News Stories

2011: The Year In 3D


…we are plunging headlong into the fray to take a look back at what 3D did for 2011 at the movies, and what 2011 did for 3D.  …

Beginning And End Of Year Snapshots
Firstly, it should be noted that we leave 2011 in much a much better frame of mind towards 3D than we entered it: January’s big 3D release The Green Hornet” was a mess, and displayed the worst excesses of both a post-conversion cash grab, and a substandard generic January release. Spin forward twelve months and we get Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo — everything ‘Hornet’ was not — shot in 3D, lovingly designed for the format, and a celebration of its dramatic potential that detractors (like us) hadn’t really glimpsed. While perfect for grandeur and spectacle, even “Avatar” arguably didn’t immerse us in the dramatic texture that Scorsese demonstrated in “Hugo.” Perhaps this is why James Cameron himself started doing the press rounds with Scorsese, clearly impressed with what a true artist and auteur could bring to the medium.

The Emergence of Arthouse 3D …

Let’s Not Get Too Excited …

(Credit) Crunching The Numbers
If such additional revenue is actually to be had. And here’s where we get into the choppy waters of trying to analyze 2011’s 3D box office stats without our heads exploding.  …

Sequels Make Money, 3D Or Not
So bearing in mind that there exist more sophisticated matrices of market analysis than ours (which consists of Box Office Mojo, a calculator and a tub of mango yogurt for sustenance), what is the 3D bottom line for 2011? As far as we can make out, 3D movies, year to date, brought in approximately $3.175 billion domestically: a little over a third of 2011’s $9.244 billion domestic overall total.  …

Michael Bay To The Rescue …

National Treasure Declares Format Dead …

Cynical Casher-Inners Cash In, Cynically
Maybe it’s a hangover of the sense of possibility that “Hugo” left us with, and to a lesser extent, Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin” and the last ‘Harry Potter,’ but even we have to admit grudgingly that on rare occasions, 3D can genuinely add something to the filmgoing experience that might be worth a few extra quid (though maybe not the further added charge for glassesthat Sony is threatening us with). Absolutely not, however, in the case of the aforementioned goddamned reissues. “Top Gun 3D”? Really? And let’s not forget to lay a wreath at the graveside of George Lucas’ integrity, as he goes back to the “Star Wars” well for the gazumpteenth time to 3D-imify and re-release those hideous prequels.  …

The Nostalgia Cash-In …

We Can’t Beat Them, So We Join Them (Sorta)
If you sense a certain resignation in our demeanor, you’d be right. While we’re as wary about some of the mooted 3D projects as ever (we’re um, curious to see how Baz Luhrmann makes longing and heartbreak boing off the screen into our laps in “The Great Gatsby 3D,” for example), we’ve also been given more reason than before to be hopeful that the format may yet yield a few further gems (Alfonso Cuaron’s epic spacy odyssey in 3D, “Gravity,” we’re looking at you and to a slightly lesser degree, “The Hobbit”). And since we can’t expect ‘Avatar’s 2 and 3 until 2014 and probably 2015, it’s unlikely we’ll see anything like a cessation in 3D moviemaking before then (never, ever bet against Cameron). So, you know, we have serious reservations, but also a dose of cautious optimism that we absolutely didn’t feel this time last year. Yes, we no doubt have yet to suffer the worst that 3D is going to literally throw at us …, but maybe for every ten bad/mediocre efforts, we’ll get a good one. That ratio, after all, is not so very different from that of the standard-format movies that we deal with every day, and it hasn’t dimmed our enthusiasm for those, now has it?

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5 Video Game Moments that Defined 2011


1. The Next Generation of Consoles

This year introduced tons of new consoles and systems. Nintendo launched the 3DS, a handheld system that provided glasses-free 3D visuals, as well as the Nintendo Wii U, a console that features a tablet-like controller and asynchronous play. Nintendo has always pushed the boundaries of gaming and is almost always successful (cough, Virtua Boy). The Wii U will let users interact with a screen by using the tablet interface or pair the tablet with Wii controllers. One example had players throwing digital stars from their lap to the screen and another showed a golf game controlled by placing the tablet on the ground like a tee and swinging the Wii controller like a club.

The 3DS was a bit of a bust, sales-wise, for Nintendo. This might be due to the high sales of the DS and the pending launch of Sony’s PlayStation Vita, a powerful handheld with two touchscreens, an array of internal sensors and a graphics engine that can trounce any other mobile device.

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Data & Analytics Project

The Storytelling Cipher: Mapping Precise Story and Character Mechanics to Box Office Returns

Our Data & Analytics Project held “The Storytelling Cipher: Mapping Stories & Characters to Box Office Revenue” Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

This study leverages the Dramatic taxonomy of film narrative to infer which scene-level character and story attributes generate more box office returns, by genre. We are extending this study to ads and movie trailers.

The project researchers used machine learning to map 70+ story attributes for 300 films to their box office returns to extract which story mechanics or character features in film generated the most revenue. This was the first time granular story and character mechanics have been used to predict box office returns, which opens up many avenues to make more data-driven creative and development decisions throughout the industry.

What’s a good story? The question has been hanging without a scientific answer since the dawn of man. It seems that a story’s lack of clear mathematical structure and universal taxonomy would relegate such classification of stories to the qualitative – and highly subjective- empire of critics and … people.

Until now.

The event presented results from the research, discussed applications for the development and creative process, and outlined next steps.

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