Bad news for the film industry that thought 3D was going to be the goose that laid the golden egg. Research just published by BTIG Research. In mid 2009 when there were around 2,000 3D capable screens in the US and 55% of box-office revenues came from 3D films. Revenues reached a peak at 70% share when the number of screens had grown to 11,000, but have now dived to less than 50% even though the number of 3D enabled screens continues to grow.
Then movie executives breathlessly explained that they “had yet to discover the maximum premium the public is prepared to pay for the 3D experience”. The premium at the time was an nauseating 49%. Now we know it is a maximum of $3.
So are audiences giving up on 3D? Well a tsunami of rotten content, cheaply and badly converted from 2D may have something to do with it. Or maybe it is the movie makers who think that adding 3D to a movie will transform it from a dog to a princess. News just in guys: it won’t.
Just take a look at the highest grossing films each year for the last 30 years (thanks to IMDB.com).
(millions of US dollars)
|2010||$10,565.4||Toy Story 3|
|2008||$9,630.6||The Dark Knight|
|2006||$9,209.5||Dead Man’s Chest|
|2005||$8,840.5||Revenge of the Sith|
|2003||$9,239.7||Return of the King|
|2001||$8,412.5||Harry Potter / Sorcerer’s Stone|
|1999||$7,448.0||The Phantom Menace|
|1998||$6,949.0||Saving Private Ryan|
|1987||$4,252.9||Three Men and a Baby|
|1985||$3,749.2||Back to the Future|
|1984||$4,031.0||Beverly Hills Cop|
|1983||$3,766.0||Return of the Jedi|
|1981||$2,966.0||Raiders / Lost Ark|
|1980||$2,749.0||The Empire Strikes Back|
They are nearly all big spectacle movies, with lots of visual effects. On the whole they have a good storyline and offer the audience a complete dramatic experience. I think that is what we pay for when we go to the movies. 3D can be a part of it, but it can’t replace it.