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RealD Shares Plunge

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Cartoon Brew readers might have seen this coming a mile away, but not Wall Street. The business world is finally realizing that 3-D may not be the revolution that Hollywood’s snake oil salesmen promised it would be. Yesterday, shares in 3-D technology licensor provider RealD sank nearly 16% to $15.48. It’s significant because this is the first time the stock is trading below its 2010 IPO price of $16 a share. The stock was trading at over $35 just two months ago.

The stock plunged following the company’s first quarter report which topped analysts’ expectations but fell short of estimates on Wall Street. Analysts have already begun asking whether it’s game over for 3-D.

Another big loser in the film technology arena this week was IMAX. Its shares slipped 6% yesterday to under $19. IMAX’s stock is down a whopping 41% in the month of July, though some analysts are still bullish on the company’s future.

The problem with RealD’s approach (as well as IMAX’s to some extent) is that it up-sells movies without adding significant value to the experience. I’ve seen 3-D films only a handful of times and I’d be hard-pressed to recall which films they were, much less point out a moment where the 3-D made the film richer or more fulfilling.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    I suppose the only bright side to all this for some in the industry is the thousands of screens or so that have fully thrown out their 35mm projection equipment for good (someone had to have their day there).

  • When thinking back about the 3D movies I have seen, I don’t remember the effect at all. All I remember when recalling the imagery are fuzzy and underexposed pictures. I do seem to remember non-3D movies just fine, in all their bright and crisp-sharp glory. I feel like I should go and see those 3D ones again in 2D, I might discover some nice films that I’ve already seen.

  • Oslaf Erbmon

    Don’t worry. We have the new gimmick lined up with The Hobbit’s filming at 48fps

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Which defeats the whole purpose I feel of what I think we’ve lost this century.

      • Ryoku75

        What is it that we’ve lost?

    • Funkybat

      If that means the entire file will look like it’s on a LCD TV with “auto-motioning” turned on, count me out. I feel viscerally unnerved every time I try to watch movies at a doubled frame rate. It makes everything feel like an Xbox or Playstation game. Call me a fuddy-duddy, but I like my films at 24fps and my TV shows at 30fps.

  • Jackass 3D was unforgettable

    • You know what! That, the X-games in 3D, and the cut out paper segments of Kung Fu Panda 2 felt made their 3d experience memorable. Most of other movies I’ve caught in 3d (a handful) don’t take advantage of making audience squeal or feel something from the depth. It’s mostly an atmospheric thing, though I’ve love to see 3D moviemaking taken to the next level.

    • Funkybat

      The best use of the 3D effect I have seen so far was Coraline. I’ve actually resisted re-watching it at home because I’ve only seen in (3 times) in theaters with 3D. I felt like I was *in* that world. Avatar sometimes came close to that feeling, and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs was extra-fun in 3D. But yeah, most of the time it’s not really all that much of a bonus. I saw Megamind in 3D, and aside from a couple of shots (such as the pull-back from Roxanne’s newspaper clippings, revealing “Titan”) it wasn’t really important or impressive. I think it depends on what kind of visuals and camera moves you have, and how they are executed.

      Anyway, I don’t really feel like paying an extra $4-$5 each time unless it’s something really special like Coraline.

  • “I’ve seen 3-D films only a handful of times and I’d be hard-pressed to recall which films they were, much less point out a moment where the 3-D made the film richer or more fulfilling.”

    That right there is the proverbial nail if ever there was one.

  • To fully appreciate this precipitous plunge, be sure and put on your glasses now!

  • captain_pollo

    Nobody wants to wear extra stuff while watching movies; wearing glasses on my glasses is redonk. Also, the movies were always darker and fuzzier than their counterpart. One more thing, the “3d” is terrible.

    It seems like things are just brought forward and out without regard to edges. So you just get various planes of 2d motion planes which is really just confusing, meh.

  • Steve Stanchfield

    I have read and read in the industry papers years ago that 3d was a way to get theatres switch over, so it’s more that speculation that part of the plan was to save money in distribution and away from the expense of making the 35mm prints. Many movie companies helped foot the cost of the new projectors as well.

    • Switching to the newer digital projectors is one of the main success points from the whole 3D shift. Film companies have the option to just send digital, crisp versions of the film for cheap. Audience never has to worry about getting a lower quality film. So if 3d goes away at least that idea is still salvage-able.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      In some small way, they pretty much won there. But I also feel it degraded that experience I use to enjoy out of watching something projected on a screen if I feel it’s not going to be any different than what I’m getting at home nowadays.

      • Funkybat

        I actually prefer digital projection (in 2D) for some films, I remember first seeing it for Toy Story 2 and Monsters Inc. years ago, and was blown away by the clarity and saturation. Since then, they have improved the resolution of the images, making it even more impressive compared to film.

        When it’s something kind of quiet and dialogue-driven, like an indie art house film or documentary compiled from various film/video sources, I still prefer a traditional projector. But as long as it’s displayed in 24fps, I usually prefer digital, especially when it comes to 3D animated (but not 3D presented) films.

  • Brian Kidd

    True IMAX films definitely offer a significant improvement over digital and 35mm projection. The problem is that there are very few film-based IMAX installations and, of those, many don’t show feature films because they are located in places like museums. A few years back, IMAX began using its name on digital installations that, by the very nature of the technology involved, don’t deliver a significantly better image than one can get from a non-IMAX digital auditorium. The brand was diluted and the IMAX name ceased to be associated with the amazing picture and sound quality of its film-based product. In addition, the only film I can think of that actually had scenes filmed in true IMAX is THE DARK KNIGHT. Every other feature film is simply upscaled to the IMAX format. It’s like post-converted 3D: it simply isn’t the same.

    I think 3D can be great when a film is designed and shot in 3D by talented and capable individuals. The problem is that most 3D films released by Hollywood are either converted in post-production or simply not well-shot in the first place. People won’t continue to pay extra money on top of already high ticket prices for substandard 3D. Hollywood is doing this to themselves.

  • Martyn

    I adore 3D films, I find the extra dimensionality absolutely adds to the experience, heightening the immersion and sense of wonder is concerned. I appreciate it is not for everyone (my girlfriend for example), but I for one will be sad to see it disappear, if that were the case.

    Also, excuse my ignorance, but isn’t there a danger that the amount invested into the technology (at a studio and local level) will have a negative knock-on effect if it were to disappear?

    • Martyn

      note to self: reread comments before you post them.

  • There were a couple of shots in Monsters VS Aliens, where I felt the 3D effect worked to the film’s advantage. Likewise, a few shots in UP.

    To fully appreciate 3D, you have to see “Comin’ At Ya!”!

    • Ganthor

      Usually I just lurk here, but I had to comment on this. I not only saw “Comin’ At Ya!” but I ran it as well. I was a theater projectionist at the time and getting it set up to run was the biggest pain the the rump a projectionist could ever have. It never did run right and that it was a lousy movie didn’t help matters at all. If only for this reason alone I have yet to see any of the new 3D films with all the negative comments about how they appear on-screen. I’m looking forward to seeing this trend die the same way it did back in the 1980s and the 1950s.

  • I’m not a fan of 3-D, but you have to take into account that the entire stock market fell last week due to the battle over the debt ceiling in Washington. Assuming that gets resolved, it’s quite possible that the 3-D shares will bounce back with the rest of the stock market.

    • amid

      Mark – The S&P 500 declined 4% in July. In the same period, RealD and Imax have lost over 30% and 40% of their values respectively. Wall Street’s extreme reaction to these specific companies has little to do with what’s happening in Washington.

      • It’s all relative, Amid. if the country goes down the toilet, a 3D film technology company is going to have a heck of a lot harder a time than a food flavouring company making ends meat.

        Analysts adjust their numbers accordingly.

        Not to say that their stock price is disconnected from their actual market performance.

      • Rod Araya

        During some time I have thought that this year of energy crisis, high inflation and the fiscal stalemate (which has repeated in a 16-year cycle for decades) have made 3-D film lose its novelty value, apart from the fact that there have been too much 3-D movies this summer. Remember what happened to color movies in 1931, or what would have happened if the ”second 3-D craze” started around 1978 or so.

  • I’ve been researching about 3D for some time and I’ve come to the conclution that s3D DOES have expression potencial in filmmaking, as well as in other areas of art, but it hasn’t been fully explored. Until now, most films have just “recorded” the 3D volume, not making use of it in a meaningful way. It’s like the beginning of cinema, just recording reality “as it is”.

    Why has nobody thinked or writed about the close-up in 3d? It’s not the same as in monoscopic films, you have another dimention!

    I’ve seen just a bunch that used the stereoscopy as a narrative element (Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Day & Night, DRIVE ANGRY!, it’s a crappy movie, but has a great 3D) and I remember the effect on all of them, specially in “Cave…”, and it was truly great.

    Stereoscopy has been around since the beginning of photography, and probably before that too, so if it ends now, it will return, since it’s development in other areas as medicine is really important.

    And economically, I don’t know about the U.S., but here in Argentina since the 3D ticket prices have been rising a lot, with almost no difference between 2d and 3d (around AR$30 and $35 respectively), so… I think cinemas are pretty happy abput how things have come with 3D.

  • FleischerFan

    The 3-D craze has come and gone before in movie history. I was frankly surprised that this time it lasted longer than previous fads.

    But as others have pointed out, the 3-D process really adds nothing to most stories. Nor does it enhance character development. And really, movies (like live theater) are about getting engrossed in characters and stories, not “oooing and ahhing” over things flying off the screen.

    I love 3-D when it’s in its proper element – at theme parks with very short films (Muppets 3-D, Terminator 3-D) designed specifically for a 3-D experience.

    But as for theatrical motion pictures, I have been and will continue to seek out 2-D presentations.

    • Funkybat

      This version of 3D is by far the most believable and realistic I’ve ever seen. I remember going to a few of those “red-blue 3D” films in the early 80s, just a terrible experience with almost immediate headaches. Not to mention that real color fidelity is impossible.

      I’ve heard “old timers” talk about there being some different 3D presentation process around in the 1950s, one that was quickly supplanted by the much cheaper and cheaper-looking “red-blue glasses” 3D because film producers and/or theater owners didn’t want the extra expenses. I think whatever this process was still used tinted lenses, but it was somehow more believable. The folks who remembered this complained that all of us who weren’t around to see it constantly (and mistakenly) assume that all 3D films in the 50s looked like the schlockly horror-movie 3D they had in the 70s and early 80s.

      Was there really a “better” 3D in the early-mid 50s? Anyone able to confirm/clarify this?

  • The only film I’ve seen in 3D i though was improved by the experience was “Coraline.” The concept of depth was used to tell the story and create emotions – it wasn’t gimmicky. Also, the puppets and sets looked fantastic and you could really appreciate the craft that goes into them. That’s how you use 3D.

  • Adam

    Last week my only option for Captain America was to see it in 3D. It was only a couple of hours after the movie was over that I even remembered we’d seen the 3D version. It added absolutely nothing to the experience.

    • Kyle Maloney

      Captain America was a conversion job anyway, so that’s kind of a moot point.

      • Funkybat

        I detest the “converted” 3D movies and absolutely refuse to spend money on seeing them in 3D. I’ll definitely see Capt. America, but not in 3D.

  • Mohamed S.

    Some movies really make 3D look good. Toy Story 3 and Kung Fu Panda 2 is what comes to mind when I think of this but few studios are willing to make any effort to fully utilize the technology.

    A huge disappointment was Tron:Legacy. The movie was so dark I couldn’t even tell the difference between 2D and 3D.

  • The big problem is that the economy is in the toilet and 3d movies cost more. A LOT more. The studios need to figure out how to ADD to the movie going experience without raising the price of movies. HERE are a couple of ideas I have:
    -no ads
    -Bring back shorts
    -Child-free showings.
    -bonus programs, buy 5 tickets to the same movie and get the 6th FREE
    Just a few ideas…
    Here is the thing I’ve noticed about MY experience watching 3d: it’s super cool for the first 15 to 20 minutes, then I stop noticing it. It’s like my brain can’t keep up with all the stuff flying around so it edits it out, so it’s like I’m watching a 2d movie.
    This might have something to do with that thing Walter Murch said about the eye not being able to track things on a certain plane. Anyway I guess my brain’s reaction is to just NOT see it after a while. The mind is an amazing thing.

    • burkiss

      Okay, great ideas John S. I’m an exhibitor so let me get a pencil so I can write them down. Okay, number 1. “No ads.” Okay, we can try that. It will initially cost us – because, y’know, the studios squeeze every penny and we gotta make money where we can, but I’m gonna go with you on that one. Number 2, “bring back shorts.” Hmmm. Okay — I’m gonna take a leap of faith here. We’ll be able to schedule less screenings a day and it might hurt our repeat business if someone doesn’t like the short, but fine. Who’s going to make them and who’s going to get paid? I’m going to put a pin in that one for now. Okay, number 3. “Child free showings.” Oh. Well, that isn’t going to fly. I’m guessing you’re child-free John S? You know, kids get charged for those tickets. Maybe we could keep them out of R rated movies but child free? That doesn’t seem a good idea. I’m starting to question your credibility now John, but let me have the rest of your ideas. Number 4 – “bonus programs.” Okay, we should do our research. AMC cancelled their free bonus system, we should look into why. I’m guessing it didn’t help their business much, but we can find out. And number 5: “Make better movies.” Well, nobody sets out to make bad movies. But duly noted.

      Okay, lets see what you’ve got. You want to cut ad revenue, reduce showings per day, ban kids from some screenings, give away free tickets and only show awesome movies.

      • Mad Dog

        Don’t you think thats kinda harsh, calling him an idiot?


      • Hey Burkiss. You have my attention.
        You sound like an exhibitor. If you are, great, I have the attention of the very person I need.
        First: Nobody likes those ads. NO-ONE. IT ruins the experience. You want to make movie going feel special again, like an experience that people WANT to pay for?
        Cut the ads. Just give it a try. See what happens.
        Second: Shorts are great. They create excitement. Oh boy, something extra for my money. They put them on dvds now, are you aware of that? Maybe not, since you assume much and draw ridiculous conclusions. This leads me to believe you have reading comprehension issues. Which brings me to:
        Third: Child-free screenings.I did not say “All movies should be child free”. This is what makes me think you have reading problems. Kids often ruin the movie going experience. Offer up a screening a day, say one at 10:00 pm that is guaranteed child free. Watch the people flock to it!!! Are you aware that there are restaurants out there that are child free? No? See, you aren’t as well informed as you pretend to be.
        Five: Make better movies. This is an idealistic want, to be sure. You say that no one sets out to make a bad movie, but I KNOW that there are movies made for the wrong reasons and that are made without care. Again this is idealistic. Why attack me for wanting bad movies.
        Wanting better movies makes me an idiot?
        How about this, I put to you that you are a cowardly jack off. You know how I know?
        Because if I were standing RIGHT in front of you, you wouldn’t DARE call me an idiot.
        You are welcome to try though.
        I frequent the House of Secrets comic book store on Olive. Next time you see a bald guy shopping for comics, ask him if he’s “John S”. Then, call me an idiot.
        That should be interesting.

      • The Brewmasters

        Burkiss was way out of line with the name calling. We don’t tolerate that immaturity on these boards and if we’d been paying closer attention, would have deleted his entire comment. Sorry about that.

  • John Payne

    3-D also seems to have hit the video game industry pretty hard. The new Nintendo machine is planned at being sold at a loss in a desperate attempt to improve market share. Other developers are also finding that 3d is not meeting sales expectations, though likely because most games using 3d implement it poorly and cheaply with as much immersion as a pop-up book

    3d-TV might begin to grow assuming all new models come built in with the feature, because at this rate I’m guessing there aren’t that many why would choose 3d over a standard HDTV.

    • Only a casual observer of the gaming world here, but – –
      I thought more than one console was deliberately sold at a loss to attain market share. I’m pretty sure PlayStation and X-box have had that uncontested claim made about them.

      It’s like that old joke…
      “We lose money on every sale but we make it up in volume!”

      Yeah, I know about license fees and all that.

      • Funkybat

        Nintendo has been trying to move away from the “loss leader” model of consoles. They made a slim profit on each Wii they sold, at least in the first year or so. This time, Nintendo was hoping to at least break even with each 3DS sold, but it’s been underselling way below projections. Most people feel it’s because the DS is already widespread, and more and more casual gamers are settling for iPhone and Android games on their phones. I suspect that dedicated portable gaming systems will go the way of the dodo over the next 5-10 years.

  • CC

    The only animation I’ve seen that actually NEEDED to be in 3D, or at least the 3D added to the experience, was Pixar’s ‘Night and Day’ short. Oh, and Coraline was pretty impressive in 3D as well.

    What’s next? Oh yes, ‘Aroma-scope’ (look up the latest Spy Kids to see what I’m talking about).

  • John

    RealD is the worst Digital 3D company in the world, so I want them to crash and burn. I read a research article that states it can make the picture, like, 8x darker than normal whereas Dolby Digital 3D is great when it comes to controlling blurriness and darkness (however it is more expensive).

