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Is 3D Already Dying?

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Earlier today I reported on the unlikelihood that the next Batman movie will be in 3D. But is that a fluke or part of a trend? If box office numbers are any indication, it's definitely the latter.


Since the high-water mark of Avatar, where 71% of the revenue came from 3D screenings, numbers for big-budget 3D movies have plummeted to less than 50%.

Obviously Avatar was a unique case in that it was basically sold as a 3D "experience," so if you saw it in 2D you were missing out. But then three months later the animated How to Train Your Dragon pulled in 68% of its revenue from 3D screens, hardly a significant drop-off.


Fast forward a mere four months and you have Despicable Me, another 3D animated kids movie, pulling in 45% of its revenue from 3D screens. As you can see by The Wrap's chart below, it's a pretty clear trend.

What's this mean? It means that now that people have had a chance to experience 3D in theaters, they're opting to spend $10 on a 2D screening rather than $15 on a 3D screening when given the option.

It's not great news for Hollywood studios that have sunk boatloads of money into 3D cameras and tech, but it's much, much worse news for consumer electronics companies such as Sony and Panasonic who are betting the farm on people wanting to upgrade two-year-old HDTVs to 3D HDTVs. But if Hollywood finds that making 3D movies isn't as profitable as they thought, they'll stop doing it. And without that content, no one will have any reason to buy a 3D TV.


Sucks for them, but it's good news for consumers who are voting with their wallets. No more inflated ticket prices and no need to buy a new TV for a feature no one ever really wanted? Sounds good to me. [The Wrap via Ebert]