Decatur theater dumps 3D

posted by CSWalczak on January 18, 2011 at 9:45 am

DECATUR, IL — The management of the Avon Theater has decided that 3D just is not a good fit for this theater. The high costs coupled with the preferences of the theater’s core audience were preventing the Avon’s investment in a Technicolor 3D system from paying off. The theater, unlike most others, did not charge a premium for 3D presentations.

“I sold the cameras back and told them ‘this is more trouble than it’s worth,’” the longtime theater opera-tor said. “I do regret that we ever did it. The Avon is really not the kind of place for 3D movies. The clientele is not the kind of audience for the movies that are usually released in 3D.”

Huston credited the theater’s “art-house roots” and “upscale commercial crowd” with making it a less than ideal venue to screen bombastic 3D blockbusters like “Clash of the Titans” or “Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore,” two films the theater took significant losses on due to underwhelming crowd response.

The full story appeared in the Herald-Review.

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Comments (20)

efriedmann
efriedmann on January 18, 2011 at 10:40 am

I sincerely hope this is a first step in finally burying this bullsh*t 3D craze once and for all!

terrywade
terrywade on January 18, 2011 at 11:10 am

Most movie studios are just filming in 2-D to save money and doing a bad convergance to 3-D. The theatre owners love to charge the extra $ for the 3-D hype when It is not true 3-D. When word gets out on these films the public will just go see the movie in 2-D and save the money. 3-D will be dead in a year. The movie companies never learn their lesson from 1953. To film a good movie with two cameras in 3-D done correct can look great but this phony digital 2-D to 3-D one projector 3-D system that is now out is bad news! Goodbye 3-D let’s bring 70mm back on large screens on select fims.

terrywade
terrywade on January 18, 2011 at 11:11 am

Most movie studios are just filming in 2-D to save money and doing a bad convergance to 3-D. The theatre owners love to charge the extra $ for the 3-D hype when It is not true 3-D. When word gets out on these films the public will just go see the movie in 2-D and save the money. 3-D will be dead in a year. The movie companies never learn their lesson from 1953. To film a good movie with two cameras in 3-D done correct can look great but this phony digital 2-D to 3-D one projector 3-D system that is now out is bad news! Goodbye 3-D let’s bring 70mm back on large screens on select fims.

KJB2012
KJB2012 on January 18, 2011 at 11:26 am

Well what does one expect when one doesn’t charge a premium on 3D.

I’ve never been to Decatur, so don’t know the area. Maybe folks there just aren’t into “event” films. I don’t know.

But I like 3D. If cinemas are going to survive, most of them need to add the “thrill” factor you can’t get at home.

70mm is great but it doesn’t “put you in the picture.”

laserdiscfan
laserdiscfan on January 18, 2011 at 11:30 am

I agree with Terry, we need to bring back 70mm. 3D just needs to die and stay dead. I heard there is a method of film projection that is forty eight frames per second that looks marvelous, even better than regular 35mm film projection. I believe Ebert wrote about it and said it was the best projection he has ever seen. I would rather see that come around to theatres instead of 3D and DLP.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on January 18, 2011 at 12:20 pm

If patrons are shunning 3D without a premium being charged for it, why would they find it more attractive at premium prices? What is the point of being “in the picture” if it is a picture you do not want to be in?

Hollywood is, as many many of us predicted, repeating history with regard to 3D – using it on inferior movies where it adds little or nothing. There have been other reports of the 2D presentations of films at multiplexes where the film is also playing on 3D where the 2D outsells the 3D version especially when it is a movie aimed at kids.

I agree: if I can’t have Cinerama back (the ultimate immersive experience to-date), at least give me 70mm.

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on January 18, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Its no wonder the theater loss money. They didn’t charge the usual premium and they booked the wrong films. Don’t recall many raves about “The Revenge of Kitty Galore.” If they had booked and rode the Avatar wave, they probably would have done much better. As with any film and 3D versions, there are always going to be good and bad ones.

As far as the faster projection format, that has been around for a few years. Supposedly, the costs of that format is far less then digital, which seems to become outdated as newer, higher resolution projectors become available.

In any case, we’re just going in circles with the 70mm vs digital format debate. Everyone laments over the disappearance of 70mm but unless you have trained caring projectionists handling and exhibitors that care about presentation, it’ll never ever come back. Today, it is push button automation that rules so that your megaplex makes the buck to keep the investor happy.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 18, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Good move.A good well written film does not need gadgets,but we know the majority of moviegoers are 14 to 24 years old.

efriedmann
efriedmann on January 18, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Kirk, why would you really want to be “put in the picture”??? The whole point of a good film is to WATCH and experience it from a viewer’s perspective. To “be in it” might as well be real life, and it’s just that – real life – that many try to get away from with a good story on the screen.

STUPID GIMICS DO NOT MAKE BETTER FILMS!