  • The best use of 3D I’ve ever seen is the Werner Herzog documentary, “Cave of Forgotten Dreams.” Herzog correctly determined that the best way to view cave paintings is to see them in relation to the bumps and grooves of the cave walls. The documentary was a remarkable use of the medium, and I’d love to see more art house filmmakers take on 3D.

    But if you can’t do subtle, 3D should have more gimmicks. I don’t know about you, but I want things poking out at me. That’s the whole point of 3D!

    • Funkybat

      Damn, I kept meaning to go see that. I doubt it’s still in theaters…

  • Mike Johnson

    I love 3D, and find that it does enhance my enjoyment of the film. I guess its just me, but I’ve never really noticed the “darkness” issue. Everything has always looked just fine to me.

    That being said, there is a MAJOR problem not being addressed here, and I think it is the #1 reason keeping 3D from reaching the level of popularity it desires:

    $4 extra admission for a pair of cheap plastic glasses? That we are encouraged to GIVE BACK after the movie? This will be the big nail in the coffin that finally kills off 3D. Plain old GREED.

    I can see paying $1 extra, and allowing people who provide their own 3D glasses to pay fifty cents extra and allowing kids under a certain age to get them free. This would be more fair and give people less of a reason to avoid 3D. In an economy that continues to worsen, people are becoming tighter and tighter with their money and charging exorbitant box-office fees is a sure way to kill off more than just 3D films.

    • Funkybat

      I think the extra fees are in reality meant to subsidize the installation of the digital projector equipment. The cost per glasses is probably a quarter or two, and since most people toss them back into the “recycle” bin, they can re-use them over and over (hopefully after bathing them in Lysol or something.)

      And yeah, the extra cost is a big reason why, even if I’m nominally interested in seeing something in 3D like Cars 2 or Kung Fu Panda 2, I’ll usually skip it in favor of 2D. I know I’m not alone in that.

  • People either complain that 3D is “gimmicky” when they notice it, or that it “added nothing to the experience” when they don’t. I think you must at least agree that there is ROOM for a middle ground here. You don’t walk around every day noticing that you’re seeing the world in 3D, but does that mean your depth perception doesn’t enhance your experiences? If you suddenly lost an eye, the world would look very different to you.

    It’s just a tough sell, even when it’s done properly, and they charge too high a premium for it.

    • Louis

      It would be different if some people (20% ofvthe world’s population, me included) could actually experience 3D properly. I have depth perception but lack true binocular vision. Which makes 3D a very bad experience. Admit it, Real D 3D is a cheap gimmick. If companies didn’t charge $4 extra, we wouldn’t see it as often.

      • Galen

        Sorry to hear about the vision issues you and others experience. I freely confess I know nothing about them, or what makes RealD different from any other form of stereoscopic movie watching. I can only speak for myself when I say I have never minded watching 3D movies, occasionally I notice it is enhancing my experience, and occasionally I feel it doesn’t look so good (probably due to a post conversion). But I won’t admit it’s a gimmick because I don’t think it IS a gimmick…and CERTAINLY not a “cheap” one!

  • Mac

    I go the movies a lot and often times see the 3D version since its usually on at a more convenient time than the 2D version. I’ve got pretty used to and bored of it by now, but I can’t say that it’s never made an impression. I thought Coraline and the Pixar short Day and Night certainly benefitted from it. Plus a whole bunch of flying scenes in How to Train your Dragon and Up were memorable 3D moments (when I see them in 2D I remember the 3D experience). The 3D in other animated films plus nearly all 3D live action films I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a lot) has failed to make much impression. Perhaps the only exception I can think of is Jackass which, low brow as it was, used 3D to comic effect which was actually kind of novel. That cave painting documentary sounds good, but I’ve never seen it.

    I’m not surprised that people are getting sick of 3D now though. Often times the story in the film I’m watching sucks, so when I focus instead on things like the design or art direction, I’m disappointed by how dull and dingy the colour often is. Also although many people say 3D should stay away from being too gimmicky and distracting from the story, whenever I leave the cinema after a 3D showing there are often disappointed people saying “I thought it would be more 3D” and “I thought there’d at least be more things coming right at you”. I think, as others have pointed out, many people find the inflated price of 3D movies a rip-off.

  • E. Nygma

    Finally the scam is showing it’s true colors. I can’t believe people fell for this technology all over again…didn’t anybody see Jaws 3! It doesn’t make a film good just because it’s in 3D…actually I think it takes away from good films. I think it’s a distraction.

