News In Brief

Is 3-D just gearing up or slowing down?

Daryl Paranada Aug 4, 2010

So, heard a lot about 3-D lately? We had a story on today’s show by Sally Herships about whether consumers are really ready to explore a new dimension in their living rooms. And Nielsen’s “How People Watch” survey says around 12 percent of people either own or intend to buy a new 3-D TV set within the next year.

Yet, there are signs that perhaps the 3-D craze is slowing. reports “3-D’s box-office trajectory has been pointing downward” almost ever since the release of “Avatar,” which was viewed in three dimensions by nearly 80 percent of moviegoers who watched the film. In comparison, only 45 percent of the opening box-office revenue for the recently released “Despicable Me” came from 3-D. And the latest 3-D release, the Warner Bros. film, “Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore,” grossed around $21.2 million in its opening weekend — but only $6.9 million of that was from its 3-D release. That’s the worst performance in the 3-D format’s modern era.

Still, it should be noted 3-D has been a major success with other movies — obviously with the Oscar-winning and highest-grossing film of all time, “Avatar,” and other flicks like Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” and “Toy Story 3.” The latter two movies combined to gross over $400 million in 3-D ticket sales just in the U.S.

But the New York Times reports that hasn’t stopped some Hollywood heavyweights from speaking out against 3-D, like “Star Trek” director J.J. Abrams. “When you put the glasses on, everything gets dim,” said J. J. Abrams at the Comic-Con International convention. And Showrunner Joss Whedon says that while he likes watching 3-D, he didn’t want one of the films he’s producing converted into three dimensions.

While the success of 3-D has been somewhat mixed, Hollywood shows no signs of jumping off the train anytime soon. The New York Times reports that though tickets for 3-D films cost $3-5 more, three-dimensional movies can earn an extra 20 percent on average at the box office. And in show business, it’s the bottom line that matters. The Times says nearly 60 3-D releases are lined up for the next couple of years and about 5,000 screens are expected to be 3-D ready by the end of the year.

So, are you buying into 3-D?

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