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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…