The big story this month is that a live-action films can indeed replicate the success that Disney has seen from their animated re-releases. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace may have cooled off substantially, but with $36 million since its 3D debut less than two weeks ago, it is clear that other efforts in the franchise will be getting some additional time on the big screen as well. This leads us to the question as to what other blockbuster films are worthy of a conversion for an extra go around at the theater.
Two franchises clearly stick out. The first being Lord of the Rings which could use the upgrade if only to match the decade-old trilogy with its upcoming prequel. The other is Harry Potter which has already tampered with the tech. In fact, that final installment of the franchise was in 3D which was particularly weird because it was the back end of a two-parter where the first half was not. Making things even worse is that the studio already converted that first half for an exclusive 3D Blu-Ray release in an effort to capitalize on a special bonus pack that paired the two.
This presents a huge problem for Warner Bros. How do they drum up excitement for a re-release in 5 or so years when the 3D has already been done? Was this move so damaging as to rob the Daniel Radcliffe-lead franchise of the ability to re-work the previous movies to the point where it would not even be worth trying?
Clearly the move now looks guaranteed to happen at some point, but it must be noted that the movie studio’s attempt to milk the last one for all it’s worth might have depressed the franchise’s total long-term earnings. To be fair, this is all based on the premise of hindsight. How were they supposed to know that Lion King 3D would make a huge pile of cash in the fall and subsequently change the industry?