Director Alfonso Cuarón has said he will never make another space film, after Gravity's grueling shoot, but the movie's first week's numbers prove that all the hard work was worth it - and that 3D is still a massive box-office draw.
Debuting in the US this week, with near universal praise, Gravity has broken Avatar's first-week box office and is outpacing other 3D stalwarts such as Tim Burton's Alice And Wonderland and Ang Lee's Life of Pi.
In total it reaped $55.6 million in its opening weekend, which is a record for October, and of that 80% of the ticket sales were for the 3D version.
3D or not 3D?
Interestingly, Gravity is not a 'pure' 3D movie. It has been post converted but this hasn't put off filmgoers. Part of this may be to do with the time and effort put into the post conversion.
Speaking to Hollywood Reporter about the process, Matthew Bristowe, VP production for View-D, Prime Focus explained that post conversion work began way back in 2010 and that doing it in post meant that Cuarón had more freedom when shooting the film.
"There were limitations to shooting in stereo, so they shot a 3D test, and gave us footage from one eye to convert. [Cuaron] was happy with the conversion. … [Creatively] it gave him more freedom in filming."
Then there's the fact that 70% of the 3D shots were actually CGI - meaning that a 3D-enabled camera wasn't needed for the majority of the effect.
James Cameron, ever the 3D evangelist, hasn't commented on Gravity beating Avatar's first-week box office or the fact that it is not in native 3D. But he did proclaim that Gravity was the best space movie ever.
"I was stunned, absolutely floored. I think it's the best space photography ever done, I think it's the best space film ever done, and it's the movie I've been hungry to see for an awful long time," he said.
There has definitely been a decline in 3D moviemaking of late. The BFI's statistical yearbook noted that box office for 3D has been in decline and the amount of 3D movies being made has decreased.
However, at the same time, celebrated filmmakers have taken on the format - with Oscar winners Martin Scorsese and Ang Lee getting behind Cameron and flying the flag for 3D movies.
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