The New York Times waves the yellow flag.
Ripples of fear struck Hollywood last week after Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which cost Walt Disney Studios an estimated $400million to make and market, did poor 3-D business in North America.
... "The American consumer is rejecting 3-D," Richard Greenfield, an analyst at the financial-services company BTIG [said] ... Consumer rebellion over high 3-D ticket prices plays a role, according to analysts - as does the fading novelty of the funny glasses. ...
To tell the truth, I was never enamored of the funny glasses.
More truth: I spent a year looking at every 3-D release that rolled down the digital highway, Avatar, Christmas Carol, Monsters Vs. Aliens, Toy Story 3, Shrek Forever After, etc. and etc. The DreamWorks features have (for me) the best 3-D going. Jeffrey's crew knows when to punch it, and when to dial it back. DWA's 3-D effects work, I think, to heighten story more than other 3-D presentations.
And still the format leaves me cold. Every time I don the goggles and sit there in the dark I flash on my childhood, sitting on my bed looking at View Master pictures, pushing the little lever, snicking another 3-D color slide into place.
I think the time is approaching when audience resistance to higher 3-D prices equalizes ticket prices between dimensional and flat-screen cinema. Over the next decade, the format will run its course, and Hollywood will be able to suck less revenue out of audiences' wallets. (In the U.S., it's already happening.)
The lesson here is that more razzle dazzle won't drag audiences to the multiplex; better, more innovative stories will.