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Why 3D Isn’t Dead, Just Changing

Much has been made by the press and people inside the industry about the “death of 3D,” as forecast by this weekend’s lower-than-expected take for 3D screenings of Pirates of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: People didn’t want to watch Johnny Depp acting camp right in front of their faces! It’s the end of 3D cinema! It’s not, of course. But here’s the thing: If that is really the lesson that movie executives are taking away from the low box office last weekend, then the end of 3D really might be around the corner.

Just because Pirates‘ 3D haul was weak doesn’t mean that audiences are bored of 3D (If they were, wouldn’t 3D sales have fallen before this? The unrealistic alternative option is that audiences all across America suddenly decided on exactly the same weekend that they didn’t want to see any 3D movies anymore). Far, far more likely is that audiences just didn’t want to see this particular movie in 3d, which is an entirely different, and entirely understandable, thing. Think about it: What makes the Pirates movies fun – or, at least, as fun as they’ve been, which is an admittedly decreasing amount – isn’t the spectacle but the characters, which have been slowly turning into caricatures over the course of the first three movies. Increasing blandness + Little spectacle to earn the use of 3D = No real incentive for people to pay extra to see the movie in 3D.

(Admittedly, that doesn’t necessarily explain why IMAX earnings for the weekend were said to be “solid.” Perhaps people just like seeing pirate ships really, really big.)

The problem isn’t that 3D is over, the “problem” is that 3D as a novelty in and of itself is over. Audiences have had time to get over 3D as a gimmick, and now they’re at the point of picking and choosing which movies they want to go and see in 3D instead. Which is, in the grand scheme of things, great: It means that 3D just becomes another filmmaking tool, and not something that gets used everywhere and anywhere to artificially inflate the box office take of a movie. But watching the collective movie industry apparently have a nervous breakdown about the “failure” of Pirates in 3D suggests that they don’t agree that this is a good and necessary move, and that’s the real problem. The “right” next step for 3D is to keep making the movies, allow the audience decide what they want to see, and let the market correct itself. But what I’m worried is going to happen is that panicked movie execs, thinking that the 3D sky is falling, will just decide to pull out of 3D production altogether, and consign it to another fad, until someone like James Cameron comes along, makes Avatar 2 and the whole “OMG, 3D IS AWESOME” craze starts up again.

What we need is for 3D as gimmick to die, in order for 3D as… well, just part of filmmaking, to flourish. And in order for that to happen, people have to be okay with the idea that movies like Pirates of the Caribbean aren’t going to necessarily be smash hits with audiences every single time they get released. Not every film is worth the extra money and a pair of glasses, and you know what? That’s really okay.

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Comments

  • http://www.facebook.com/JakeEstrada Jake Estrada

    Pirates is dreadful that is why it underperformed. 

  • Anonymous

    the main problem with 3-D as an option now is that many theaters have converted to the new projectors, and they either can’t or don’t know how to adjust them for 2-D projection. Roger Ebert recently cited a report that 2-D films are projected as much as 76% less on a digital/3-D projecter.  That’s going to make the films look like crap, and turn more people off of films, period.

  • Drhiphop85

    Even though this was a pretty well written article…someone is going to come in, not read it, and make some jab at the writer…Gotta love the internuts…

  • http://twitter.com/yanbasque Yan Basque

    Here’s another possible explanation.

    Most people who saw Thor in 3D reported that the 3D elements weren’t very good and made the film look terrible. This is just my own impression from the reviews and comments I’ve read, but it seems like those who saw the film in 3D kinda regretted that choice. Thor was a huge box office hit and we can assume that there’s some amount of crossover audience.

    So if the same people who went to see a 3D movie a few weekend ago and had a bad experience with it are going to the movies again, it would make sense for them to choose to stay away from another potentially terrible 3D experience.

    Maybe audiences finally got smart and understood that 3D doesn’t automatically make for a better viewing experience. Not every 3D movie is going to be on the level of Avatar. (Talking from a technical standpoint only. I think Avatar is a terrible film.)

    Now if only movie studios would realize the same thing. Invest in one or two 3D projects per summer and really go all out on them. Make them the spectacle that audiences expect from 3D. And don’t bother with shitty 3D conversions of every single blockbuster.

    I agree that 3D’s not dead. But it’s about time studios AND audiences realize that it’s not automatically an added value. Choose when to use it wisely and make it count.

