If you paid to see The Lion King 3D at a movie theater, this is your fault. Partly, anyway. Due to the huge box office receipts from the film — about $80 million in the U.S. alone at the time of this writing — Disney has announced four more 3D conversions to hit theaters in the next two years.
Brace yourselves for this, now, because it’s going to hurt. They’re going to convert, in order of planned theatrical release:
- Beauty and the Beast – January 13, 2012
- Finding Nemo – September 14, 2012
- Monsters, Inc. – January 18, 2013
- The Little Mermaid – September 13, 2013
Of those, the only one that’s even slightly forgivable is Monsters, Inc. — and that only because its 3D prequel Monsters University hits theaters in June of 2013. I suppose it’s possible that the 3D versions of Monsters, Inc. and its fellow Pixar film Finding Nemo will be at least well-converted, since they were entirely computer-rendered in the first place.
But I shudder to think about Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid in 3D. I saw The Lion King 3D — it was a preview screening, so I didn’t pay for it — and there were one or two places where I thought the 3D was kinda cool, but for the most part it was at best pointless and generally distracting. I wouldn’t have gone to see it at all, even for free, except that it’s been a long while since I had a chance to see the great film on the big screen, and my kids had never seen it that way. But this is starting to get ridiculous.
Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid are classics. I’ve never been a huge fan of The Little Mermaid, honestly: the animation and the songs are great, but the message is so repugnant I find it hard to watch. But it doesn’t deserve this fate, and Beauty and the Beast certainly doesn’t. They are both visually spectacular enough as they are, thanks. Does Disney really think they could make the “Be Our Guest” sequence any better? I submit that it’s near-perfect as it is, and that tinkering with it is — yes, I’ll say it — Lucas-esque in its enormity.
Maybe if there’s enough hue and cry about the announcement in the blogosphere and in social media they’ll rethink the notion. Seriously, Disney, I’m pretty sure you could make almost as much money by just re-releasing the films in their original forms, and you wouldn’t have nearly as much cost to recoup.
And then they wouldn’t give me a headache, either. I’m just saying.