Could the 3D fad die like it did during the 50’s?

posted by moviebuff82 on April 2, 2010 at 7:40 am

According to an article in theWall Street Journal,), the recent glut of 3D films have moviegoers confused, leaving the future of 3D movies in doubt.

But for movies that are shot in 2-D and converted later, the retrofitting seems to be an afterthought, a ploy designed to rake in more bucks at the box office rather than proffer a mind-altering experience. In “Alice,” for example, save for a whizzing tea cup or two, the viewer barely notices the effect. The whole point of 3-D is for the mode to exceed previous limitations and provide the audience with an experience that formerly was unimaginable. If the film doesn’t do that, who will find it compelling once the novelty wears off?

Comments (27)

nerwall16 on April 2, 2010 at 8:43 am

i wrote an entire episode based on this very idea for the web series underbelly for the popular video game sight
ill post the link when it goes live, we cover the 50’s 80’s and current trend

Eric Friedmann
Eric Friedmann on April 2, 2010 at 10:16 am

It died in the ‘50’s and it died in the early '80s. Oh, I hope and pray it dies again, because I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay $19.50 for ANY kind of movie ticket! I’d sooner stop going to the movies for the rest of my life!

John Fink
John Fink on April 2, 2010 at 11:08 am

Agreed – a quality immerse experience should be included in the base ticket price of any modern multiplex, the fake IMAX, EXT, and XD screens hopefully will end up shooting themselves in the foot (although I doubt it, the average consumer isn’t sophisticated enough to really care, they show up to see the 9PM show regardless of the extra bells and whistles aside from 3-D and IMAX).

I’ve seen 3-D films that use it well (Avatar, of coarse, but also Coraline and even My Blood Valentine 3-D I’ll give credit to) and others not so much (Alice in Wonderland was boring even in 3-D). But not every movie needs the 3-D treatment, I will stop going if every movie even character driven dramas are in 3-D. This is just like the multiplex boom and bust, overzealous exhibitors jump on stadium seating and end up cannibalizing each other because they think any area can sustain 3 20-plexes within 10 miles of each other.

nerwall16 on April 2, 2010 at 1:02 pm

issue is, companies are spending so much to update to digital cinema the studios have to put out more 3D to justify said updates so we get more crap….i refuse to pay 17 buts to have tyler perry in my face, sorry

moviebuff82 on April 2, 2010 at 2:19 pm

When 3D movies start to die out, then the projectors can be also used to show live events and 2d projection.

KramSacul on April 2, 2010 at 8:17 pm

With the success of Avatar and other 3-D films I don’t think 3-D is dying out anytime soon.

John Fink
John Fink on April 2, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Agreed Newt, I’m not going to see Why Did I Get Married 3-D! (Although I had a rather fun experience at the opening night of Why Did I Get Married Too this evening)

CapnRob on April 2, 2010 at 11:47 pm

If the movie looks like a good movie, I’ll go see it. A crap movie in 3D is still crap (see “Comin' at Ya! (1981). Save 3D for the thrill rides.

john123 on April 3, 2010 at 12:51 am

I don’t see the fuss about 3D. Call me old-fashioned, but I think a good script, good acting and good direction are what is important to a movie or TV show. Avatar was terrible, but it looked good. But that’s not enough for me. I like watching online video sites and keep up to date with but I can’t see what the 3D hype is all about. I think in 2 years, 3D will be yesterday’s news. Don’t believe the hype, 3D is just another gimmick.

Vito on April 3, 2010 at 3:30 am

One of the probems with the 1950s 3-D was with the projection. We had many problems with sync motor breakdowns and improberly trained projectionists. In addition, since we did not have mylar stock back then, film breaks and sprocket damage were problematic and repairing the left eye print to match the damaged right eye print took patience and skill. When there was a sync problem or a film break resyncing the prints took time while the audience waited and fumed. The audience grew tired of the gimmick but even more tired of the breakdowns.

Jon Lidolt
Jon Lidolt on April 3, 2010 at 10:21 am

There’s nothing wrong with 3-D cinematography (let’s leave 3-D conversions out of this discussion) if it’s used intelligently. After all, human vision provides us with a 3-dimensional panoramic vista in living color and we hear in stereo sound. Right now, 3-D is used as a gimmick. The same as color was in the early days and wide screen in the 50’s. Critics use to gripe about how unnatural it was to watch Marilyn Monroe spread across a screen as big as the side of a barn. And color… the critics complained that it was hard on the eyes. Well, to be quite honest – it often was. Because the images on the Technicolor 3-strip prints were often slightly out of register. And did I mention that the same people often complained about the necessity of stereo sound? So let’s give 3-D a chance. Used correctly, it can enhance a film the same way that color, stereo sound, and wide screen have done for us these past 50 or so years.

CSWalczak on April 3, 2010 at 11:44 am

“Used correctly” – that, I think, embraces the heart of the matter. Until producers and filmmakers go beyond the worn out and clich├ęd uses of 3D (especially the illusion of things thrown at the audience), 3D will pass away again. And, as others have noted, 3D can make certain (not all) movies better, it cannot, any more than Cinerama, Todd-AO, or Sensurround did, make poor or even average movies better. I am not sure exactly what “correct use” could mean, but I think a recent article in the NY Times – View link – may be on to something when the author makes the point about “Avatar” immersing the viewer in a wholly different place. If the world of the film is basically a place we know or one frequently imagined or portrayed frequently before, why bother with 3D? I would not pay higher prices to see crud like “The Last Song” or even a really good film such as “The Usual Suspects” in 3D. I am rather sure that if more movies are presented in 3D that were not planned imaginatively for 3D as this new version of “Clash of the Titans” exemplifies, then 3D will again be mothballed.

moviebuff82 on April 4, 2010 at 2:36 pm

looks like clash is the number one movie this weekend, in both 3d and 2d. It also did well overseas as well, although its gross was $40 million less than Alice but a bit more than dragon.

TLSLOEWS on April 4, 2010 at 2:50 pm

I think it is a fad that will go away as it did before.What comes around goes around.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on April 4, 2010 at 7:07 pm

They’ll abuse the process like they always do. Oversaturation of 3D titles will cause it to fade out. And…once they realize they’ll make more money with 3D TV, they’ll kill it themselves.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 5, 2010 at 5:53 am

I am not so sure “AVATAR” will be able to save 3D. It is the highest grossing film of the year in both 3D and non-3D markets. The same cannot be said of other 3D titles and the US boxoffice does not drive technology changes anymore. China and India do.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 5, 2010 at 7:26 am

Already 3D is becoming a gimmick to attract American kids to theatres and to prop up a stinker like “CLASH OF THE TITANS”. That is exactly what killed 3D the last two times when the US was still the major market.

Jorge on April 5, 2010 at 11:06 am

Personally, I think Hollywood has NO idea what moviemakers really want. They “assume” because movies like Avatar & Alice In Wonderland raked in millions in 3D box office receipts, people are just attending these movies for the 3D aspect! I know people who saw both based on the filmmakers (Cameron & Burton respectively). Hollywood is churning out dozens more 3D flicks and it WILL get tired..I don’t necessarily see it “going away”, but it WILL get to the point where a new 3D movie coming out every 2 weeks might die down (I didn’t mind when it was once every 2 months).

KenLayton on April 5, 2010 at 2:51 pm

A crappy movie in 3D is still a crappy movie, but in 3D!

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 6, 2010 at 6:56 am

I wonder when the first new R-rated T & A schlockfest is coming. I’d love to see something like The Stewardesses remade in better technology.

dfc on April 6, 2010 at 8:11 am

“ I wonder when the first new R-rated T & A schlockfest is coming. I’d love to see something like The Stewardesses remade in better technology.”

Funny. IIRC in the 1970s there were a few 3D porn movies. I can just imagine what they were like. A grungy run-down movie house filled with sweaty guys wearing those old 3D glasses. Not too inviting.

BobFurmanek on April 6, 2010 at 11:40 am

THE STEWARDESSES was produced for about $100,000 and grossed over $27,000,000 1970 dollars (that’s $120,000,000 to $375,000,000 in 2010 depending on economic reference), it is STILL the most successful 3D film EVER based on cost/gross ratio (including AVATAR).

KramSacul on April 8, 2010 at 5:36 pm

When is 3-D going to cease being called a fad and more of a technology which is revisted every couple decades?

GaryCohen on April 27, 2010 at 4:25 pm

The original 3D required you to wear little cardboard glasses that many found uncomfortable. Now you pay a high price for 3D glasses that you can wear like sunglasses. However I feel that predictibly the studios are going too far. I just heard that the upcoming “Green Lantern” and “Green Hornet” movies will be in 3D. I would see them under any circumstances. “Clash of the Titans” was made originally in 2D and turned by computer into 3D. I saw it in the original 2D and it was fine. And 3D cannot save a film if it stinks, like Avatar. (Yes I know that thanks to 3D and IMAX, it is the highest grossing film of all time. However I still thought that it stunk.)

moviebuff82 on May 29, 2010 at 2:01 pm

link not working….recently the new Shrek movie is not doing well even though it’s the highest grossing Shrek movie in 3D. It ain’t no Dragon or Monsters vs Aliens. At least those theaters with 3D projectors can turn the 3D filter off and project normal 2D images.

KMac39 on July 29, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Sometimes I can’t believe how gullable and FORGETFUL we are as a movieviewing audience. I don’t care how successful Avatar was,or how movie theaters are spending themselves broke on 3D equipment, or how many people think 3D is here to stay. It may be nice technology, but its popularity will die out. 3D is okay for some movies, (action-adventure, some animation, etc.), but for most movies, most good movies 3D is unneccessary. As an economics and history teacher, hollywood is cashing in on a technology that is HOT right now. Of course to make theater owners buy the technology, they can easily not release films to them, to force the sale of this expensive technology. Shrewed business practices. But, as usual, they will get greedy, oversaturate the market(because there is no real DEMAND for 3D, only by those who stand to profit from it.), and the public will come out of its stupor and realized they’re being fleeced. 3D has been around for a while, and while some movies are cool to see, history has shown that the majority of films it isn’t neccessary. Good films stand on their own. It doesn’t need gimmicks to attract an audience. I think theaters would attract more people to watch the movies with good films, and a return to showmanship that has been forgotten in most theaters today and re-educating the audience on movie theater behaviour. Many young people today just don’t know what good showmanship is and what makes going to the movies special. I don’t blame some theater owners from trying to cash in, but over the long run, save your money. I will gladly frequent the movie theater more often if good showmanship, movie manners by patrons, and GOOD MOVIES were the principle focus of the movie experience.

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