New 3-D Films Planned Despite Eroding Public Interest
Despite the fact that the number of screens showing 3-D films increased to nearly 15,000 in 2012, moviegoers are showing less interest in the three-dimensional format.
According to The New York Times, this summer’s 3-D offerings like Turbo, produced by DreamWorks (NASDAQ: DWA) and distributed by 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ: FOXA) owned 20th Century Fox and The Wolverine also distributed by 20th Century Fox, took in 30 percent or less in 3-D sales receipts on their opening weekends. Several years ago, summer films offered in 3-D raked in as much as 60 percent of opening weekend sales in 3-D showings.
IHS research firm said 3-D ticket sales fell 13.1 percent in the first half of 2013 and a prominent supplier of 3-D technology, RealD, reported a $1.5 million net loss in Q1 compared with income of $2.9 million in the first quarter of 2012.
When it comes to 3-D, however, Hollywood seems to have a “never say die” attitude. The New York Times reported that no less than five dozen 3-D movies are planned between now and 2016, according to box-office consultant, Exhibitor Relations.
Projects include everything from Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts who find themselves tumbling through space after an accident, to an Imax (NYSE: IMAX) three-dimensional reworking of the beloved Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) subsidiary Warner Brothers classic The Wizard of Oz.
Flying monkeys never had it so good.
IMAX senior executive vice president, Greg Foster, told The New York Times that the future of 3-D depends on the willingness of directors to treat the medium with respect.
The 3-D debate continued on the Raindance Film Festival website, which noted that like all technologies, 3-D is loved by some, hated by others.
Fans include such luminaries as Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg. Respected filmmaker, Christopher Nolan, on the other hand, refused to shoot or convert either Inception or The Dark Knight Rises in 3-D.
One notable filmmaker reported by The New York Times to have strong interest in the technology is Robert Redford. Redford is working on a segment for a 3-D architectural-themed documentary entitled Cathedrals of Culture.
Meanwhile, despite the disdain of some, like the late Roger Ebert, who referred to 3-D as “a waste of a perfectly good dimension,” and waning interest on the part of moviegoers, Hollywood appears to be betting it can reverse the downward trend.
At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.
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