  • Lewis4510

    The viewing public has become more selective at which movies are worth the extra money to see in 3D and as a result the industry should be more selective at which movies would benefit from the 3D process.

  • Ian

    Yawn

  • J. K.

    Do people really choose to view a 3D movie just because it’s in 3D?  I don’t.  I choose to view movies based on the subject and content, regardless of its presentation format.

  • Jim

    What’s with the misleading headline of these articles?  “Low box office receipts?!”  It opened at $90 million according to box office mojo.  It’s going to surpass $500 million a day from now.

    I’m not defending the movie.  (Hated the 2nd movie, haven’t watched sequels)  But can we knock it off with the misleading taglines?  It’s irresponsible reporting.

  • Anonymous

    I have two problems with 3D movies.

    1) It has become well documented that the movie theater experience has gotten more and more expensive. A small popcorn at my local theater cost $5. I don’t even spend that much money on an individual beer! Now when movies are in 3D the cost isn’t the barely tolerable $9 but $13. For that much money I can wait.

    2) All 3D movies are not created equal. Take Avatar and Clash of the Titians. I didn’t like either movie that much but the use of 3D in Avatar was significantly better and really was (for me) one of the best selling points of the movie. It certainly wasn’t the story. But Clash of the Titians poorly used the technology and all I was left with were a few scenes that improved the visuals. Otherwise, it added very little to a lack luster movie.

    3D tech is really just another special effect some movies use like CGI or pyrotechnics. Some movies will use it better than others but we all have to pay extra either way. 

  • Wildstorm

    I refuse to see any movie in 3D.  If it is not available to see in 2D then I will wait until I can rent it.  I don’t see why I would be charged $4 to see it in 3D with glasses that are clearly reusable.  If next time I could bring in the same glasses (recycle) and only pay $1 more I might think of seeing it.  But with the price of gas and concessions and tickets going up there is no reason for me to see 3D. 

    3D is just a gimmick.  I think next summer we might get 1-2 3D movies released whereas now almost every big movie coming out this year is 3D.

  • Trey

    I go out of my way to avoid 3D movies and find a 2D showing instead. It adds to an already inflated ticket price and the up-conversion process makes the film darker. I met plenty of people who wished they had seen Thor in 2D instead of 3D. Not surprised people have felt so burned by recent crappy 3D movies that they’re bailing on them. 

  • Ian Explosivo

    At World’s End is the best of the franchise.  On Stranger Tides, while very different from the first three, is still well worth the price of admission.  Hell, watching Penelope Cruz for a couple of hours is worth the price of admission.  :P

  • Wpardlow

     The film isn’t a failure it still reached $400 million in less than a week in release, so this article really isn’t taking into account the fact that:
     1. It’s a summer movie, saying the characters are caricatures is ridiculous, it’s always been about 2 dimensional silliness. Which leads to my second point.
     2. I saw the film in 2-D, I’m tired of the 3-D and if I don’t have to put up with the nonsense of it. I won’t. Which is how I also saw Thor.
     3. The theater I go to has a $5.00 deal, for afternoon screenings which makes it all it a lot easier.
     And
     4. There’s a lot films going out this summer where people are going to skip some movies till word of mouth gets out about whether it’s worth the trip.
     Just some basic facts about whats going on.

  • Eric T.

    I’m done with 3D. I’ve been mostly done with 3D for months, actually.  From Toy Story 3 to Last Airbender to Thor…  I talk with my friends about whether or not it was a good movie and worth seeing in the theaters.  I have never said ‘well, it was a crappy movie, but thank god the 3D effect was there to save it.’  For me, it takes anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to actually adjust to the 3D glasses so that they are not a distraction.

    The modern iteration of the 3D cycle is, god willing, on the wane, or at least being rethought.  3D is a ‘tool’ in the same way ‘constant shaky cam’ is a tool, and needs to be put back in the box.  When given the choice between 2D and 3D, I’m going with 2D from now on.

  • Jbearx

    Saw Thor in both 3D and 2D, and realized that it was totally unnecessary to see it in 3D and wished for the $4 difference back.

    Ithink the real reason people are being choosy is quite simple, the cost.  Here in Toronto, you spend $12.95 to see a regular showing, and $15.95 for 3D, $17.95 for the 3D in Ultra AVX.  It has become just another way for studios and theatre chains to suck more money out of the loyal movie goers.  People will continue to stay hom and wait for Netflix or Blu Ray releases unless they HAVE to see it. 

