Is 3D finally done?

With a lot of film fans, all it takes is one simple term to get their hackles up: 3D. Yes, the format was termed the salvation of the industry some years back, and it’s now a necessary evil to get your movie played in China.

But could we finally be reaching the point where 3D is finally going to go away, or is this just wishful thinking?


With the collapse of the economy, Hollywood was desperately looking for a magic bullet to bring people back to theaters. Back in the early fifties, the movie biz faced a similar crisis with the advent of television, which kept millions of American families at home. The solution? 3D – and the audiences did indeed return.

Now The Wrap is reporting that “the 3D boom is leveling off,” which also means the big ticket prices that come with 3D films may also soon be a memory. (The 3D ticket prices made a big difference with The Avengers, and helped take it to #3 on the all time money makers charts, but there’s no doubt it was going to be a big blockbuster, 3D or no).

The Wrap cites a Morgan Stanley report claiming that “3D attendance has been declining on a per-film basis since the release of Avatar, and we expect the growth in 3D film releases to flatten out.” Despite the fact that Avatar did a lot for 3D, many pundits believed it was always going to be a stand-alone blockbuster that certainly wasn’t going to carry any inferior 3D films on its back.

There’s also new tech trend that Hollywood claims will next change the business: 48 frames a second. Having seen footage of The Hobbit in 48 FPS, audiences have certainly been skeptical, and it could take some time for this new technology to stick, if it ever does.

Nevertheless, the Morgan Stanley report points out there are twenty-five 3D movies coming out next year, and that “the pricing benefit from more 3D films is largely over.” Theaters also weren’t in a huge rush to update their systems to more 3D ready technology,so there hasn’t exactly been a lot of growth for the technology.

At the same time, the report claims that even with Hollywood predicting so much doom and gloom about the industry, the box office should be up 4-6% by the end of the year with the new James Bond flick, Skyfall, and Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2. Both those movies will of course be huge hits, fancy technology or not. Remember, whether a movies in 3D or 48 frames a second, if you don’t have a good movie underneath it to begin with, it neither format will help one bit.