Yes, 3D is making money

Sure, 3D has its detractors and, er, rather loud critics. But the format – which is rapidly evolving – still manages to generate a tidy sum of money for a number of Hollywood studios.

Indeed, North American 3D movie theater revenue amounted to $2.2 billion in 2010, up 85 percent from $1.2 billion in 2009. 

“Almost 5,000 new 3D screens were upgraded in North American cinemas in 2010, an annual record, for a total 3D screen count in excess of 8,450, up from 3,548 in 2009,” senior IHS analyst Charlotte Jones told TG Daily in an e-mailed statement.

“Furthermore, 25 major feature films were released in 3D in North American cinemas in 2010, an all-time high primed to rise further to around 40 major movie releases in 3D for 2011.

“Of these 3D movies in 2010, 18 ranked among the Top 100 films in terms of revenue generation for the year, and five of the 3D titles made the Top 10.”

As expected, Twentieth Century Fox’s Avatar – although released in 2009 – was the leading title in 3D revenue for 2010, followed by Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3.

Of course, 

It should be noted that revenue for 3D movies in 2010 was boosted by higher ticket prices relative to 2D titles. For example, 3D tickets during 2010 were priced in the region of $10.84, 40 percent higher than a standard 2D movie ticket at $7.34.

“The North American 3D box office market has advanced quickly in recent years, rising from $7.8 million in 2005,” Jone explained.

“Revenue will continue to rise in the coming years, with 3D expected to account for 40 percent of North American box office revenue in 2015.”