    Plus all the reviews have been quite crappy for Pirates.  I will see it, but wait and rent it. The average consumer is becoming smarter with their cash, and maybe that’s why they’re staying away.  Much like the music industry last decade, hollywood and movie studios have become their own worst enemies!

  • Sheilarae1

    I
    enjoyed it!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ASP7FQSBVKZFCVPMNJCEDP3SRM Jon

    3d is not just a fad, it is an enforced gimmick!  The biggest reason [aside from over-inflated ticket charge] for the studios to push all these needless 3d releases is that in the rush to jump on-board the “gotta imitate Avatar” wagon, they dump A LOT of money into equipment & tech to produce 3d.  They are now trying to get some of that paid off by releasing as many 3d presentations as they can, and most of them have no reason to be “3d-ified”.
    The same goes for the 3d televisions.  They have so much time & money tooling up that they NEED to dump 3d tv off as soon as possible, before people realize that 3d tv looks like crap compared with HDTV.  Not to mention that there is STILL not a standard for 3d.  Newer HD picture, if truely HD, has so much detail that the human brain picks up on the “tells” of depth perception anyway, and the extra imaging crap from the 3d muddles up, and makes the viewing picture look worse than a twenty year old SD over the air broadcast.  So people are slowly realizing that they are paying extra for a far inferior television picture.

    So 3d will not be long lived.

  • Div

    Well, 3D is not dead for several reasons. I work on the stereoscopic field (the 3D movies) and I watch over 4hours of 3d stuff everyday. And you know whats the problem? This ¨Pirates of the Caribbean 4¨ kind of stuff; because this is not real 3D, this is fake 3D, as fake as the Green Hornet 3D, and the Clash of the Titan´s, and the Thor and Captain Amereica´s , and many more out there. This 3D is made mainly in postproduction, ehich means that the film is recorded in 2d and then transferred to 3D (which is an awful way of making 3D); putting it simple, the 99% of the times, you ruined the quality of the movie in order to get that fake 3D.
    But, I encourage people to watch all those productions with the real 3D (filmed with two cameras in order to get proper 3D); because it is really awesome; and most of the times, you can notice with a little of experience if a movie has fake 3D or real 3D. Any animation movie can be easily released in a real 3D format, so you can´t really fail with those, and lets just wait to see Tintin in 3D, by Spielberg, the 3D Hobbit, by Peter Jackson, and many more on the way with real 3D. And for those who´d love to see 3D everyday, you got Sky broadcast channel, with their recent 3D channel (all the stuff is real 3d, from documentaries to cartoons, with ballet, soccer, etc.).
    Don´t support the fake 3D, and go crazy about the real one, guys!

  • Alex Dragon

    THOR was the first 3D movie I’ve seen that wasn’t shot specifically for 3D. I like 3D but I’ve been avoiding the 3D conversion movies. If THOR is an indication of what most or all 3D conversion movies look like I’d just as soon save a few bucks and watch the 2D version. I’ve mostly liked all the made for 3D movies I’ve seen thus far and think they were worth the extra money but the 3D I got on the screen with THOR wasn’t. I’m not turned off to 3D movies just the 3D conversion ones. I’m not really even turned off to 3D conversion per se…just paying extra for it.

  • Eric T.

    Post-production 3D or otherwise, if there isn’t a cogent reason for a movie to /be/ in 3D, why should I spend my time and money on it?  Is The Hobbit going to be that much better because it was deliberately shot in forced perspective?  I’ll concede that deliberate 3D is going to always be better than ‘after-the-fact’ 3D, but the underlying question is ‘why does _____ need to be in 3D?’

    When ‘bullet time’ popped up in the first Matrix, it was amazing and unique and made the movie stand out.  Bullet time is no longer remarkable or unique.  It’s been done to the point where it’s not even worth noticing, yet it still shows up in movies and video games, because…it’s a gimmick.

    Technically, it is amazing and fantastic that we are at a point where we can even have discussions on the merits of genuinely impressive 3D effects.  But there is no story-telling benefit and no character benefit to making a movie in 3D.  It is an audience-manipulation effect only, and thus, it will remain a gimmick.

