall 2013 releases in late summer of this year, Fox (who has always distributed the movies for LucasFilm) has now dated the 3D re-releases of “Star Wars: Episode II – “Attack of the Clones” and “Star Wars: Episode III – “Revenge of the Sith” for September 20, 2013 and October 4th, 2013, respectively.
“Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” only grossed $43 millon domestically when it was re-upped in 3D earlier this year in February, which might have suggested the fanbase wasn’t ready to revist these films. And while it feels like a low figure when you consider prints and adverstising and the meticulous care that probably went into the 3D conversion — the film did post almost $23 million in its opening weekend of re-release, which is nothing to sneeze at. And it evidently was enough to keep the suits happy and keep the brand going for a new generation of kids to buy the toys, the Legos, the board games and every other lucrative spin-off that keeps this series going as a billion-dollar franchise.
What about Disney who acquired rights to LucasFilm and the Star Wars brand to the tune of $4 billion late last month? While they won’t profit from it directly, indirectly, it just keeps audiences and consumers pumped for “Star Wars: Episode VII” arriving in 2015, so they’ll be plenty happy that Fox is essentially giving them free lead-up advertising. Now that the franchise is owned by two studios, it will be interesting to see if they broker some kind of deal as Fox retains distribution rights to the original “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” in perpetuity in all media worldwide. Fox also owns the theatrical, non-theatrical and home video rights worldwide for all the other “Star Wars” films through 2020 — and then rights revert back to Disney.
But Fox essentially owns full rights to ‘A New Hope’ until the end of time. So when the new trilogy is complete and George Lucas/Disney/LucasFilm want to release an ultimate nine film Blu-ray box set, well they better be willing to pay Fox a king’s ransom in a negotiation because the studio will have them over a barrel if they don’t like what they’re offered. One assumes they will come to an agreement with Fox taking a fairly substantial slice of the profits for allowing Disney to license the film for DVD and Blu-ray.
As for the quality of ‘Attack of the Clones’ and ‘Revenge of the Sith’ in 3D? The films are dreadful and 3D will do little to enhance the experience, but quality is likely something that won’t enter the conversation in ‘Star Wars’ films until the verdict is in on ‘Episode VII.’ But are you willing to give these another shot? Let us know below.