It’s becoming the norm for cinema tickets to come with a pair of polarized glasses, and increasingly, special versions of films are being made in IMAX 3D too. As this list shows, though, 3D movies still seem to be limited to two genres: action blockbusters and children’s animations. Will 2016 be the year when period drama, European cinema and the indie scene discover the opportunities of stereo 3D, we wonder?
In the meantime, check out our list of this year’s biggest 3D movies and let us know in the comments whether you plan to see them in 2D, 3D or IMAX 3D…
01. Avengers: Age of Ultron
With 2012’s The Avengers making over $1.5 billion worldwide and becoming the third-highest-grossing film in history, a sequel was inevitable, and Avengers: Age of Ultron is one of the most eagerly awaited 3D movies of 2015.
The film will have an astonishing 3,000 visual effects shots, provided by seven to 12 visual effects companies. Obviously this includes Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic, which opened a facility in London last year to work on the film, which will be released in both 3D and IMAX 3D.
Intriguingly, ILM has developed a new motion capture system for use on Age of Ultron called Muse, which can better capture the actor’s performance and combine different takes. Can’t wait to see what that looks like…
02. Poltergeist 2015
A remake of the 1982 horror classic, Poltergeist 2015 will be directed by Gil Kenan, written by David Lindsay-Abaire and produced by Sam Raimi. While we’re generally against pointless remakes of relatively recent films, Sam Rockwell is always a good turn, and we have to admit that the trailer looks pretty darn cool. Plus at least the addition of stereoscopic 3D brings something new to the table.
03. Terminator Genisys
Will any of the Terminator sequels ever match up to the superlative Terminator 2, the 1991 sci-fi epic with early CGI effects that still put many modern movies to shame?
This, the fifth in the installment, will “reset” the plot and start off a whole new trilogy. Now free from governership duties, Arnie is back in the titular role, with Alan Taylor directing and Legacy Effects responsible for bringing the Terminator endoskeletons back on to the big screen. The trailer looks promising, and the use of Imax 3D should provide a suitably epic experience to the viewer.
But we have to be honest here: it was this very unofficial teaser video, featuring a spoon and a tea cup, that really piqued our interest…
04. Mad Max: Fury Road
More post-apocalyptic unpleasantness comes with the first film in the Mad Max franchise in three decades. Tom Hardy, who played Bane in the last Batman film, takes over from Mel Gibson in the eponymous role, alongside a bald-headed Charlize Theron. The film’s been in developmental hell for over 25 years, with constant start and stops, so here’s hoping it was worth the wait.
But here’s what’s really exciting us. Rather than being retrofitted with stereo 3D as so many modern films are, Mad Max 4 will be shot using 3D rigs and cameras that are being specially developed by director George Miller, according to Inside Film. And that might, just might, be a total gamechanger.
05. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Yes, the franchise that changed everything is finally back for 2015. Now under the Disney umbrella, a seventh installment in the series will be released this Christmas featuring stars of the 1977 original.
Set 30 years after Return of the Jedi, the film will be released in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D. Director JJ Abrams has pleased fans with his decision to shoot on film rather than digital, and make greater use of practical effects and rely less on CG than the prequels did. Once again, John Williams will provide the music and ILM the effects.
This may be stating the obvious, but… We. Just. Can’t. Wait.
06. Jurassic World
Twenty-two years after the events of 1993’s Jurassic Park (anyone spot a theme developing in this list?), the dinosaur tourist attraction is finally up and running. But then visitor rates start to decline, so a new attraction is created to re-spark public interest: a genetically modified hybrid dinosaur called Indominus Rex. Not terribly surprisingly, things do not go exactly according to plan…
Colin Trevorrow is directing a screenplay he co-wrote with Derek Connolly, while visual effects supervisor Phil Tippett and Industrial Light and Magic also return to take charge of pixels. With the original movie being such a landmark in CGI moviemaking, it’ll be fascinating to see how much the tech of dinosaur-making has advanced in the intervening years.
While the Steve Carrell-voiced Gru may have been the official star of Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2, it was his small, yellow and somewhat incomprehensible lackeys that kids were queuing round the block to see.
Suitably enough, 2015 sees the lovable Minions get their own feature length adventure, with a voice cast including Sandra Bullock, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney and Steve Coogan. Produced by Illumination Entertainment for Universal Pictures, this promises to be one the summer’s biggest kids movies, and all in glorious stereoscopic 3D.
08. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
Diffcult to believe we know: but already it’s the end of an era, as the final part of the final Hunger Games book plays out on the big screen. All the regular cast return, including the late Philip Seymour Hoffman who’ll appear in fewer scenes than planned now director Francis Lawrence has decided not to use CGI to fill in the blanks.
The only Hunger Games film to get the 3D treatment, this one will be released in 2D, Digital 3D, RealD 3D and IMAX 3D. And with Panem’s revolution against the Capitol turning into full-scale, explosive war, this is one we’d recommend seeing on as big a screen as possible.
09. Fantastic Four
Yes, this one made us do a double-take as well. It’s only been 10 years since the first Fantastic Four film, but apparently Marvel thinks it’s time for another reboot of the franchise already. So here comes an all-new retelling of the story, directed by Josh Trank and starring Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, and Toby Kebbell.
Interestingly, Trank has said that the look of the film is heavily influenced by David Cronenberg movies such as 1981’s Scanners and 1986’s The Fly. OTOY,MPC and Weta are handling the visual effects, and a sequel is already in the pipes for 2017.
10. The Good Dinosaur
Disney does ‘alternative history’ in this new 3D kids animation, which asks “What if the cataclysmic asteroid that forever changed life on Earth actually missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct?”
The tale follows Arlo, a 70-foot-tall Apatosaurus with a big heart, who teams up with Â—a young human boy named Spot. Directed by Peter Sohn, the 3D animation will be produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures.