Warner Bros. axes new 'Harry Potter' in 3D

11:19 AM PST 10/08/2010 by Gregg Kilday, AP

'Deathly Hallows, Part 1' will now only be released in 2D

Warner Bros. has scuttled plans to release its newest "Harry Potter" in 3D after deciding that it could not complete a successful 2D-to-3D conversion in time for the movie's release next month.

The studio said Friday that when "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1" arrives in theaters on Nov. 19, it will be in 2D, in both conventional theaters and Imax theaters, but that "we will not have a completed 3D version of the film within our release date window."

Warners still plans to release the final installment in the series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" in both 2D and 3D when it opens July 15.

In a statement, the studio said: "Despite everyone's best efforts, we were unable to convert the film in its entirety and meet the highest standards of quality. We do not want to disappoint fans who have long-anticipated the conclusion of this extraordinary journey."

Director David Yates added: "This decision, which we completely support, underscores the fact that Warner Bros. has always put quality first." While producer David Heyman said, "For 10 years, we have worked alongside [Warners president] Alan Horn and the studio, whose priority has always been to preserve the integrity of Jo Rowling's books as we have adapted them to the screen, and this decision reflects that commitment."

Working closely with the filmmakers, the studio had begun the conversion process, and according to Dan Fellman, Warners domestic distribution chairman, "the quality was exceptional," but with the clock ticking, it realized it would have to rush the work to complete it in time. "We made the decision because we want to protect the integrity of the franchise by making the best quality film we can," Fellman said.

Since the two installments of "Hallows" were shot back to back, the studio expects that it will have enough time to complete the conversion on "Part 2."

Recent 2D-to-3D conversions have been controversial, with many moviegoers and critics complaining about the look of the same studio's "Clash of the Titans," which underwent a similar conversion for release earlier this year.

While some fans expressed disappointment that the first part of "Hallows" won't be in 3D, others applauded the decision. "I'm REALLY GLAD that WB decided to not release it in 3D rather than a crappy post conversion and ruin the good name of HP," wrote one of the posters at Potter fan site theleakycauldron.com.

Warners experimented with the last two Potter movies by releasing Imax versions that did contain select 3D sequences. For example, the Imax version of "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" featured a 15-minute opening sequence in 3D.
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