We’ve been seeing news stories about the decline of 3D ticket sales for a couple of years now, but studios are continuing to push forward with 3D releases for most of their major blockbusters. To be fair, they don’t really have a choice; theatre owners have spent millions of dollars upgrading their systems to be 3D capable and they expect plenty of content to support it. Unfortunately, there just aren’t many movies being released where 3D is an essential part of the experience. Audiences are continuing to speak with their wallets by avoiding 3D screenings in droves, and this past weekend has seen one of the lowest 3D turnouts on record. Despicable Me 2 recorded just 27% of its opening weekend gross from 3D screenings, while most other summer movies haven’t fared much better. Could this really be the beginning of the end for 3D?
According to EW, Despicable Me 2’s opening weekend is being called “the lowest 3-D share in modern box office history.” 3D ticket sales for animated movies in general have been slow, which is ironic because they are arguably the most flexible and easiest to convert. However, it makes sense because the 3D ticket prices really add up when a whole family is attending a movie.
Even some of the summer’s biggest movies like Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness took less than 50% of their box office from 3D screenings. The Great Gatsby, which was marketed as a 3D extravaganza, was at just 33%. When you compare those numbers to movies from a few years ago like Avatar (71%) and Tron Legacy (82%), it’s clear that the novelty of 3D has worn off. At this point, it’s going to be up to James Cameron to wow us with Avatar 2 and 3, otherwise I think the writing is on the wall. Do you think 3D is dying or is this just a temporary lull? What was the last movie that was worth seeing in 3D?