    I feel bad for people who bought 3D Blu Ray players and TVs. Did they actually think Dateline NBC would look better in 3D! What a scam to get us to re-buy DVDs, Blu Rays, TVs, and Disc Players.

  • Mars Needs Moms in 3D = E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600. Flood the market with crap, and consumers will find something else to do with their time and money.

  • ZiggyStardust

    i still haven’t seen a single movie in 3d…….just saying

  • When done well, and used as a storytelling tool rather than just a gimmick, 3D is excellent. I think the Dreamworks films have used the medium in such a way that it enriches the story. One moment that stick out in my mind is right after the dragons crash to the ground in “How to Train Your Dragon”. The embers and ash floating in the air really helped set the mood at that point. When watching it again in 2D at home on Blue Ray, the moment didn’t hold the same impact.

    Stocks are stupid. Most everything has taken a hit in the last few years. It says next to nothing about the products and services from those companies, and much more about the greed and shady business practices of the country… but that’s a whole different post for a whole different website.

    Someone above mentioned Jackass 3D. Believe it or not, the 3D in that film that was shot native was the best I’ve ever seen, subject matter (and fecal matter) aside.

  • Justin Delbert

    To be honest, I stopped buying 3D glasses for a number of reasons. The 2D costs less, and the 3D doesn’t do me any justice. The last movie that I saw with really good 3D was Journey to the Center of the Earth. If your gonna put something in 3D, have stuff and characters pop out of the screen. I’ve mentioned this before; I’ll say it again: 3D is NOT good for your health. The result could be major headaches. Final word is that it’s not the 3D that counts; it’s the movie itself.

  • John Semper Jr.

    Damn, I’d hate to have had you curmudgeons around when projection, sound and color were brought to the movies. If you guys had your way, we’d all still be watching movies on kinetoscopes and mutoscopes (Google them if you don’t know what they were).

    By the way, projection, sound and color were considered “worthless gimmicks” when they were first rolled out, too.

    In fact, Thomas Edison, whose employee W. Laurie Dickson invented film for Edison’s company, didn’t think much of movies at first and relegated them being shown in a wooden box as a penny-arcade attraction.

    I like 3D just fine. It’s new. It’s interesting, and directors are only just now learning how to use it effectively.

    Food for thought: People who hate 3D frequently complain about having to wear those, and I quote, “goofy” or “silly” glasses. So my question is…what do people who actually wear glasses think of the adjectives “goofy” and “silly” always being used to describe 3D glasses?

    What makes 3D glasses “silly?”

    And why does wearing glasses make the experience of sitting in the dark and staring transfixed at a white wall for hours any “sillier” than it already is?

    Go figure.

    • Re:
      “…what do people who actually wear glasses think of the adjectives “goofy” and “silly” always being used to describe 3D glasses?”

      Those terms are accurate. Simultaneously wearing two pairs of glasses is very goofy. It’s the “silly walk” of wearing glasses.

      • Funkybat

        I’m willing to bet the people who don’t get why the glasses are “silly” don’t have to wear glasses in the first place.

        It would be interesting to see a breakdown of who gets headaches and who doesn’t. I’m a glasses-wearer, and while I notice and dislike the darkening/desaturation the current 3D process causes, I have not once gotten a headache or any other uneasy feeling from seeing films in 3D. I will say that the effect really isn’t as impressive if you aren’t sitting almost dead-center with the screen (one reason I like to go to the movies at off hours weeks after the release date…to get a good seat!) But the one time I had to see a 3D movie while crammed off to the side in the second row, I didn’t feel ill afterwards.

  • GW

    I’ll continue to keep my old stance. The technology itself isn’t bad, but the films being produced with it have been mostly awful and the ticket prices are much too high.

    I don’t think that the technology’s a gimmick, an opinion which the detractors voice over and over again. But again, people don’t realize the reality of the primary technology used. Binocular film does not mean 3D. How many times do I have to say it? Are people immune to reason? Do I need to be a millionaire or a celebrity to make people listen? We’re repeating the history of art all over again where painters didn’t realize the possibility for abstract imagery.

    You can have two of the same image with one image preceding the other in time, two unrelated images or any of a number of other things. You can have a voice on the soundtrack telling you whether to close or open one eye or the other in order to get the proper visual effect.

    Inside of the 3D realm of possibilities though, there are some clear changes. A two eye view means that the perception of the camera as a sort of ‘viewer’ in space completely changes. It cements your self perception in space in places it might otherwise be ambiguous. And you can change the interocular distance for different people’s views in first person perspective.

