Monday, 26 July 2010

Another nail in the coffin of the 3D industry

I was just reading a report from some recent studies of the 3D movies recently released, on NZ's news site

It looks like the love affair with 3D movies is already past its use-by date. Wait - already? What am I saying - it took longer than I expected.

In short, some figures from the reported findings:

  • December 2009 - Avatar 3D, approx 71% of the audience watched in 3D
  • March 2010 - How To Train Your Dragon 3D, approx 68% of the audience watched in 3D
  • May 2010 - Shrek Forever After 3D, the figure had dropped to 61%
  • July 2010 - The Last Airbender 3D, down to 56%
  • Later in July 2010 - Despicable Me 3D - 45%

And still they haven't figured it out - "Critics say part of the problem may be the technology itself". Nope, it's the fact that the audience isn't clamouring for 3D in a cinema. It's a solution desparately looking for a problem to solve, and there isn't a problem. We like 2D. Really, we do!

I saw three other quotes this week on the subject. The first one is from the film critic Roger Ebert, and is listed at the above link as well (near the end) - "3D is a waste of a perfectly good dimension and Hollywood's current crazy stampede towards it is suicidal".

 The second one was a figure I saw on, from ComicCon'2010. Apparently they conducted a survey during their panel, and found that "out of 450 people surveyed, 450 don’t want 3D for ‘The Hobbit’". Sounds like the audience really doesn't want it, doesn't it? Ok, so 450 isn't a huge scientific sample, but at ComicCon, they're pretty dedicated film watchers. I'm hoping the eventual makers of the film listen to the audience.

The last quote I unfortnately can't find back right now (it was on a podcast that I haven't seen transcribed anywhere). Apparently, when Sir Ian McKellen was in Wellington, he me up with some of the Weta technicians, one of whom asked him what he thought of Avatar 3D, to which he replied something along the lines of "you know, theatre is in 3D?"... classic. Obviously he wasn't too impressed with the "advances" in technology. Go Sir Ian. :)

In essence, that's what the big bucks have been trying to emulate - the theatre experience. For some reason, it's what everyone is supposed to want (but very few actually do).

I know I've blogged about this a few times before, (ok, ok, they weren't so much blogs as rants), but I feel very strongly about 3D. It was a gimick in the 1950's, it was a gimick in the 1960's. It's still a gimick now. If they ever solve the "stupid glasses" problem, I'm prepared to look at it again but I doubt very much whether we'll all still be talking about 3D in 2012 ((before the apocalypse, obviously)). It'll be a long forgotten fad by then, and all your expensive glasses and 3D TVs will be under your beds, resting in peace with your slinkies and your hula-hoops.

You can quote me on that in 2013.

  - Jack M.


  1. While I'd agree with you somewhat, what we've also got to remember is the fact that the audience HATED technicolour and HATED talkies back in the day. But that changed with time.
    Maybe the popularity will rise when more stereoscopic 3D films are released.

  2. I have, more or less completely given up going to see films because of 3D, I wound up losing my lunch in the parking lot after watching Avatar and so simply have never attempted another 3D film.

    I tried and tried to find a cinema showing "How to Train your Dragon" in 2D.. I never managed it, and so now I have to wait till its on DVD in order to watch it. I will wind up having to do the same with Captain America, Thor, and The Avengers as well which are all being shot in Native 3D..

    I would be absolutely gutted if "The Hobbit" was filmed in that format..

    if 3D is the future of Cinema, then I'm afraid this is the end of my relationship with it..

  3. I HATE 3D with a *passion.*

    Let's just say I haven't seen a 3D movie in years. If they so much as do the Hobbit like that...

  4. And right below your post Jack (in my Google Reader) was this which I think all the 3D "haters" will enjoy

  5. I Feel 3D filming still has a place in Nature Documentories and Recording History.

    What Makes Good Movies is Art and Tallent.

    Leave the technology to the Playstation Boffins!

  6. Well, just to be different(ahem). I saw my first ever 3-d movie 2 weeks ago; toystory 3. And although i am grown-up, i had a wonderful time and felt like a kid; wide-eyed and laughing. Funnily enough though towards the end of the movie I wasn't really noticing the 3-d effect much. We did have to really clean the glasses with a soft tissue first, it had a lot of popcorn fingerprints on it . I didn't get dizzy , but then I don't get seasick in a 6 metre swell either.
    Yes I would go again, I want to see the one with all the owls.

  7. for me, 3D is terrible. since i don't have depth perception, all i get is a fuzzy film that flips the double aspect of the image (to create the 3D effect) left, right, left right, and eventually just gives me a headache.

    i love movies as they are. i'm not interested in Smellivision either, in case anyone with such an idea is taking notes. i might even venture to say that i like them with only modest, largely invisible digital effects.

    Jenifer, not Ryan, btw!

    sorry to be such a killjoy about it, btu seriously, good old celluloid cannot be beat.