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James Cameron on 3D: Hollywood's doing it wrong

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James Cameron
James Cameron

Helping to bring 3D movies into theaters with his $2.8 billion blockbuster hit Avatar, award-winning director James Cameron believes studios are forcing the technology on filmmakers in order to maximize profits. Speaking with Children of Men director Alfonso Cuarón at Mexico City’s TagDF technology conference last week, Cameron noted that while he hoped "to get as many people shooting in 3D as possible" with the release of Avatar, the production of 3D movies has "become a studio-driven top down process to make money," and that control is often taken out of directors' hands as 3D effects are added in post production.

"3D is a natural extension of my cinematic craft."

Back in 2008, before Avatar had been released, Cameron championed the use of 3D, calling it "a natural extension of my cinematic craft." The Titanic director also said there "should be no creative reason why any film could not be shot in 3D and benefit from it." In contrast to his earlier comment, Cameron used the two biggest releases of the summer — Man of Steel and Iron Man 3 as examples of movies that should not have necessarily been filmed in 3D: "If you spend $150 million on visual effects, the film is already going to be spectacular [and] perfect," he said.

Cameron is still expected to include 3D in the two upcoming Avatar sequels. Following the completion of those two movies (expected in 2017), he will shift his attention to Battle Angel, a big screen adaptation of the manga series Battle Angel Alita. Cameron described his future project as something that will "one up" Avatar by focusing on the expansion of character and storytelling over the creation of new technology. While Cameron doesn't want to stop making 3D movies, he appears to be calling for studios to fully commit to the craft and not tack on the experience as an afterthought.