Tag Archives: Academy Awards

Titanic: Romance and Tragedy in 3D

The epic romance and disaster film Titanic, directed by James Cameron and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, was first released in theaters on December 19, 1997. At the time, Titanic was the most expensive feature film, with a production budget of $200 million. The film grossed $600 million domestically and over $1.8 billion worldwide. It also swept awards including Best Film and Best Director of the 70th Academy Awards and the 55th Golden Globe Awards in 1998. To memorialize the 100th anniversary of the real ship’s tragedy, Titanicwill come back to theater in 2D, 3D and IMAX versions on April 4th.

    1997            2012

In October of last year, Titanic’s domestic distributor, Paramount Pictures, showed eighteen minutes of 3D film footage in special screenings in Hollywood. Paramount also held free Valentine’s Day screenings in 44 selected cities. Recently, it even moved up its release date from April 6th to April 4th in order to launch ahead than its competitors.

Are people excited about the re-release in 3D? Perhaps less so, since they are converting the film from 2D to 3D, as with the Lion King, Beauty and The Beast, and Star Wars. What do converted 3D films really sell to the audience?

Director James Cameron had claimed in the past that he didn’t like the idea of 3D conversion, and that if the technology had been developed earlier he would have definitely shot Titanic in 3D. In order to have the best outcome, therefore he and 300 artists spent 60 weeks and $18 million on the converting process, without editing a single frame of the original cut. Viewers of the special 18 minutes footage made complimentary comments about the 3D conversion process. Even so, Cameron still maintains that the re-release of Titanic is in 2.99D instead of real 3D.

In a short featurette, available on the official Titanic re-release website, James Cameron discusses the conversion process and the profound meaning of Titanic. Cameron notes that the conversion not only changed the film into 3D, but that “3D definitely enhances small human interactions,” intensifying the intimate moments, making them more compelling to audience. “Titanic always has something for you, not matter what’s your age,” says Cameron. For those who saw Titanic before, there will be an element of nostalgia, but in 3D. For those who have never seen the film, it will be a moving and powerful new experience.

Sheng Zhang

The Oscars and Movie Box Office

What is the most exciting time in Hollywood?

If you guessed January and February, you are correct!  After the first of the year, a series of awards are giving to recognize the best movies and performances of the previous year. Some of these awards are the Golden Globes, Producers Guild, Writers Guild, The Los Angeles Film Critics Awards, British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), and the Academy Awards, also known as The Oscars.


Being nominated for any of these awards is prestigious, and winning is even better.  For movie studios, however, the award season can be less about winning and more about maximizing their profit margins.  There is a buzz created by all of the nominations, and studios can use that buzz to help promote a film and appeal to more moviegoers.  Winning an Academy Award, of course, represent the height of success for any movie.

The Oscar nominations are announced the month before the ceremony and many studios go into full campaign mode to maximize the excitement surrounding the awards. There are new commercials launched that focus on how many and what kind of Oscar nominations a movie has received. This is an attempt to entice viewers to see the movie because it is being recognized as one of the best films of the year for one reason or another.  After nominations are announced studios will also try to get interviews and photo shoots set up with the actors in the film as a way to get some free publicity.

Does all of the award buzz really pay off for the studios?  Box office results indicate that, yes, there really is something to the excitement.  According to BoxOfficeMojo.com, The Artist had a small four-theater release around Thanksgiving and was slowly gaining momentum, but after being nominated for an Oscar it jumped up to over six hundred screens.

The publicity around the awards can be important for independent films that are nominated.  Many of them have small advertising budgets and being nominated puts a film on the map.  The Descendants, from Fox Searchlight, was another movie that had a small opening and was able to pick up momentum through the award season.

The Oscars had an interesting effect on the movie The Hurt Locker.  Originally released in June of 2009, The Hurt Locker opened for twenty-one weeks on 535 screens and grossed only $12.5 million.  After winning the Oscar for best picture in 2010, the movie was re-released for two weeks on 350 screens and grossed another $4 million, about 30% more!

The Artist, The Descendants, and The Hurt Locker are all examples of films that have received a boost from award nominations and wins.  The Academy Award is the most important award given during the season because of the number of filmmakers, tradespeople and actors voting for the winners.  According to the chart on BoxOfficeQuant.com, there is a significant jump in movie revenue at the start of the award season, and it continues through the Oscars Award ceremony.  All of the award excitement can pay off for some movies in a big way, with box office boost and the long-term claim to fame.

Amelia M. Torre

The Oscar Race Has Begun!

May 16th 1929 is a date that not many people are familiar with, but it was the start of one of Hollywood’s most glamorous traditions…the Academy Awards.  Each Spring, Hollywood’s red carpet royalty come out en masse to recognize the year’s best cinematic performances.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) held the first ceremony at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel with 270 people attending.  There were twelve award categories and the winners had already been announced earlier in the year.  After many additions and shifting around of the categories, there are currently twenty-four Oscars awarded and the winners are kept secret until the night of the ceremony.

How are the nominees and winners decided? The AMPAS is made up of almost 6,000 voting members from various areas of the movie business including actors, producers, and directors.  Prospective members are nominated for significant performances or contributions to the industry and after a vigorous screening process some are invited to join AMPAS.

To select the award nominees for the year there is a round of voting and the most popular nominations are voted on again to determine the winner in each category.  Because peers in the industry decide the winners, there is considerable prestige that comes with being nominated and especially with winning an Oscar.

The nominations were released earlier this week with few surprises.  One big snub this year is that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II was not nominated for best picture.  A minor surprise was The Adventures of Tintin, directed by Steven Spielberg, not receiving a nomination for Best Animated Film. Martin Scorcese’s Hugo received the most attention, with eleven nominations, including one for best picture.


Two of the favorite movies going into the Oscars are The Artist and The DecendantsThe Descendants took home a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture earlier this month. There have been a handful of movies that have won both awards, but that doesn’t mean other nominees don’t have a chance. There are a variety of films nominated this year but all of them have the common thread of being creative and emotionally compelling.

These nominees are not your common Blockbusters. They have risen to the top because each movie provides a snapshot of life… its frustration, its pain, its joy.

The 84th Academy Awards ceremony will take place February 26th in downtown Los Angeles at the Kodak Theatre and will be broadcast live on ABC.  Who do you think will be winning this year? You can fill out a personal Oscar ballot here and see how your opinion compares to Hollywood’s! Check back here for Academy Award results and analysis!

– Amelia M. Torre