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Has 3D Jumped The Shark Already?

Posted by Andrew at 2:20 AM on July 27, 2010

The Daily Telegraph reports on concerns in Hollywood that the 3D goldrush is already over.  Based on recent audience figures, it appears that the percentage of audiences choosing the extra dimension is falling.

It cites as evidence the percentage of audiences that watched the 3D version for a series of films, starting with Avatar back in December.

  • Avatar – 71%
  • How To Train Your Dragon – 68%
  • Shrek Forever After – 61%
  • Last Airbender – 56%
  • Despicable Me – 45%

Proponents of 3D say that the problem is not that audiences are choosing to watch 2D but rather that the limited number of 3D screens is impacting on figures; only 1 in 8 screens can show 3D.

Others point to films such as Clash of the Titans for putting off cinemagoers as the 3D effects were added in post-production.  Jeffrey Katzenberg says, “We’re still at the beginning of this and not all 3D is equal, and consumers are beginning to realise this. There have been lesser 3D movies released and there’s already been a backlash against it.”  Chris Nolan, director of the Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and current release Inception, has refused to film in 3D.

James Cameron, director of Avatar, has also pointed out, “After Toy Story, there were ten really bad CG movies because everybody thought the success of that film was CG and not great characters that were beautifully designed and heartwarming. Now, you’ve got people quickly converting movies from 2D to 3D, which is not what we did. They’re expecting the same result, when in fact they will probably work against the adoption of 3D because they’ll be putting out an inferior product.”

It will be interesting to see if his prediction is correction and there is a resurgence in 3D once the effect itself is no longer the draw and the characters and story become important again.

Frankly, I’m in the 2D camp at the moment.  3D is fun, but the glasses do detract from the experience and those films where the effect is added in post-production are definitely inferior.  What’s your experience been?

Perhaps those people who really want 3D should consider going to a play…

2 Comments

  1. From tomwiles at 4:18 am on July 27, 2010

    3D has always been a huge gimmick. Sure, it’s fun for the occasional short specialty piece where they throw the obligatory knives in your face. However, for anything more than about 15 or 20 minutes it’s distracting. After I watched “Avatar” in 3D in the theater I felt rather fatigued. 3D wearing glasses is NOT a natural experience. In the real world we have depth perception, and 3D wearing glasses simply does not replicate anything close to a real-world experience. 3D added absolutely NOTHING to the Avatar storyline. “Hey this is 3D, let’s occasionally throw stuff at the audience!!!!!”

    A couple of months back I checked out the 3D TV on display at my local Best Buy store with the snazzy $150 dollar special glasses, and the experience was even worse. After just a few minutes I felt like I was staring at a jittering neon display.

    3D movies or a 3D TV? Not on my buy list.

  2. From lewis kit at 2:46 pm on July 27, 2010

    Its true that the 3D effects added nothing to the storyline of Avatar but I still think that the 3D in Avatar really made it a great experience, with rich and vibrant colours and this was one of the things that I enjoyed most about it.

    I walked out of Avatar feeling thoroughly satisfied that I had just seen a great film.

    The article raises a good point about other films that have added 3D post production, which will not deliver the same effect, which is totally true in my opinion.