Matt was pretty critical of Disney’s recent decision to rush a 3D post-conversion of Need for Speed, but conceded, “While the domestic demand for 3D has died down over the past couple of years, it’s currently fueling international sales, so we have to keep putting up with it.” Paramount may have found a way to have its cake and eat it too. The studio is reportedly spending $10 million to create a 3D version of Darren Aronofsky‘s biblical epic Noah for 65 international markets. However, the studio will distribute Noah exclusively in 2D in the U.S, the U.K., Australia, and France.
Hit the jump for more on the logic behind the decision. [Update: We added a new international poster after the jump.]
According to THR, the studio cites Life of Pi as inspiration. Life of Pi—likewise a prestige project from an auteur director—performed well domestically, reaching $125 million. But the 3D adventure film nearly quadrupled that total with $484 million abroad. Of course, Ang Lee carefully considered the use of 3D as he was shooting, but never mind the details.
A source tells THR the studio believes the four 2D-only markets will instead respond to “the combination of the pedigree of the director and the cast and the dramatic elements of the story.” I am fascinated that Paramount ran the numbers and decided the 3D print they already paid for is not worth the effort to distribute in key markets. Perhaps it’s simpler and cheaper to promote and ship just one version around the country, but it seems to me that the empty seats in 3D screenings must now outweigh the added revenue of the 3D surcharge—that Paramount is better off maximizing the number of 2D screenings in Noah‘s allotted theater space.
In other words, the American, British, Australian, and French moviegoers who voted with their dollar, skipped the 3D screening, and waited for the next 2D showtime may yet succeed. The rest of you will continue to get the 3D you apparently want.
Starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins, and Logan Lerman, Noah opens March 28th in 2D.
Poster via Empire: