Is 3D finally done?

Although there are many films out there in 3D, you don’t hear about it much in the news these days, and for many movie-goers, that’s a blessing. It wasn’t that long ago that 3D was hyped as the magic bullet that was going to save the industry, yet people got tired of the hyperbole in a hurry.

Jurassic Park 3D, which came out on April 5, did good business, but it still got beat out by the Evil Dead remake. This could almost be expected, because a 3D conversion would never make the same business as a blockbuster’s first time around. Yet there’s still 3D conversions going on, because it’s a crucial component to get your movie played in China. We’re relying more on foreign box office than ever these days, which is why Guillermo Del Toro had to convert his upcoming Pacific Rim in 3D. Indeed, 69% of a movie’s take these days comes from overseas markets.

The Wrap confirms 3D is still strong overseas, but the site also adds that domestically the heat is cooling off, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Writer Brent Lang tells us that 3D in China and Russia accounts for 90% of the box office take for movies in those countries, but in the U.S. it’s 40-60%. As one source told The Wrap, “In places like China, the blush is still on the rose. It’s considered trendy and very hip, and all these theaters are desperate for 3D product.”

Converting a movie to 3D also cuts down on piracy overseas. You can’t bootleg a 3D move and resell it on the corner because it won’t work watching it at home. Meanwhile, there’s nine screens being built in Asia, and six of them are set up for 3D. In the States, there were 45 3D releases in 2011, which went down to 36 3D releases in 2012. 

Even if 3D comes crashing to a halt tomorrow, there will still be 3D movies being made, like Avatar 2. But by and large, you had the feeling that the latest return of 3D would have lasted a few years or so, which it pretty much has. As we all knew, great 3D movies would stand out, but there’s no way it would have been a cure all for Hollywood’s financial ills.