Is 3D dying or maturing?

The 3D craze may have slowed to a virtual crawl, but one industry expert says the medium is evolving – not dying.

“Early this year, media pundits were declaring that 3D was revolutionizing the industry. Now those same people are declaring that it was only a novelty that is already fizzling out,” claimed Scott Hettrick.

“As usual, neither is true and both are exaggerations and over-simplifications of the natural evolution of the format.”

According to Hettrick, pundits prone to making “superficial assessments”  would have undoubtedly dismissed sound and color as “passing” fads.

“It’s as if once a new technology is introduced, every film using that technology must be a major hit or the technology will be blamed rather than the movie.

“That’s as ludicrous as pinning the disappointing performance of ‘Charlie St. Cloud’ on the fact that it was filmed in traditional 2D instead of 3D. [Clearly], the truth is too nuanced or not sexy enough for quick-hit pundits looking for a headline, a quote, and a booking on a TV program.”

Hettrick explained that the 3D slowdown can be attributed to a number of factors, including a limited number of 3D screens which becomes a “critical issue” when multiple 3D movies are released simultaneously.

“Do the math: the fewer available 3D theaters, the smaller the percentage of your overall gross. The bottom line is that 3D has already become mainstream to the point that people are continuing to show that they will pay a premium price to see quality 3D.

“And I have no doubt that the 3D percentage for upcoming films such as ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1’ and ‘Tron: Legacy’ will be back up near two-thirds or more.”

However, Hettrick conceded that most moviegoers would not pay extra to see poor quality 3D films.

“They won’t go see a movie they wouldn’t otherwise see just because it’s in 3D; and they won’t wait to see a movie in 3D if it is not available in 3D when they want to see it but it is showing in 2D.

“And none of that has anything to do with the consumer losing interest in 3D technology. Just the opposite; it means that a 3D movie is being judged by the same standards as any other movie. And that’s how it should be.”