Stung by criticism that it rushed the conversion of "Clash of the Titans" into 3-D, Warner Bros. is playing it safe with "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1."
The studio said Friday it would not release a planned 3-D format of the movie when it opens Nov. 19, saying it didn't have enough time — despite several months of work — to complete the conversion of the seventh Harry Potter film.
"Despite everyone's best efforts, we were unable to convert the film in its entirety and meet the highest standards of quality," the studio said in a statement. "We do not want to disappoint fans who have long-anticipated the conclusion of this extraordinary journey."
The move appears aimed at avoiding a repeat of the controversy that erupted last spring when consumers and critics widely panned the quality of the 3-D effects in "Clash of the Titans," one of a slew of films that Hollywood studios scrambled to convert to 3-D after the blockbuster success of James Cameron's science-fiction epic "Avatar."
About 60 movies are scheduled to be released in 3-D over the next two years and theaters have been rushing to add enough screens to accommodate the crush of movies, which have helped deliver gains at the box office for exhibitors this year.
The onslaught has led some filmmakers and executives to openly question the quality of some of the 3-D conversions and the types of movies that are being selected for the stereoscopic format.
"Harry Potter" director David Yates and producer David Heyman expressed support for the decision in a joint statement.
"For 10 years, we have worked alongside [Warner Bros. 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."
The studio did say it planned to release the second installment of the final "Harry Potter" film as scheduled, on July 15, 2011, in both 2-D and 3-D formats in conventional and Imax theaters.
A Warner Bros. spokeswoman declined to say if "Part 1" would eventually be released in 3-D.