Jul 17, 2010  •  In Entertainment, Information, Movies, Personal

The Trend Toward 3-D Movies

Last night, J and I went on a “dinner and a movie” date night: a delicious meal at Red Lobster (I swear that their commercials are targeted for pregnant women!) and a late-night show of Inception (GREAT movie btw…perhaps the best I’ve seen all year!).

While sitting through the previews, we couldn’t help but take special notice at the way the Harry Potter trailer ended:

“2-D Available in Select Theaters.”

Eh? So the last two HP movies will be more widely released in 3-D…and if we want to watch it in regular 2-D format and pay considerably less money by choosing to do so, we’d need to actively seek out theaters that are offering it in the old format?

Let’s get one thing out of the way: I have never been a big fan of 3-D. The novelty was fun when I was a kid, and it became a bit more exciting as 3-D technology progressed. That being said, I have yet to watch a movie that I felt TRULY benefited from being shot/converted to 3-D format.

Besides, as I’ve stated above, 3-D movies cost a heckuva lot more. The last 3-D movie we watched was Toy Story 3, and only because the 3-D showing was at a more convenient time than the 2-D. However, both our jaws literally dropped open when the cashier said, “That will be $36, please.”

$36 for two tickets, people. If you add in items from the concession stand, that movie trip alone cost us about $50!

(I should note that this is NYC prices where everything seems to be overpriced, so the cost is probably less in other parts of the country.)

I actually feel similarly about IMAX movies. There are some IMAX films, particularly documentaries, that I believe to really benefit from being showcased in the wide-format presentation…IF they are being presented on a true IMAX screen, as is the case at many museums and early IMAX theaters. Most of the newer movie complexes that tout IMAX theaters are not true IMAX, in my opinion. And I know I’m not the only one who thinks so.

It’s no secret that Hollywood is, and has been struggling for a while now with overall ticket sales down (well, the fact that they keep releasing crappy movies may have a lot to do with that). And they seem to repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot with ill-received ideas such as $20-$30 “home theater on demand,” as well as being caught red-handed fudging profit numbers in order to save the studios extra cash.

But will embracing 3-D and IMAX really help increase profits?

What do you think? Do you enjoy 3-D and IMAX movies over the old format? Do you think that eventually, ALL movies will be released in 3-D and/or IMAX?

And because I never like to end a long post without adding a funny picture or some interesting facts, here is a nice illustration on how 3-D works, courtesy of OnlineSchools:

12 Responses to “The Trend Toward 3-D Movies”

  1. Zach:

    You buy concessions!! I always just wear a coat that somehow had snacks stuffed into it.

  2. Geek in Heels:

    @Zach — I have never snuck food into a theater because concession stands are how theaters make money (similar to how gas stations don’t make money from selling gas, but from the items they sell from the attached stores). 90% of money from ticket sales go to the studios, so I like to support the theaters by buying from the concession stands.

  3. I really don’t like 3D. I feel smothered wearing the glasses and it all just makes me nauseous. Add the throbbing bass surround sound? You’ll find me buying tix to the movies MAYBE three times a year, and only when I’m visiting family during the holidays – I don’t seek the movie experience on my own. Too loud, too expensive, and now it’s all up in my face!

  4. Skippy:

    I’ve only seen a few movies that really seemed to benifit (albeit only slightly) from the IMAX treatment and those movies all happened to be 3D rendered movies from the get go (AVATAR), or movies that where 3D animated (How to train your dragon, and Toy story 3), so it didn’t seem out of place watching it. That being said I have never payed more than eight dollars to see a 3-D movie this is because the fifteen dollar price tag on IMAX is crazy, so me and friends only go on tuesdays since the IMAX close to me offers half Price that day, this way it is only about six fifty. as for preferring it… I don’t I watched toy story # in the regular theater, and in IMAX and aside from the wonder of "ooooh this is neat" there is no reason movies need to be in 3D and wearing the glasses hurts my eyes after a while cause it is causing strain.

    I honestly wish that 3D would wait for a little longer until it is perfected, and is more practical.

  5. I’d rather they get on with making holographic movies. Didn’ t Star Wars promise that? LOL :)

  6. I’m a fan of 3-D when executed properly. Watching Toy Story 2 at PIXAR was pure heaven…. but we were wearing $250/each 3-D glasses too. So when done well, it’s awesome.
    Plus… this whole 3-D thing is really making people go to the theater instead of waiting for the DVD and watching at home. And that helps out the hub’s family… so I’m all for that. But if we paid for our movie tickets I might feel a bit different :(

  7. Donna:

    So, the sad thing is that I have horrible motion sickness…
    When the hubby took me to see Avatar for date night, halfway through the movie, we had to leave because I was puking that badly bc of the 3d movie.

  8. I like 3-D if the movie was made specifically to be watched that way, but otherwise I much prefer to watch in 2-D. The studios are just trying to make money at the expense of movie-goers, and not just monetarily. I know a lot of people like commenter Donna above me, who get physically ill from watching 3-D movies, whether it’s nausea or headaches, like my sister gets.

    Sometimes you just want good old fashioned 2-D.

  9. stacey:

    i’ve seen two movies in 3D – Up and Avatar, and have now watched both on regular DVD too. There wasn’t much of a difference in Up – things seemed a little deeper, crisper, brighter (but our TV is also ancient, so who knows if the 3D really made a difference) but it wasn’t enough to warrant the pay increase. Avatar, however, i LOVED in 3D. to me, it made a very big difference and the few bucks extra we paid was worth it.

    for now, we don’t seek out movies in 3D… i saw toy story 3 without it. but if it’s our only option, we’ll do it.

  10. i believe there is a stable trend towards 3D, not necessarily because of audience demand, but because of producers supply. i enjoy 3D movies as far as i can bear that glasses, and interestingly the ticket price does not change in Turkey in 3D movies. However though, just look at the movie Inception and how great it was crafted in 2D. Don’t you think Mr. Nolan would have chosen 3D if he believed in the outcome? I think there’s still a lot of time before the perfection of 3D.

  11. I just don’t like wearing the glasses OR paying the extra money! I guess it just never made enough of a difference/impact on me to seem worth it.

  12. Mark Harrill:

    My 8yo son hates 3d movies and most of the kids movies are being pushed that way. I expect this trend will die just like sequels, movies based on old tv shows, etc.

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