IMAX played a fairly big role in the staggering $153 million opening weekend for The Hunger Games back in March. The venues played so well that apparently the company was not even wanting to send the Lionsgate thriller out commission due to their contractual obligations for another film. With Catching Fire set to enter production soon, the studio now has their eyes set on maximizing a performance via the technology which brings today’s news that Francis Lawrence will be utilizing IMAX cameras for an unspecified number of sequences.
Lawrence of course is replacing Gary Ross at the helm who directed the original. The Hunger Games did not use IMAX cameras nor 3D as Ross pretty much went on the record saying that neither technology would help tell the story of Suzanne Collins’ novels. By time the sequel hits theaters though, it will be deep into 2013 and the industry is definitely entering an era where such options are increasingly expected from blockbusters. This provides two things: customer choice and premium ticket sales. If a 3D conversion can be made for less than $15 million, the benefits outweigh the cost for any movie expecting to pull in over $150 million at the domestic box office and a similar thing can be said about IMAX although I must be honest and say I do not know the break-even on that one.
It is at this point in time that we are actually seeing non-action films get the 3D and IMAX treatment for the first time and it might not be too far off from the days where even a purely dramatic effort has the glasses option just because it can. Take for example Baz Luhrman’s The Great Gatsby. Does anyone think that movie needs to be 3D? No, but the argument lies in golf–something seen as a trailblazer with the medium on the television side of things. If golf can find an audience in 3D, anything can.