Popularity of 3D films flattens out in the US
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