Thursday, August 05, 2010

3D Fading?

The above charts come from this article which suggests that the novelty of 3D is rapidly diminishing. Clearly, people are choosing to see movies flat, either because they find the glasses uncomfortable or aren't willing to pay a premium for stereoscopic images.

Supply and demand factors into this as well. One of the commenters to the above article suggested that more recent films are not able to find as many 3D screens as there are so many 3D films in the marketplace. It may also be that the increasing supply of 3D is simply overwhelming whatever demand there is.

It will be interesting to watch this trend. Last year's box office gross set a record, but attendance was only average. Price increases made up the difference. If people start avoiding 3D in large numbers, Hollywood will definitely suffer at the box office.


Brubaker said...

Judging by the pattern dating back to the 1950s 3D craze, it'll return sometime around the 2040s.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's more because of how poor the economy has become. It's becoming more expensive just to go to the movies now. From personal experience, the tickets for a 3D film can be up to 12 dollars. Honestly, I think that the average viewer would rather just wait for the movie to come out a few months on DVD and rent it then, when it is at a cheaper price than what it would cost at the theaters.

As Brubaker said, 3D was a popular 1950s trend in cinema. It's not even a new concept, and it has been around for decades. I think that it tends to become popular at certain points in time and that even though the craze is starting to wane again, it will be a comeback in subsequent years to come.

stevef said...

Whoops! Somebody better tell the television networks. They're making big and expensive plans to go 3D even as we continue to pay for the switch to HD.

JPilot said...

"No one will ever want to watch movies in a tiny screen you hold in your hand."
"Why would you use a computer to read a book? just buy a book already!"
"These multiplex theatres will never make money."
The list goes on forever of examples showing that the more you decry a trend as a fad, the more it's here to stay.

Aaron Long said...

I've never enjoyed seeing a movie in 3D. At first it hurts my eyes, then once I get used to it I just forget that it's there. It never enhances the movie for me in any way, so I consider it a waste of money. I find it reassuring to hear that it's largely just a fad.

I'm sure that the big blockbusters will continue to have 3D versions available, but it probably won't ever become the norm for every single movie, as Katzenberg and others were predicting it would.

Steve Schnier said...

I question the analysis. To compare the box office returns of "Cats and Dogs Part 2" to "Avatar" is insane.

Very few people would pay to see the former (3D or not) while EVERYONE saw Avatar. The difference? "Avatar" was an A-list movie in every aspect, while "Cat's and Dogs" was justifiably savaged in the reviews.

When the next big 3D "tentpole" movie comes out, the numbers will be back up.

J Lee said...

Walked into a Best Buy on Saturday -- Samsung has a 3-D TV set display set up, so you can go into this little cubicle, put the glasses on and watch whatever 3-D movie is playing on the set. No takers, at least at 3:30 p.m.

(I was also in Dallas last year when -- as a tie-in to the 3-D release of "Avatar" -- the third quarter of the Cowboys-Chargers game was shown in 3-D on the 60-yard long video screen at the team's new stadium. During a time-out halfway through the quarter, the PA announcer gets on and excitedly yells "HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR COWBOY-VISION IN 3-D?" In unison 90,000 people -- Cowboys fans, Chargers fans, the cheerleaders, Phil Simms and Jim Nantz in the CBS booth -- everyone starts booing as loudly as possible, then cheer as they shut off the 3-D broadcast six minutes early. Until Hollywood and the TV networks can do 3-D without any blurry screen or required glasses, the current craze is likely to die in the same way the one 55 years ago did.)