  • Div

    Why does it need to be in 3D? Well, why does any movie to be in color or with audio? Real 3D is not another new effect; its a tool for filmmakers; it brings an entire new form of expression and narrative for the director (Im sorry about my english, Im spaniard) to use. Did you know that Hitchcock filmed ¨Dial M for Murder¨ in 3D? He used the 3D as a narrative asset; and that´s why Spierlberg, Peter Jackson, Ridley Scott, Zemeckis and others are experimenting with it now. 3D doesnt mean necesarily that the movie is gonna be better; it means that it can deliver a better, a most fullfilling product (which you must work harder than the previous 2d one). And people can wonder why now? Because of the money? Yes and no. It´s happening now because the postproduction systems have become powerful enough, cheap enough and with appropiate technology to work efficently the 3D.If you are interested, there are some interesting books on the 3D narrative and what delivers to the audience. Most of the veteran ones, compare the leap from 2D to 3D as the one of mute movies to sound movies. 

  • Red Robin

    I’m just tired of 3D.  In the last few years, the only movie that properly utilized 3D was “HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON”.  Everything else has just taken more of my money and taken some of my enjoyment of the film due to the annoying glasses.  Particularly when I’m having to use glasses previously worn by someone else with sticky… I don’t even want to know what.  The glasses darken the scenes, and make dark action sequences like Pirates and Thor impossible to see properly.  I agree we don’t need to get ride of 3D, but I do think that we shouldn’t attach it to every big budget film, because it only works in 1 or 2 out of 5 of them.

  • Moviegoer

    Make Transformers in 3D, nows theres something people will want to watch!

  • MW

    I thought On Stranger Tides was the best Pirates movie since the first, myself.

  • WhatHuh?

    There are a lot of theatres that do not offer movies in 2D and force their customers into watching it in 3D because the theatre wants to increase the prices. I’ve cut down drastically on movies I go see at theatres as a result. I don’t like being forced to watch a movie the way I don’t want to watch it. The glasses give people headaches (not all mind you, but some, myself included) and I don’t like to wear glasses just to watch a movie. It isn’t comfortable.

    I drove past my local theatre and drove an extra 50 miles to watch Thor in 2D. The cost in gas equals about the same to the inflated price for 3D with a family of four. 3D isn’t for the typical family due to the price. $30.00 vs $44.00 is a drastic price increase for a family of four (at least in this area).

    Fast Five (82 million) had a great opening, becoming a franchise best. I believe the reason is because it was a 2D movie instead of a 3D movie (the returning cast helped as well, but that is beside the point). Pirates (90 million) beat it, but not by far as expected. Thor would have done better in my opinion if 2D was more avalible or 3D not even an option like with Iron Man (89 million) and Iron Man 2 (128 million).

  • Philip A Moore

    while I like to watch 3d when it is available. I think it is being over done . what next the hang over 3d? truth is if a movie is 3d there should be a reason for it I mean really did we have to see the Green Hornet that way ?no. Thor? no Alice in wonderland heck no it was a badly done nightmare  of a film it was fun but when it comes down to when all you have do is forget the glasses and you save your self five buck in market that is getting more and more expensive why wouldn’t you at least with Avatar we we seeing something new. latly there are no 3d movies that say you should see it in 3d. truth other then Avatar and Coraline I haven’t seen many who did   . sorry

  • O.

    This is odd because even though I don’t care to see Pirates and it’s probably not a good movie, from what I understand, it was actually shot in 3D.  So, it might’ve actually been a decent 3D movie.

    As for Thor in 3D, it wasn’t bad but it was of course dimmer and the 3D didn’t add much, if anything at all, to the movie.  So, I’m reevaluating which movies I want to see in 3D this summer.  I’d rather just see them in 2D IMAX but all of the IMAX showing are, of course, in 3D.

  • Aldon_rain

    I really hope 3D is dying. It sucks. It’s just a tired old gimmick that’s been used for the past 60 years and it’s never caught on. It’s just a cheap excuse for movies and games to raise the prices of things like crazy and there are idiots out there willing to buy into the gimmick and waste loads of money on it.

  • Grin

     You’re ignorant. 3DTVs are some of the best TVs around. Most of them offer some of the best 2D picture quality.

  • Sborband

    Once again, the writer uses this article as a platform to knock Pirates 4. What a piece of work you are!

  • Lackshmana

    Except that the leap from silent films to those with sound actually incorporated an additional human sensory perception. The same is true of color films.

    Stereoscopic 3D, however, does not do that. It just creates a mild illusion of binocular vision. 
    There are numerous mental indicators of depth, and binocular vision is only a minor one.

    People with one eye still have 3 Dimensional depth perception. And that is with the complete loss of true binocular vision.

    The difference between sound created from an audio recording and that created live, is so negligible that it can fool the human brain.

