3D Week: Hollywood Titans Cautious About Blu-ray 3D

Warner Bros NZ joins the Blu-ray 3D express this week with the re-issue of Clash of the Titans and The Polar Express on Blu-ray 3D.

Roadshow Entertainment, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Universal Pictures NZ already have 3D titles in the market.

Universal was first, with its December releases of Step Up 3D and the triple-disc Dolphins and Whales 3D: Tribes of the Ocean/Sharks 3D/Ocean Wonderland 3D.

Next month it will aggressively promote the format with price reductions on Coraline 3D, Despicable Me 3D and Step Up 3D, and will re-issue the Jean-Michel Cousteau docos as three separate releases.

Roadshow has released Piranha, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole and Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore in 3D while WB plans to release more back-catalogue 3D titles throughout the year but in limited quantities.

“We are ordering pretty lenient numbers for the 3D-BD titles as we are not expecting a large take-up in the market due to low penetration of hardware,” a spokesperson told ScreenScribe.tv.

Sony Pictures seems less committed to the format than other distributors, which is odd given its parent company is pushing 3D as a feature of its 2011 TV range.

So far it’s only released The Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Film 3D and Resident Evil: Afterlife to retailers generally, and 3D copies of Monster House, Open Season and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs exclusively to the JB Hi-Fi chain.

“Apart from releasing a SKU [stock keeping unit] for Resident Evil: Afterlife that has a 3D option, we don’t have any other plans at the moment,” a Sony spokesperson says.

Despite distributor reluctance to go big on Blu-ray 3D, key retailers report strong sales of titles released to date.

“3D sales are going well given the low penetration of 3D panels in the New Zealand market,” Jason Hewitt, of JB Hi-Fi, says.

“We’re very pleased with the sales to date of Despicable Me 3D & Piranha 3D; FIFA, which doesn’t have the same mass appeal, has still performed well.

“We’re very keen to offer as many 3D Blu-ray titles as possible to encourage sales of the format and we’re encouraging the suppliers to release their 3D content either day-and- date with the 2D release, or as soon as possible thereafter, but understand it’s out of the hands of the New Zealand suppliers and is often a decision from the US.

“It’s an exciting format, and JB are right behind it both in the software side of the business as well as hardware.”

Concurs Rose Miller, of the Mighty Ape website: “3D Blu Ray sales are going really well for us.

“I’m not sure if it is because there are limited SKUs, so customers with a 3D TV are just buying whatever is available.

“Or whether it is because they are often being released in combo packs that include the 2D Blu-ray plus DVD etcetera, so people without the 3D TV are purchasing the combo anyway.

“The IMAX 3D Dolphins and Whales has been our best-seller so far for sure.”

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