    The technology for 3D clearly doesn’t make for a prime viewing experience, not to the degree that it can convince people to change from 2D to 3D. But I liked the use of it in the two films I’ve seen in theaters, Coraline and Avatar. I won’t concede that the technology itself is a gimmick. It’s shown to have its own merits. It’s clearly been utilized as one from a business perspective. For my viewing experience, it seems to be more of a phase than anything.

    I hadn’t considered it until right now, but upon considering it, I don’t believe that there needs to be a new improvement for cinema that will forever obsolete the old at this point in time. There’s no reason why cinema’s past ought to be the dictate of its future. Perhaps it’s just as good to let one form of cinema make way for another after a set amount of time, high frame rates replacing 3D, high resolution film coming after that. But good cinema needs creativity first. Lychee flavored ice cream may be no better than chocolate, but two flavors are better than one, and I don’t see why similar logic can’t apply here.

  • It is the same old same old.

    A genre is described as dead (westerns, SF, horror, film noir, you-name-it). Then somebody makes a really good movie that just happens to be a western or whatever and that is followed by a ton of increasingly poor variants on the theme.

    3D is not dead.

    I have nearly every 3D movie made on the shelf here going right back to a brief clip Chaplin shot for fun while filming THE CIRCUS.

    The problem with light is overcome by increasing the brightness.

    “Boogie El Aceitoso,” from Argentina and Mexico is an absolutely awesome example of what can be done with the 3D medium in animation that we are unlikely to see from Disney and Dreamworks.

    I’ll take the 3D version of KISS ME KATE over the 2D one any day.

    My personal favorites are the IMAX documentaries. Watching whales, dolphins, fish, birds, butterflies and dinosaurs in 3D is as exciting as it gets not only for myself but for most people who watch these films. BUGS just takes my breath away.

    3D film making demands a different approach from 2D film making. Our eyes need time to register images that quick cutting denies them which is not to say quick cuts can not be used.

    Jean Michel Jarre’s OXYGENE 3D is a concert film that makes hypnotic use of 3D that is appropriate with the music it is presenting.

    SANCTUM, shot in caves, really brings home the claustrophobia of the setting in a way 2D can not.

    The public’s acceptance of a book, painting, movie or any other creative work is not the proper measure to gauge its worth. Too many great movies have missed the mark with the public on first release. I would think by now readers of this site would be aware of that.

    As someone who worked for years with 16mm prints from distributors that were full of splices, scratched, torn,and with color that had long ago lost its sheen I am glad to see digital copies offered that properly projected look awesome.

    Theaters that switch to digital have the option to run superb prints of great films that yesterday could not be projected.

    The Lobster films prints of the Keystone Chaplins are the best example of what is now available.

    Instead of complaining about the passing of a technology that was expensive to use and all too easy to damage we should be celebrating a technology that allows us to see and hear films at their best.

    Do we need another bad 3D movie? No. Do we need another bad western, horror, science fiction, film noir, romantic comedy or whatever? No.

    But we are going to get them anyway so let’s stop griping about that and focus on the real potential of the medium which all too often is realized most by those working outside the system.

    Go here take a look at MOTOR RHYTHM.

    It is a heckuva lot of fun to watch.

  • Graham

    Game over, man! Game over!

  • The stock price drop of Real-D may be due to other factors (including the general stock market drop as Mark Meyerson pointed out). The proliferation of the market may have reached saturation point. I don’t know about the rest of the country (or the world), but here in the SF bay area my local 12 screen cinema has at least five 3D screens, and that seems about right to me. I would never expect to see every screen 3D capable. So if Real-D stock price was based on phenomenal growth, it’s logical that even if 3D lasts forever (which I would hope for) Real-D profits would decline or at least not grow at as rapid a pace which would logically send the stock price down, even in a good economy. And that would be true even if their income is based on a licensing fee. I also expect that when Real-D first went public, people jumped on it wanting to get in on the latest “new-tech” and drove the stock price to unrealistic heights. It’s probably now settled down to a price based on realistic earnings.

    I will add that 3D is not for everybody or every film, but has enhanced Avatar, Up, Coraline, Day & Night, Toy Story 3, How to Train Your Dragon, and others. I would hope that the fear of 3D dying would push theaters to charge a more realistic premium, like $1.

