Opinion Brief

The next Batman: IMAX vs. 3D

Christopher Nolan says he'll film The Dark Knight Rises in two-dimensional IMAX, not 3D. Is this a sign that the format may be on the way out?

After the enormous success of both The Dark Knight and Inception, Christopher Nolan may be one of the most powerful directors in Hollywood. So when "the Hitchcock of superhero cinema" says he will not film the next Batman movie in 3D — he has previously complained about the lack of brightness in 3D filming and admitted he's "not a fan" of the technology — Hollywood takes notice. What does Nolan's decision to film The Dark Knight Rises in a two-dimensional IMAX format mean for the future of movies? (Watch Nolan praise the IMAX experience)

This doesn't bode well for 3D: When the most respected blockbuster filmmaker in Hollywood looks at his "toolkit of available options" and decides 3D will not "help make a great movie," you have to wonder if the "tide is turning" against the technology, says Simon Brew at Den of Geek. And some corroborating evidence: Warner Brothers has abandoned its plans to use 3D technology in the next Harry Potter film.
"Is Christopher Nolan making The Dark Knight Rises in 2D a turning point?"

It's a good option — not a necessity: The 3D format is "here to stay," says Renn Brown at CHUD.com. It's just approaching the point where it's a choice, not a requirement. In fact, I'm betting that Warner Brothers will "push for that third D" for the Superman film which Nolan is producing, and he won't fight it then. "Nolan's not a silly man," and he knows that high quality 3D "has its place" alongside HD photography.
"Dark Knight Rises: Nolan swings his dick for 2D"

This sets up a battle of IMAX vs. 3D: Nolan's commitment to IMAX "sparks yet another debate," says Steven James Snyder at Time. Namely, "which screening experience is more awe-inspiring," 3D or IMAX? It's a "safe bet" that millions will see The Dark Knight Rises, but Hollywood execs will be wondering whether Nolan's "2D adventure" will seem "archaic" by then, or will it prove that "3D ultimately has nothing on big, bold widescreen"?
"The great 'Dark Knight Rises' debate: is IMAX or 3-D, cinema's future?"

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