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  • 3D | Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo

    3-D format on the decline

    By | July 26, 2010

    Source: The Studios & BTIG Research


    So what is the future of this reinvented technology brought forward to our modern day entertainment?

    The additional “dimension” has not only been forced upon us when we enter the theater, it is also adding a $5 premium to each box-office ticket. Most larger markets allow the theater goer the option to choose between theaters that are showing a particular film in 2D or 3D, where some smaller markets only have 1 or 2 theaters in their area who are only offering a film in it’s 3D format.

    I remain completely torn on the 3D subject. I really felt that UP, Toy Story 3, Despicable Me and Avatar had an additional value add theatrically in 3D; then again, once I pop in the Blu-rays at home for a second viewing, the enjoyment is just as pleasurable as the original theatrical 3D experience. Sure Spielberg is already on-board, and I can even understand why directors like David Lynch, Terry Gilliam and David Cronenberg would want to use such a format in their types of film. It makes complete sense to add 3D to animation, sci-fi, horror, and other high profile CG films, but do you ever see the need for the latest Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen or P.T. Anderson movie in this way?


    Avatar was shot in 3D and is the biggest success and beneficiary of the technology to date. It is seen as the poster-child that validates the added cost and the need to wear spectacles to receive the full potential of the filmmakers vision. However, films like Alice in Wonderland and Clash of the Titans were not shot in 3D, and it was added in later as an afterthought to jump on the trendy bandwagon. Both films raked in the box office dollars with the higher ticket prices, and several big shot directors have also said that they truly think 3D is the future of movies.

    But ultimately it’s not the decision of the directors or the studios of the Hollywood machine. Mainstream audiences are gradually answering the billion dollar question, and it looks as if the novelty might be wearing off.

    The stats in the chart above show opening weekend box office percentages from 3D releases. I may not be a financial analyst for the industry, but a 26% drop in a 7 month time frame cant be a good sign. It must be noted though, that several of 2010’s 3D releases including Clash of the Titans & Alice in Wonderland, are mysteriously missing from the report even though 3D screenings accounted for over 50% of their openings.

    Stats will be looked at from every angle and skewed to support either side, but it does look quite obvious that people are growing cold to the gimmick since nothing as visually striking as Avatar has released in the first half of 2010. However, this may all change as we approach December and the release of TRON: Legacy. I personally can’t think of another film perfectly suited for 3D, and a true test of it’s longevity in the interests of moviegoers. Let us know your thoughts by commenting below.


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