What makes Scott Waugh's upcoming racing game adaptation Need for Speed stand out from the multitude of other action movies being released this year is that the film doesn't appear to rely much - if at all - on CGI. The impression that Screen Rant took away from our set visit last summer was that the movie is all about "real cars in a real place performing real stunts."
That doesn't mean, of course, that post-production tinkering will be kept to the bare minimum. In fact, it seems that what Need for Speed lacks in computer-generated stunts it will make up for by including a 3D version of the movie in theaters.
According to Deadline, Disney announced today that Need for Speed will also be available to watch in 3D when it hits theaters this March, thanks to the movie being post-converted to the 3D format. The story first broke in mid-December 2013 when 3D movie news site MarketSaw reported it, but seems to have largely flown under the radar until now.
Converting films to 3D in post-production is no mean feat; Pacific Rim took 40 weeks to convert to 3D and the process for Titanic took almost a full year. It's unclear at this point exactly how long the process of post-converting Need for Speed has taken, but considering the film only wrapped at the beginning of July 2013 it's safe to say that it probably didn't get 40 full weeks of 3D post-conversion.
This decision is particularly interesting in light of the fact that many people are comparing Need for Speed to the hugely popular Fast and Furious franchise, which has notably only ever been released in 2D. Fast and Furious 6 director Justin Lin has said that releasing a version of the movie that was post-converted to 3D would be "basically just trying to rip [the audience] off for a couple bucks," since the films were "designed to be in 2D."
Though Lin was talking about a different car chase movie to Need for Speed, his point still stands as a good general rule for 3D movies. The format tends to work best when the director has a 3D experience in mind while shooting the movie, and although the process of 3D post-conversion has come a long way in a relatively short amount of time, it remains a less than ideal way of creating a 3D movie.
3D fanatics may well be delighted by this news, but those who aren't too fussed migh be better off sticking with the 2D version. Based on the kind of practical car stunts and high-speed chase scenes that have been showcased in the featurettes and trailers, Need for Speed will probably be a fun ride even if the cars aren't actually jumping out of the screen.
Need for Speed arrives in theaters on March 14, 2014.