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Disney 3D Conversions in Jeopardy: Convoluted Legal Stuff Does Something Right For Once

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | January 8, 2013 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | January 8, 2013 |

There are two types of 3D movies. There are those that are filmed full 3D to start with, and in the right hands can be visually stunning. Worth the entry fee is another question of course. Then there is the second category: conversions. Every one hates conversions, except for leeches, because they’re used to watching all their films through a layer of muddy water anyway. Hell, James Cameron and Michael Bay are even on the same side of the argument, which is probably a first. Cameron’s argument boils down to “that looks like shit, stop it,” while Bay’s is “you may think my movies are shit, but at least they don’t literally look like shit, stop it.”

The thing is that conversion is significantly cheaper and easier than just doing it right in the first place, and so the fact that consumers and movie makers all hate it means that it just keeps on happening anyway. That is, until Delaware bankruptcy judge Brendan Shannon had his say in the matter.

What follows is an undoubtedly completely inaccurate account of the legal nuances of the case. If you don’t like it, go read a law blog. What do I look like, Ally McBeal?

See, the technology that Disney has been using for upcoming conversions like Thor 2 and Iron Man 3 is technically owned by a company called Digital Domain, which has since gone into bankruptcy. Disney had a three picture agreement with the company, and it used the technology originally on G-Force, Alice in Wonderland, and Tron Legacy. Disney has reportedly been blindsided by the idea that “three picture agreement” does not in fact mean “if they go bankrupt we can just use their technology for free, right?” It seems that the sale of Digital Domain’s assets has not even begun to cover their debts, and incredibly their pissed off creditors kind of sort of don’t want Disney using their intellectual property for free.

So Judge Shannon told Disney to shut it all down, or he’d send Walt’s frozen head off to a lighthouse crawlin’ with gators. Now, this is inevitably a temporary situation, but we can dream can’t we?

(source: THR)

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.