The Rerelease Revolution

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Posted At: April 17, 2012 9:00 PM
by Katie Kallam

The Rerelease Revolution

In her 2011 Platform Magazine blog post, Jaley Cranford wondered if the success of Disney’s rerelease of The Lion King in 3D would spark a new film revolution. Well, friends, the revolution is upon us.

The rerelease of classic films in 3D is a growing trend in Hollywood. In the year 2012, four movies will be released in 3D, and not just by Disney. Beauty and the Beast, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Titanic and Finding Nemo are all films that are continuing this 3D trend.

If you convert it, they will come

The revolution makes sense from a business standpoint. The studios already own these movies. It costs them relatively little to convert to 3D, and then they rake in the profit at the box office. According to a blog post by the Slate Group, Titanic cost $18 million to convert to 3D. The film cost over five times that much to make back in 1997. And yet the rerelease earned the studio a total gross of $36,149,000, and the number continues to grow as fans are still heading to theaters to see the film. Such rereleases make studios money.

Know your audience

But from a communications standpoint, are these movies really a success? It depends on who you ask.

Some people see these rereleases as a cheap way for studios to make money. They’re turned off by the idea of paying to see a movie in theaters that they already own or could rent. In a world where people can download virtually any movie they want from their computer, or rent one for $1 from a machine, why would they pay the exorbitant cost of seeing a movie in 3D?

This is a PR challenge that the studios need to be aware of when marketing these rereleases. They need to find some new angle to present or make the 3D more eye-popping than ever. There has to be some new element to these films that motivates moviegoers to pull out their wallets.

But some film lovers are fans of the 3D rerelease revolution. Seeing a classic film in 3D appeals to a sense of nostalgia that is common to moviegoers. Everyone remembers the first time they saw Beauty and the Beast, and many attended the classic Disney film in 3D to take them back to that younger time.

Again, studios need to know how to market to these nostalgia lovers. They need to choose movies that are still well-loved or even have a cult following. If people are still talking about a film, they’ll most likely pay to see it again in 3D. The studios need to be careful not to waste their time on converting movies into 3D that no one cares about.

And then there are those who are seeing these flicks for the first time. Many of the audience members paying to see 3D rereleases have never seen the film before. Teenage girls who were too young to see Titanic in 1997 are weeping over the love of Jack and Rose. Young children are giggling at the silliness of Timon and Pumbaa.

There will always be a new generation of moviegoers who are looking for something new. And in this case that something new just happens to be something old. Studios need to market 3D rereleases as must-sees, just as they would a new release. They also have the opportunity to create a new generation of fans who will buy merchandise, tell their friends and create buzz.

We all must make a decision when faced with a revolution. Whether you’re a skeptical saver, nostalgia junkie or first time fan, the rerelease revolution is here to stay.

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