MPol
MPol on January 19, 2011 at 6:54 am

I agree, Eric F. 3D was clearly just a short-lived fad that lost its popularity almost as soon as it came in. Good for the theatre operators/managers for doing what they felt was the right thing, considering their audiences.

JSA
JSA on January 19, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Eric & Kirk

Every time I saw “2001: A Space Odyssey” in 70 MM + 6-track stereo, projected on a Cinerama screen, I was “in the picture”!!

Watching “Avatar”, I wanted to be out…

JSA

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on January 20, 2011 at 7:25 am

Arthouse cinemas are not the place for 3 D, so this one goofed, but mainstream movie theaters may continue with 3 D. It excites some movie goers, and that’s good.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on January 20, 2011 at 12:49 pm

I agree with Terry and Eric, bring back 70mm. I agree 3d is BS. I saw 2 3-D films last year and would not spend the money to see another one.

KJB2012
KJB2012 on January 20, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Being “put in the picture” is just a forerunner to the day when Virtual Reality takes over the cinema. Anyone who has experienced “Star Tours” at DisneyWorld knows how exciting it can be to “in the picture” including the rocking seats.
“2001” is another case in point. Okay it would better if in real life I could rocket out to Jupiter. But as far as I know even NASA is headed that way any time soon.
As for those films that you just sit and watch, I can do that at home.
Don’t get me wrong 70mm is great. But I don’t think it’s coming back.

movietheatres
movietheatres on January 20, 2011 at 5:02 pm

With regard to the actual issue at hand, this theater and it’s 3d, this guy is full of crap. There are no cameras to be sold back, tech 3d provided a leased lens that works with 35mm projectors.

I think th earlier poster hit it on the head about film selection. Disney, Sony, and Fox do not support this tech 3d format, so you’re left picking from the rest. The best grossing films this year using this tech 3d format have been Jackass, despic me, and megamind. This guy didn’t play 2 of those, so of course he wouldn’t do well with it. I think the real problem here is that this theater is an arthouse that for whatever reason can’t play all art films, so they fill the first run gaps but still won’t play the films, however ridiculous they are, that draw in the people. It’s really a great theater but needs to decide once and for all if it’s an arthouse or commercial house.

Personally, i hope the 3d dies fast because it’s so over done it is not special anymore. It’s a gimmick, but a gimmick isn’t a 24/7,365 kind of thing, it’s unique.

efriedmann
efriedmann on January 21, 2011 at 8:12 am

Oops! I spelled gimmicks wrong!

KJB2012
KJB2012 on January 23, 2011 at 2:34 pm

One could say that 70mm and Cinerama gimmick formats. People did not pack the Cinerama houses in the 50s to see great works of art. They went for a thrill ride and got it.
70mm did have great films like Ben-Hur or Lawrence of Arabia, but lets not forget other 70mm films like Battle of the Bulge, The Greatest Story Ever Told or Raintree County!
I think 3D has a place in film. But like Cinerama it is a gimmick. Will it last, depends on how many turkeys Hollywood releases in 3D.
Certainly when people saw “Ben-Hur” at the Loew’s State in 70, they went back to see other 70mm films because they were impressed with Ben-Hur".
But when they spent the extra money to sit through Battle of the Bulge they felt they got burned and didn’t rush out to next 70mm epic.
So it will be with 3D.

markp
markp on January 24, 2011 at 11:13 am

This is great news as far as I’m concerned. As a FILM projectionist for the past 35 years, I cant stand all this digital crap. We have 3 of them where I work, a 10 screen venue, and they’re nothing but trouble. Eats Xenon bulbs like crazy, constantly updating software, etc,. I agree with everyone else. 70mm would kick but on this digital stuff. And where I work, more amd more patrons dont want to see the movie in 3-D, let alone pay the extra surcharge. I laugh at AMC and Regal, who are just going all 3-D and rolling their old 35mm equipment straight into dumpsters. I predict they will regret the day they did this. But to them its nothing but money anyway, so what do they care. Both of them are the reason the industry is the way it is today.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on January 24, 2011 at 11:36 am

Just a small point with regard to the above comment (with which I essentially agree): the Technicolor 3D system is not digital; Technicolor created it to provide theater owners with a modern but non-digital alternative. But as noted in another comment, not all of the studios provide prints for this system. I posted a news item about it some time ago:http://cinematreasures.org/news/22063_0_1_0_C/. I have never seen a film using this system, but if anyone has, how does it compare to the digital presentations?

MPol
MPol on January 27, 2011 at 7:51 am

3D will undoubtedly go over like a lead balloon. 70mm movies are best, but not every area will have it, either because they don’t have the equipment for it, or because it can be and often enough is extremely expensive. Too bad, because I’d love to see some of those great, golden oldie-but-goody classic films come back in 70mm!

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