Wednesday, May 25, 2016

3D Movies on the Rise in Theaters (So Why is it Still Considered in Trouble?)


I don't know if it's just me, but it honestly seems like 3D is having a bit of a comeback these days.  Part of it could be that some friends I know got a 3D TV recently and there's this thing where if your friends buy something it means that something might be catching on.  That's me on a personal level though.  The main reason 3D seems like its at the beginning of a resurgence is the fact that there are no less than three major movies in theaters right now that are in 3D.  "The Angry Birds Movie" just opened last weekend and took the number one spot away from "Captain America: Civil War." 3D tickets were a big part of that movies opening (as well as it's better than expected Chinese opening).  These two movies aside, Disney's "live action" remake of their animated classic "The Jungle Book" is still in theaters and doing very well.  Throw in the continued unexpected success of "Zootopia," and four of the top ten movies last weekend were 3D films.

If you poke around a little bit you might find a cheap theater still showing "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" and "Ratchet & Clank" in 3D.  This week "Alice Through the Looking Glass" will be opening everywhere and it will be interesting to see if that film repeats the original film in 3D ticket sales (of which the first was one of the highest grossing films in the format).  Throw in the upcoming releases of "Warcraft," "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows," and "Finding Dory," and one has to wonder why people are still claiming 3D is dead.  Not only are we getting more 3D movies than ever, but some of them are even doing almost half their business in the format.  This makes me wonder of course why people still think 3D is dead?  If that were the case, wouldn't we see less 3D movies as opposed to more?

The answer is so simple it's frustrating: TV manufacturers.  Many of these big electronic companies saw the big business 3D was doing at the box office, jumped heavily into the 3D TV business with high expectations, and have been shunning the format with great prejudice for the past couple of years.  Why is this though?  Well, first of all, electronic companies look at how people replace their smartphones every year and want that to happen for their TV departments.  Before when there was a home theater advancement every decade or so (color, widescreen, high definition) now there is an advancement every few years.  Companies like LG and Sony aren't selling as many TV's as they were in the old days, and they would obviously like to change that.

As I've stated in other posts before though, people don't buy TV's that way.  When people buy a TV they tend to keep it for ten years or more.  The some of first HD TV's were shown off at the California State Fair in 1995.  I personally didn't know anyone who had one of those TV's until 2000 (and my family didn't theirs until 2005).  Why get a new TV when the current one you have works just fine?  People were not going to replace a perfectly good TV just to get one with 3D display anymore than people will do for 4K.  There are people who are looking to get a new TV though, and now that they are upgrading, they want all the bells and whistles.  This includes 3D.  Heck, just look at the box office these days.  3D is still being widely embraced by the public.  TV manufacturers have every reason to jump on the 4K bandwagon.  The future is the future, and some film makers will make great use of 4K at some point in time.

They need to continue to support 3D though, because while it never became the standard, many movies do use it and use it well.  It's only a matter of time before a 3D film wins Best Picture at the Academy Awards, and superhero movies have it whether they need it or not (most of the time they do).  3D is a mainstay in movies at this point and time and TV manufacturers need to stop ignoring that.  The format is poised to have another record breaking year at the box office.  If it does, will the TV manufacturer's still have the excuse that 3D is on it's way out?  If "Alice Through the Looking Glass" is the hit Disney expects it to be, the answer will be no.  Oh, and "X-Men: Apocalypse" is also being released in 3D this weekend.  Great time to be a theater owner who projects 3D movies!

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