With Avatar quickly soaring towards a $1 billion gross worldwide, it’s safe to say that — regardless of whether expectations of “eyeball fucking” were met across the board — 3D film now has more cachet than ever. This year, moviegoers can expect the resurgent technology to be the buzzword on the tip of every Hollywood execs’ tongue — and a bear named Yogi, a jackass or three, and even James Cameron himself will be coming along to reap the rewards.
Opens: April 16th
Ironically enough, the first 3D release of the New Year is this belated follow-up to 1981’s Piranha II: The Spawning — Avatar director Cameron’s first full-length feature. With the disturbingly talented Alexandre Aja of The Hills Have Eyes fame helming, this boobs and blood-fueled flick might wind up being more memorable than its “killer fish” high premise might seem otherwise.
Toy Story 3D
Opens: June 18th
Back in 1995, the original Toy Story set the standard for computer animation and made Pixar a household name. Fifteen years on, it seems only natural then that this long-gestating third entry in the adventures of Woody and Buzz Lightyear will be pushing the 3D envelope just a little bit further.
Opens: July 9th
Led by Office funnyman Steve Carell, this CGI feature is Universal‘s bid for summertime family box office greatness — and the first of two 2010 3D kiddie flicks with a supervillian in the lead role.
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore
Opens: July 30th
A sequel to a scarcely remembered 2001 live action feature, expect this quick cash grab be to reach Squeakel-esque levels of derision from parents and critics alike come July. Consider yourself warned.
Step Up 3D
Opens: August 6th
Disney takes yet another of their franchises into 3D this summer with what is sure to be instantly forgettable tween fare with the world of “underground dance” standing in for a high school musical or anything Jonas.
Friday the 13th: Part 2
Opens: August 13th
Retreading the gimmick and subject matter behind 1982’s Friday the 13th 3D, this is a twice-wold sequel to last year’s lackluster reboot of the Jason franchise. In keeping with its slasher film roots, however, genre fans can expect lots of eye gouging and machete-towards-the-audience action.
Guardians of Ga’Hoole 3D
Opens: September 24th
Director Zack Snyder cut his teeth on the pitch black subject matter of Dawn of the Dead and 300, so his choice to adapt Kathryn Lasky‘s series of children’s fantasy novels after 2009’s Watchmen was an interesting one. The potent combination of Snyder’s stylistic eye combined with computer animation is already stirring up a lot of positive buzz, so this will be one to watch both literally and figuratively.
Alpha and Omega 3D
Opens: October 10th
Yet another kids-only production, Alpha and Omega tells the tale of two wolves forming an unlikely (cough) romance after being removed from their native habitat. Heroes‘ Hayden Panettiere and “Mac Guy” Justin Long do the vocal heavy-lifting for their CGI counterparts.
Opens: October 15th
A decade after they first made waves on MTV, Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera and the rest of the Jackass gang are reuniting for what is not only one of the least demanded sequels of all time, but also quite probably the most disgusting utilization of 3D tech yet. (We can dig it.)
Saw VII 3D
Opens: October 22nd
Proving once and for all that diminishing returns and critical tongue-lashings can’t stop a horror franchise, Saw is coming back — for the seventh time — and now in 3D. Along with the aforementioned Cats & Dogs, this promises to be the nadir of 3D — nay cinema as a whole –in 2010.
Opens: November 5th
The second 3D supervillian-centric kids film of 2010, MegaMind trumps its competition with Will Ferrell voicing the title role and Brad Pitt sidling up as his do-gooder arch-nemesis. Jonah Hill and Tina Fey round out the A-list talent for what promises to be the fall’s crossover family comedy.
Open: December 17th
Picking up 25 years after the end of the (still) visually stunning 1982 original left off, “Tr2n” is 2010’s true to successor to Avatar in terms of both effects and escapist, sci-fi fun. With Jeff Bridges returning to one of his most memorable roles outside of “The Dude” and Daft Punk providing the soundtrack, this could be a 3D marriage made in geek heaven.
Opens: December 17th
Jellystone Park is coming to the big screen and — for the first time ever — two heavyweight 3D releases will square off on the weekend before Christmas. Dan Aykroyd is smart choice for Yogi, but the casting of Justin Timberlake as Boo Boo will probably leave many shaking their heads. (We’ll take Tron for our dose of strip-mined childhood nostalgia, thank you very much.)
Opens: Late 2010 (Final Date TBA)
Not one to sit on his hands, James Cameron will have his name attached to one film in 2010 — but in a production capacity alone. Having lent the cameras and technology behind Avatar out for this true story of 15 divers stranded in an underwater cave system, Sanctum promises even more top-notch 3D effects — and along with a healthy dose of claustrophobic thrills — for what’s being billed an “underwater survival drama.”