13 years after Pixar put Disney back on the map with "Toy Story," the mouse house realized they could probably squeeze a few more dollars out of the flicks to help hype their next sequel in the franchise. But merely re-releasing the films probably wouldn't do it.
The solution: convert them to 3D.
Yup. Disney will be converting the adventures of Woody and Buzz Lightyear into a 3D format and re-release the film into the theaters on Oct 2, 2009. "Toy Story 2" will also get converted and be re-released on Feb 12, 2010.
This is to help the big D to introduce the two films to audiences who weren't even conceived when the films were first released. It also helps Disney generate hype for another sequel to the franchise being worked on as you read this, with "Toy Story 3" scheduled to be released June 18, 2010.
John Lasseter, who directed the first two computer generated flicks will oversee the conversion of the 3D animated Toy Story into the optical 3D effect.
Toy Story is one of several films that Disney has used the 3D gimmick on to sucker more people into the theaters to see stuff they've already seen. The success of re-releasing films like Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas" in 3D has proved that it can be a money maker for the moguls at Mouschwitz.
Back in the 50's, studios experimented with movies shot in 3D. It became a popular genre of film making and is known as 3D's golden age. The problem was that almost every 3D film released suffers from over-use of the 3D effect: People in the film reach towards the camera, throw things at the camera or the camera is shoved into a close up of something to help boost the 3D effect and make people freak out in the theaters. Its a gimmick and its cheesy, but people loved it.
There are essentially three different ways that a film can be shown in 3D. One is the Anaglyphic method, (the red and green lensed glasses), another method uses uses expensive glasses with radio receivers and LCD lenses to flicker each lens back and forth to create the effect.
The way that Disney will be doing 3D is the Polarization method. Images are displayed using two specially aligned digital projectors onto a silver-backed screen. The audience wears inexpensive polarized glasses were each lens only allows one image from one projector, creating the stereoscopic image in our brain.
In addition to Toy Story, Disney will also be releasing "Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert," a new 3D animated film "Bolt," a version of "A Christmas Carol and a live action version of "Alice in Wonderland."
Meanwhile, Dreamworks is also hopping on the 3D bandwagon and will be releasing "Monsters vs. Aliens" and "How to Train Your Dragon" in Imax 3-D and "Shrek Goes Fourth" which will be on regular screens in digital 3-D, in 2010.
We are apparently on the cusp of a new renaissance to the golden age of 3D. But will it be enough to make these films memorable or will it be just another gimmick to try to part consumers with their money?
We'll find out soon.