The Dirty Side of 3-D Filmmaking

3-D films may make a lot of money, but Hollywood is no longer an art form accessible to the masses. From BoxOfficeMojo:

Toy Story 3 bagged $12 million in its fifth weekend, down 43 percent. With a $363 million haul, it now ranks as the 15th highest-grossing movie of all time (though it has yet to crack the Top 100 in terms of attendance).


  • http://animationanomaly.com Charles K.

    It’s not so much the dirty side of filmmaking as film reporting. People need to learn to ignore the box office numbers for a more accurate idea of how Hollywood stands today.

  • lampshade

    I’m assuming by highest-grossing movie of all time they meant unadjusted to inflation.

  • http://unseenfilms.blogspot.com/ dbborroughs

    The question of money vs actual attendance has always puzzled me. Is anyone keeping records? Does anyone care? Sure the studios make money by how many people are actually going? I remember when Titanic was breaking records everyone was seeing it. With Avatar the number of people seeing it seemed to be so much smaller and few repeats.

    To me the fact that a movie makes a ton of money is kind of hollow if no one is going, but then again I care about people actually seeing what I produce. As it is I find the idea of extra money for the 3D is stupid. I stay away from the 3D movies unless I can go to Bargain Tuesday when its 6 bucks glasses included.

  • erlab

    You just disproved your own sentence. If Toy Story 3 earned that amount of money, how is 3D cinema no longer available to the masses?

    • amid

      Erlab: The point is that while a film may make a lot of money, the audience for these films has shrunk dramatically. Film used to be the most accessible art form available in the United States. With obscenely overinflated ticket prices, which have been exacerbated by the arrival of 3-D, we are now seeing cinema turn into a leisure activity available only to those in a particular income bracket.

  • JD

    I believe the audience is making the choice of a movie worth watching in theaters or going the Redbox/Netflix route. With inflated 3D pricing, the latter is looking better and better.

  • amid

    Here’s a telling chart of box office admissions:
    http://mrob.com/pub/film-video/topadj.html

    Toy Story 3 is currently #15 on the all-time domestic grossers list (not adjusted for inflation) with $363 million. However, it ranks #195 on the all-time admissions list with 38.3 million audience admissions.

    Jurassic Park is #16 on the all-time domestic grossers list (not adjusted for inflation) with $357.1 million. It is #24 on the all-time admissions list with 81.1 million audience admissions.

    So even though TS3 has grossed more than Jurassic Park, less than half of the people have seen it. If 10-15 million less people had seen it, that would be understandable due to inflation, but 40+million is an extreme discrepancy. It points to a new philosophy in Hollywood that squeezing the wallets of the relative few who are able to afford the movies is more important than creating accessible entertainment for the masses.

    • http://cartoonsof1939.blogspot.com/ Ted

      From an inflation calculator:

      “What cost $1 in 1993 would cost $1.47 in 2009.
      Also, if you were to buy exactly the same products in 2009 and 1993, they would cost you $1 and $0.66 respectively.”

      So, 66% of Jurassic Park’s attendance should equal an inflation based attendance producing the same boxoffice, or 53.46 million people. So the cost per ticket is about 50% higher in real dollars than it was for Jurassic park.

      On the other hand, Jurassic Park supposedly cost around $63 million to make. That inflates to $92.37 million. TS3 supposedly cost $200 million.

      So, ticket prices are about 50% higher for TS3 than for JP, but it cost twice as much to make TS3. If you’re going to complain about ticket costs, complain that it costs the same to see $8 million comedy (or a $2000 dollar horror flick) as it does to see a hundreds of millions of dollars extravaganza (in 2D).

  • Su

    I don’t understand… Just because a movie make more money then a movie from ten years ago doesn’t mean in caught more attendance, tickets cost more then it did ten years ago, so unless I’m wrong, of course it makes more money.

  • http://psychdrive.com Lenny

    Amid, I get your point about the prices of movies going up. But, is it Hollywood’s responsibility to make entertainment for the masses? If so, why is it?

    How many more people rent videos now than in the past? Maybe that is the new “entertainment for the masses.” Is there anything wrong with that? Lots of people would rather watch a movie in the comfort of their home.

    Is Hollywood taking a hit financially because of their pricing? If they are, they will probably do something to fix it. If they aren’t taking a hit, they won’t change a thing.

  • Sterfish

    There is more to declining attendance than just pricing. A lot of people don’t like going to the movies, 3D or not. The experience of going to the theater has gone downhill.

    Also, although Hollywood often overstates it, piracy is a big problem. In the days of Jurassic Park, you’d have to know someone in order to get a bootleg. Now, all it takes is a broadband connection and a little tech savvy to watch any new theatrical release.

    Finally, the quick turnaround from theater to DVD makes it almost pointless to go to the movies. Toy Story 3 could very well be on DVD before Christmas. Why spend $9 to go to the movies when you can watch in your own home whenever you want for only double that?

  • Rooniman

    I hate it when people use grossing numbers to tell which is good or bad.

  • FleischerFan

    Agree with those who point out that many more people now see films (and wait for films to become available) via home video. Whether it’s downloading, rental, purchase, on demand, premium cable channel,etc.

    There are so many movie now that I see the advertisments for them and immediately, “I’ll wait for home video.”

    Now, I did see Toy Story 3 in a 3-D theater, but I did think the ticket price was too high (which means I will think more than twice the next time something opens in 3-D) and I also didn’t think the 3-D added all that much to the presentation.

  • Robert Barker

    Toy Story 3 does not invite multiple viewings, which happens with the first or second in a series. Toy Story 3 does transcend the usual trap in the 3rd in a Series, which is to basically rehash what you’ve already seen. Shrek Forever, while better than Shrek 3, broke no new ground and spent too much time with old characters. Toy Story 3 might have been seen that way if it hadn’t been so long since Toy Story 2. And the 3-D was superflous. There is still only ONE animated film I can think of where the 3-D seemed organic and integrated to the film, and that is the still underappreciated Coraline.

  • http://www.drunkduck.com/BotTropolis/ Bill

    With overly high ticket prices, over priced concessions. noisy kids, cellphone users, TV ads, and Kiosks everywhere who would want to see films anymore? Theaters used to be a nice place to go watch the latest films but with everyone not turning off their cellphones and TV ads you might aswell wait for it on DVD, it’ll be more quiet at your home.