  • Ed Thompson

    3D is not inherently evil. If a film is planned and correctly shot, the 3D can make the movie better. Avatar is an example of a so-so film (story-wise) that the visuals made more compelling. The trouble is, when Avatar did well Hollywood assumed that all you needed to do was slap some 3D effects on a movie, like they did with Clash of the Titans. It originally was not shot in the 3D format and it looked cheap and fuzzy(er) .Avatar had been planned and shot from the start as 3D by a meticulous perfectionist of a filmmaker, most of the other 3D movies since the weren’t.

    The other technical problems, darkness and customer eyestrain, Hollywood just denies. I am one of the people who gets headaches when watching 3D movies. I have read, and have had theater staff tell me, that the ‘new’ technology eliminates that eyestrain. I get headaches anyway, and as I went in WANTING the technology to work I don’t think it’s just a self fulfilling prophecy.

    And the films are physically darker. I say UP in 3D, then 2 days later in 2D. I was supprised by how much lighter and colorful the 2D was.

    3D probably isn’t dead, and probably shouldn’t be. but not every film needs to be in 3D, and Hollywood needs to start working on the physical problems they have with the process. Admitting they exist would be a good start.

  • Die, 3D, die! Ah ha ha ha ha!

  • Frank Ziegler

    We told ’em so.

  • John

    Another sign prior to this that 3D just wasn’t going to take off is the bath several companies have been taking since last Christmas on their 3D HDTV sets. There were some huge 3D displays set up in most electronic stores this past holiday season with those sets and the 3D Blu-Ray DVD players running whatever the most recent 3D movie was that went to video.

    But for the most part, those displays attracted nothing but tumbleweeds and crickets, because there was nothing “ooh-ahh” enough in the DVD movies people already had seen in the theaters to make them want to rush out and buy a new set and a bunch of glasses at a cost of several hundred extra dollars. That should have been a major alarm right there that the lure of 3D wasn’t even capturing the fancy of the people in the high-end disposable income demographic.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Shame my folks bought into it however.

  • Likes 3/D

    3D adds to the story experience. It highlights things that are of significance bringing you in closer to the director’s intent. Of course not all films are great and the 3D layer can make that even more apparent.

  • D. Mavrov

    3D can be an interesting attraction, but it deffinitely makes the price unbearable for some of us. Let me give you the prices from my town (converted with Google):

    35mm projection: 4.40 USD
    Digital 2D projection: 5.15 USD (Mon-Thu), 5.88 USD (Fri-Sun; holidays)
    Digital 3D projection: 8.83 USD

    As you can see, 3D doubles the price, and these 8.80 USD (12 leva) are quite a bit in here, so I see movies now only when I have more money, which isn’t very often.

  • swac

    Carl Stalling says it’ll never work!

  • tgentry

    I purposefully avoid 3D films, and I’m not alone among my friends and family. It’s too expensive and the experience has lessened to the point where many times I’m not even sure if the scene is in 3D or not. I’m still working under the theory that people’s minds adjust to what they’re seeing, eventually ridding the effect has on the brain altogether. I saw Cars 2 in 3D and at no point did I feel like it was in 3D. I had to force myself to ‘see’ it. I’d just as soon see it in 2D and save myself the embarrassment of having paid for something I can’t even register anymore.

  • Many years from now in the future we’re all going to look back at this era in filmmaking and laugh sooooo hard.

  • There have been a handful of movies that use 3d and imax as a story telling tool to great success, and are an integral part of the experience. The problem is they flooded the market with substandard films with substandard post 3d effects

    Wait till batman comes out, Imax will shoot right up again

  • nwanimator

    I agree all the summer live action movies I’ve seen so far don’t add to the experience. Tangled on the other hand was WICKED in 3D. I’ve seen it in regular vision also and the boat scene with all the lanterns isn’t as powerful. Funkybat mentioned Coraline in 3D, heck I saw it in regular vision and it was amazing! I can only image how WICKED it was in 3D.

  • MissConception

    I agree. I’ve seen a good handful of 3D movies, but the only one I can remember was Pixar’s Up, mostly because it did not give me a headache.

    I’ve asked my fellow CA students and my teachers what they think of all this 3D nonsense, and everyone believes it is nothing more than a gimmick, one that is doomed to die. And now that it’s on its way, I’m beginning to wonder if the failing economy killed 3D or people’s realization that they are paying four dollars more for a headache and glasses they will most likely drop in that recycle bin on the way out of the theatre.

    Probably the economy…