Last week, Warner Bros. surprised everyone by announcing that they would be converting Guillermo Del Toro's upcoming sci-fi action flick Pacific Rim to 3D. Del Toro had been reluctant to go the 3D route, even expressing his concerns at Comic-Con.
His main concern was the scale of the characters. Del Toro was concerned that when you're looking at 300 foot tall behemoths on the screen, 3D might not look natural and could lead to technical problems.
So why the sudden change? The answer: money.
Del Toro says the conversion process, which is being handled by the capable folks at Industrial Light & Magic should run about 40 weeks. A typical 3D conversion takes a few weeks, but WB seems willing to invest up to $100,000 a day to get the 3D conversion correct.
"Normally a conversion takes a few weeks, I asked to start it immediately so we could take the full 40 weeks to do the conversion. As an example, Titanic took about 50 weeks to convert. The final thing that I asked that they agreed to, which was amazing, was that I asked them to give me an extra budget, which is considerable, to actually have ILM composite the shots that are CG native 3D," Del Toro said.
WB is putting a considerable amount of faith in Del Toro. Outside of Puss in Boots and Kung Fu Panda 2 (which he executive produced) and Hellboy II and Blade II (which he directed), Del Toro hasn't really had a breakout blockbuster.
Could Pacific Rim and its 3D version be the film that pushes a Del Toro directed movie over the $200 million worldwide box office gross? Certainly 3D surcharges will help, but will audiences watch the regular version or splurge for 3D?
Pacific Rim is scheduled to open July 12, 2013, the same weekend as Adam Sandler's sequel Grown Ups 2. The week before will see Disney's Lone Ranger, Despicable Me 2 and the 3D re-release of Independence Day.