BLOG Dredded 3D Strikes Again

Today I read this article over on IGN. The headline attracted me: “ Dredd 3D Prevails In The Home Video Market”. I’d heard that Dredd was doing very well since the DVD/Blu-ray had been released. I’d heard tales of the Blu-ray being sold-out in various supermarkets and that the film was flying of the shelves and topping the charts in most others. I’d heard that it was doing well in the US and in other markets. This is all great news and after the poor cinema showing it’s heartening to see. I’m a huge fan of Judge Dredd and it’s great to see the film doing so well and if this leads to a sequel I’ll be very happy, well, at least until the title ends up being Dredd2 3D or some such.

But like every other stage of the release of this film, the home release is being tainted by dodgy 3D sales tactics. It seems the chart-topping success of the home release of the film is being used as a big green light for 3D. Again a production/distribution company has stacked the deck in favour of the result they want and is now patting itself on the back for a job well done.

Back in November, when I saw the formats Dredd was going to be released in for the home market – a single DVD and a Blu-ray combo which included both 2D and 3D versions of the film, but no single 2D Blu-ray – I feared this would happen. I feared that releasing a Blu-ray which contained both 2D and 3D copies would force people to buy the 3D even if they didn’t want it and any sales figures would ignore the 2D version and give the distributors licence to say that 3D was the reason it was selling well.

And it seems that’s exactly what Dredd ’s distributors Lionsgate are saying. In the interview on IGN Ron Schwartz , Lionsgate executive VP and general manager of Home Entertainment said, "We're also pleased that a film released on 3D Blu-ray was able to top the sales charts, a clear reflection of how quality films in this up and coming format can find their audience."

But it isn’t really is it Ron?

If there had been two separate 2D and 3D Blu-ray releases and the 3D one was far out-selling the 2D one, then they’d have grounds to make this claim. But they didn’t do that. They released just one version, lumping both formats together; if we wanted a 2D version the film on Blu-ray then we had to get the 3D release too – we had no choice – and they are using sales figure to tell themselves that 3D is what everybody wanted. Which if they took the time to read any sci-fi forums or social media they would find just isn’t the case. There are a lot of people who are not very happy about the tactics used to show this film. Half the people I know didn’t get to see the film in the cinema because it was only available in 3D in their area and they either dislike the format or just plain can’t see it. Many of them were waiting for the home release to buy the film and see it for the first time. I know of many of them who were loath the buy a format which contained a 3D version that they would never watch. But for the love of the character of Dredd and a desire to see the film they bought it anyway.

I’ve blogged before about the fact that 3D screening tactics in cinema seem more and more skewed to make 3D look like what everybody wants and it seems that tactic is making its way into the home market too. In my previous blog we included a poll which revealed that 69% of the people who voted either didn’t want 3D or couldn’t see it. Two thirds of people who would quite happily see it disappear and yet here we are again forced to accept it if we want to buy a film we want in our chosen platform.

The film companies and distributors just don’t seem to care about the opinion of people. They have their shiny new toy and no matter how many customers don’t want or can’t see 3D they seem to just want to continue to tell themselves just how brilliant it is while making sure that the money spent on developing this technology was worth the money. Just how will they screw us over next?

Steven Ellis

Dave Golder
Freelance Writer

Dave is a TV and film journalist who specializes in the science fiction and fantasy genres. He's written books about film posters and post-apocalypses, alongside writing for SFX Magazine for many years.