BEVERLY HILLS, California — As you read this, "A Christmas Carol" is playing at a theater near you in 3-D, and "Avatar" is getting ready to open soon in the same format. Recent hit releases in three dimensions have included everything from "Up" and "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" to "My Bloody Valentine" and the Jonas Brothers concert documentary.
It would seem like a no-brainer, then, to green-light a re-release of the most critically and commercially popular movie trilogy of all time, wouldn't it? Um, not so fast.
"Nothing has changed, really," sighed Oscar-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson when we caught up with him recently, discussing a 3-D re-release of his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy that would undoubtedly thrill its millions of fans. Back in July, Jackson and fellow visionary James Cameron spoke about how Hollywood should use moviegoers' love of newfangled, high-quality 3-D to revisit its greatest blockbusters. But while Cameron is in the process of preparing "Titanic" for a re-release, and George Lucas is doing the same with the "Star Wars" movies, the epic adventures of Middle-earth are stuck in a head-scratching funk.
"There's a process of dimensionalization, where you can take a movie and turn it into 3-D," Jackson explained of how a filmmaker can revisit a 2-D film and give it a state-of-the-art third-dimensional element. "And I would love to do that to 'The Lord of the Rings.' "
Jackson — whose latest film "The Lovely Bones" hits theaters this weekend — is simultaneously hard at work on "The Hobbit," two films that will return moviegoers to the land of elves, dwarves and monsters of all shapes and sizes. Recently, he told us that he has completed work on the first script and is halfway through the second, with plans for "Pan's Labyrinth" filmmaker Guillermo del Toro to take over directing duties while he produces. So, wouldn't it seem like the perfect time for a "LOTR" re-release that would whet the appetites of fans, much like the "Toy Story" series did recently?
"There are no plans to do that as of yet," explained Jackson, adding that if the process were going to be green-lit, now would be an ideal time since the window of opportunity is closing for a 3-D re-release to occur before the "Hobbit" films. "It would take two to three years to do [the transfer of the 'Rings' films into 3-D]; I'd rather do it sooner rather than later."
Ultimately, the decision rests with the studio that took over New Line Cinema in 2008 and currently oversees all things "Rings"-related.
"Warner Bros. would have to agree to fund [a 3-D re-release], and I'm not sure what their feeling is towards it," Jackson explained, saying he's ready to go whenever the studio is. "It's a question of money."
Check out everything we've got on "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring."
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