Will 'Batman 3' be 3D?

At the Hero Complex Film Festival this weekend, Christopher Nolan spent some time in between screenings of Insomnia and The Dark Knight answering questions from L.A. Times’ columnist Geoff Boucher as well as audience members. Amongst the intriguing insight into his own career - his opinion on 3D caught my eye.

We commented on Nolan’s thoughts when he answered a similar question a couple of months ago, but his relatively contradictory answers raise an important query – Will Batman 3 be presented in 3D? Unfortunately, I am now convinced it will.

When Geoff Boucher posed the question, “What is your general philosophy on 3D and is it something you anticipate being a big part of your canvas?” Nolan initially expressed a general lack of enthusiasm for the format - adding that audiences will have a key role in whether his future projects incorporate 3D.

“I’m not a huge fan of 3D, really. There is no question that if audiences want to watch films in stereoscopic imaging, that is what the studios will be doing and that is what I’ll be doing. The truth is, I think it is a misnomer to call it 3D versus 2D, because the whole point of cinematic imagery is that it is 3D imagery, we work in three dimensions. You know, 95% of our depth cues come from occlusion, resolution and so forth. So, the idea of calling a 2D movie a 2D movie is a little misleading. I don’t know, we did test some of Inception in post-conversion processes and they worked very well. It is quite easy to do, in fact. But it takes a little time and we didn’t have time to do it up to the standards that I would have been happy with. But it was fascinating technology. On a technical level I think it is fascinating. There are just enormous compromises. Post-conversion processes are probably, for me, the way of the future. But, really it is up to audiences to decide what they want to see and how they want to watch their films. Certainly, I am quite pleased with Inception and the way it is presented – very bright, very clear. So, as the technology improves, those differences may change. Really, it’s going to be up to audiences.”

Nolan’s hat tip to the audience may be a bit naïve - considering the private nature of his creative process, it is surprising to hear moviegoers have a large impact on the way his films are presented. If he really does intend to listen to the masses, how can Batman 3 not be released in 3D?

3D Batman 3

Avatar and Alice in Wonderland grossed a combined $3.75 billion and Clash of the Titans came in just under $500 million. Clearly, audiences want to see 3D, regardless of the complaints of people like ourselves. Nolan even mentioned later in the interview that while viewing a 3D presentation “it is impossible to forget you are watching a film at times.”

Clearly, Nolan is old-school. He loves shooting on film and can’t see himself using video any time in his career. In fact, he said he doesn’t even have e-mail or a cell phone, let alone look at the Internet.

His go-to cinematographer, Wally Pfister, has also shared contempt for digital filmmaking. It is safe to assume Nolan will never be directly shooting a film in 3D.

Batman 3 is potentially the most important release in Warner Bros.’ known future and if they give Nolan the time he needs to convert it in post-production, why would he say no? Everything he said above has me confident he'll present the next Batman installment with a converted release in 2012.

I found it interesting to hear that Nolan spent time converting Inception into 3D during the editing process. The fact he actually liked the look was even more surprising. It would appear if Warner Bros. gave Nolan more time, we would be seeing a post-conversion 3D Inception instead of the regular one releasing on July 16th.

If you ask me, I'm glad there wasn't time - it's a pleasure to see a tentpole studio film shown only in the regular format for a change.

Inception image Nolan interview hero complex

On an unrelated note, he added one bit of information on the status of Inception.

“We are just getting off the dub stage - just finished the last reels’ sound work for our early screenings. I’ve got about another week finishing it off.”

Those of you aching to hear the opinions on the finished product should stay tuned. Updates are surely around the corner.

What do you think of the possibility of Batman 3D? Under Nolan’s direction, would you have more confidence in the process or does it bruise your hope for the film? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Inception folds into theaters and IMAX on July 16th, 2010.

Batman 3 is set to release in 2012.

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