Has the 3D bubble popped? Again?

December 8, 2017 9:16 am Published by 1 Comment

Hailed as the breakthrough in technology and propelled into mainstream by the big blue aliens of Avatar, 3D returned in the early 2000’s. However, since then cinemagoers have worked out that the extra experience isn’t worth the extra few pounds (or even £5!). This seems to be the case on domestic viewing too, with the sale of 3D TVs falling, Samsung, Sony and LG terminating the production of 3D televisions, is the bubble bursting for 3D cinema too?

Although at least 45% of UK cinema screens are equipped to show 3D, in 2016 3D accounted for 6.9% of the 2016 box-office. In 2016, 46 films were released in UK cinemas in premium formats beyond 2D – digital 3D, IMAX and IMAX 3D. Of these, 45 of them were released in 3D, 3 in IMAX and 19 in IMAX 3D, with some titles utilising all three formats.
Further to this, the combined UK box-office in 2D was £532.9 million compared to combined UK box-office in 3D, IMAX and IMAX 3D was £122.9m.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, “The biggest 3D draw of 2016 was Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book, which eared 43 percent of its opening weekend gross from 3D screens. While that pales in comparison to Avatar (70 percent), it was certainly better than the average 30 percent-35 percent that has become the norm.” Even more worrying, IMAX, the cinema operator that helped rise the modern era of 3D, recently announced that it had plans to reduce it’s 3D slate and to increase the availability of other films, like Dunkirk, that was filmed in 65mm and could take advantage of the larger screen size. This shift comes from reduced earnings from 3D movies:

“Consumers in many markets are showing a clear preference,” said Greg Foster, CEO of Imax Entertainment. “It’s apparent that the demand for 2D film is starting to exceed that of 3D in North America, and we’ll be looking to keep more of our films in 2D as a result.”

So will 3D regain populatity? Well, it came back before but the key here is for researchers to find a way in which to view 3D without the glasses. Maybe you could persuade me otherwise, but for now – 3D is dead. Again.

Notes:

Data collected from: ttps://www.launchingfilms.com/fdayearbook2017.pdf

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