Pop­u­lar­ity of 3D films flat­tens out in the US

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News - By Don­ald Clarke

Has the 3D bub­ble fi­nally burst? At San Diego’s re­cent Comic-Con event, Jon Favreau, di­rec­tor of the up­com­ing Cow­boys & Aliens, cast his eyes to heaven when asked why he wasn’t us­ing the process for his film.

Christo­pher Nolan, while dis­cussing In­cep­tion, called 3D “alien­at­ing”.

Last week, Cats & Dogs: The Re­venge of Kitty Ga­lore (see re­view, page 11) de­buted in the US, tak­ing a fairly pa­thetic $12.5 mil­lion (¤9.5 mil­lion), re­port­edly the small­est open­ing yet for a dig­i­tal 3D movie.

More sig­nif­i­cantly, the per­cent­age of view­ers opt­ing to pay for the specs rather than watch the cheaper, flat ver­sion has fallen steadily since Avatar’s tri­umph at the turn of the year – more than 70 per cent of Amer­i­can cin­ema­go­ers chose to watch James Cameron’s space opera in 3D. A few months later, 68 per cent took the bumpy op­tion when watch­ing How to Train Your Dragon. That went down to 61 per cent for Shrek For­ever Af­ter and, when M Night Shya­malan’s The Last Air­ben­der opened in June, just 56 per cent paid for 3D.

The last fig­ure could have been dragged down by the au­di­ence’s aware­ness that the film was not ac­tu­ally shot in 3D. Such retro-fit­ted ver­sions of the process have been even less im­pres­sive than “the real thing”.

Critic Roger Ebert’s ob­ser­va­tion that “3D is a waste of a per­fectly good di­men­sion, and Hollywood’s cur­rent crazy stam­pede to­ward it is sui­ci­dal” looks in­creas­ingly on the money.

Avatar may prove to be 3D’s high-wa­ter mark

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