Americans are putting down their tinted 3D glasses and choosing to see more films in old-fashioned, cheaper two dimensions this summer, according to a report by B. Riley & Co analyst Eric Wold.
Ticket sales for 3D versions of films including last weekend's "The Wolverine" and the recent animated offering "Turbo" hit new lows for the format over the last two weekends, Wold reports, dipping to just 25 percent of the total box office in the case of "Turbo."
"We have become increasingly concerned that these lower levels will actually represent the norm going forward versus a recent exception as consumers are likely to remain increasingly choosy with 3D premiums," Wold wrote in a note to investors. ...
The novelty aspect of three dimensions has lasted a lot longer than it did in the 1950s. Then, the craze was over in eighteen months. This time the format has gone on for years.
This is a lot longer than I imagined it would last. (And, of course, it's still going strong in other parts of the world.)
I saw a lot of 3-D went it first came out. I saw all the early DreamWorks Animation offerings, and thought they were well done. I enjoyed Avatar. I saw Zemeckis's Christmas Carol in the dimensional aspect and found parts of it good and parts of it irritating. But I gave up on the format when, after watching Toy Story 3 with the annoying glasses on a dim screen, my teen-aged son turned to me and said:
"So why is it that we're watching this in 3-D?"
I had no answer. And I haven't seen a 3-D feature -- live-action or animated -- since. I would disagree with Mr. Katzenberg when he compares three dimensions to Technicolor back in the thirties and forties. I don't think there's really any comparison, but everyone is entitled to their own view of the world. Basically, I think 3-D is a gimmick that Americans are getting tired of, particularly when they have to pay extra money to see it.
Nevertheless, Moving View Master will be with us awhile yet, since foreign lands still watch it a lot, and there is money yet to be made. But I don't think it will be the End-All and Be-All of 21st century cinema.