Katy Perry Working Toward 3D Concert Filmby: Posted:
A 3D Katy Perry concert movie, you say, Paramount Pictures?
The one dimension she has annoys plenty. At what point doesn't tripling that start looking like throwing good money after bad?
Talks just started recently between Paramount and both Imagine Entertainment and Perry's people, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Though it's early, everybody seems sweet on the idea. Concert films have been back in a big, big way the last four years or so, thanks in no small part whatsoever to the simultaneous rise from the grave of the 3D format. In 2008, Disney's "Hannan Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best Of Both Worlds Concert Tour" made $65 million at the box office, and it was suddenly off to the races. "Michael Jackson's This Is It" - later re-released in 3D following the success of "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" with the 3D experience - capitalized in 2009 on the swell of adoration and loving remembrance following the King of Pop's death that year and set a worldwide box office record for a concert film with a $261-million global haul. More recently, 2011's "Never Say Never" set the domestic record by bringing in a cool $73 million.
Betwixt those two, there's also been "Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience" and "Glee: The 3D Concert Movie," which both make statements Paramount would really do well to heed, because both say something about why some modern concert movies work while others don't, as well as what makes a workable musical-performance documentary.
The people stirring this witch's brew may have the right idea. Perry's a colorful live entertainer whose main audience skews under 20 years old. Jackson and Bieber's respective movies fit the 3D format like hands in gloves in large part because both really bring their music to a, more than a different level, a new universe live. They're fast-paced, dynamic and theatrical, so anything that makes performers like that somewhat literally "leap off the screen" and into fans' laps takes the crack rocks of pop music and laces them with bits of rainbows and peanut butter. Perry's costume and set-piece-loaded live, arena-packing performances are like a Vegas stageshow that the doctors in "Akira" experimented on and grew to mammoth, potentially catastrophic proportions. They're great, amorphous blobs of glitter, lights, bright colors and dancing.
As long as you really, really like Perry, that's the good news.
Now, as frenetic live performer once said, hold your nose, 'cause here goes the cold water.
Those other artists whose concert films have something, to varying extents between them: they can all actually sing live. Running them down in ascending order, the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus may not be everybody's cup of tea, but they're at least securely mediocre enough that they'll impress the young and impressionable who don't know any better. Bieber? The Bieber backlash has more to do with over-exposure and horribly written songs (mostly someone else's) than necessarily his voice, which isn't bad.
Jackson? We're not even having that conversation. It's Michael Jackson. Of course the man can bring it.
Combine Perry with even moderately capable producers, mix-masters and songwriters, and they're greater than the sum of their parts. Give her a live mic, and unless you're on enough hallucinogens that you can hear colors, you have restaurant-quality nightmare fuel for your ears. The world's finest 3D processing can make a vibrant, colorful experience better, but live-performance audio is still garbage-in-garbage-out. High-quality capture of somebody sounding like hernia surgery being performed on a conscious Bassett hound just makes the unpleasantness more impossible to ignore.