    While on the other hand, the difference between stereoscopic 3D in film, and actual three dimensional depth, is immediately recognizable by the human brain.

    If there is an actual element of stereoscopic 3D that can allow for what you call a “new form of expression and narrative” than please provide an example. Can you name something specific that allows for 3D to be “a narrative asset?”

  • That One Guy Says

    You’re late.

  • http://twitter.com/TalonJ Talon Jennings

    I gotta tell you, I enjoyed Pirates more than any Pirates movie since the first one. That’s really neither her not there though. I saw Pirates in 2d, and as much as the reasons given here all apply, there was a definite inciting incident that contributed to that decision. 

    It was Thor.

    I saw Thor in 3d over opening weekend and the entire time I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that I was completely missing out on some awesome visuals because the way the 3d was laid out. Most of the time the “3d” was immensely planar, which made the special effects set in 3d strangely unsettling. Essentially, I felt robbed. Not of my money (because Thor was a “see it twice” sort of movie for me) but of visuals. Surely enough, I went back and saw Thor in 2d and I loved it. Everything meshed together and it was absolutely gorgeous.

    So I did a little research and set a new rule for myself. Don’t see a movie in 3d unless it was actually shot in 3d. I got pickier. Still I could have just as easily seen the Thor experience turning people off of 3d altogether. Then Pirates came out the next week.

    Only time will tell if audiences have decided to abandon 3d altogether or just start picking their poison a little more carefully. However, if the studios stab themselves in the foot in terms of no longer making 3d movies, we’ll never learn for sure. There are really too many variables to know at this point. Maybe though, just maybe, 3d movies actually failed, and maybe that failure had nothing to do with Pirates. 

  • Anonymous

    Just saw Pirates… in 2D. As several others have pointed out, the price of movies has gone up so much as it is, there’s just no real value in paying extra to see the movie in 3D. In fact, with the price of taking the family to a movie, we sometimes opt to just wait for the Blu-ray. I don’t think I’ve seen a movie in 3D since Avatar. For me, 3D is still just a gimmick. It’s pretty to look at when well done, but I’ve yet to find an example where 3D actually makes a movie better. 3D has come and gone since the 1950s. I’ll admit it’s better now than in the days of the blue and red glasses, but if it were to fade away again, I wouldn’t feel that anything had been lost.

  • Div

    Depth is also a sensory perception. Sure it is not the great human depth, but that´s the same for the color (human color perception is imposible to replicate neither in film or video yet) and with the sound (we doesnt hear in 5.1, stereo or mono, do we?).
    Its true that there also others visual indicators of depth; but the stereoscopic vision is the only one which doesnt come with experience; its a sense that every person has, as much as the have hearing, tasting, etc (excepting those one eye blind or totally blind). And maybe you can consider it minor, but it isnt actually a minor one or whatsoever. We dont realize how potential this sense is by itself because of the numerous other depth indicators we have; but you can try this: put someone a 3D video clip with a little of parallax (depth, 3D, whatever you wanna call it); and then, pause it: You´ll notice how much greater the depth perception becomes when it is paused. Why? Because we eliminate many of the other indicators (and one of the most important ones: motion parallax) and we are left with stereoscopic vision as a vital part of this.
    Another example can be shown by telling that most of special forces around the worl and air forces, dont accept one blind eye people to get into it. This is because they don´t have depth perception, which is considered as a fundamental requisite. They could have the experience to overcome that depth perception (like a 18 years old boy who´d lose one eye capability when he was 17); but they don´t actually count with the real perception.

    You want examples: Ok, have you seen 3D soccer? 3D tennis? 3D rugby? You know those times when you are not sure where the ball is going because the picture is flat? Well, thats the past for the people watching this. Or maybe whats the relative position of each player with much more accuracy than the 2D version. In film; you know when the woman in ¨Dial M for Murder¨ stretch out the hand towards the screen? Well, just think why Hitchcock did that: because in 3D, thats just awesome; and it makes the entire scene much more dramatic. Or, those scenes whe somebody is at the top of a skyscrapper…or the bullet coming your direction, etc. But whats most important is that the directors I said earlier are studing how to combine and use stereoscopic to boost feelings, ideas, etc. Like using very little depth with sad scenes, huge depth when some character is desesperating, etc. We havent seen nothing but a bit yet of what the 3D can achive. If not, why dont you think what could color bring to films? Remember the girl with the red coat in the ¨Schlinder´s List¨? Thats just an obvious example; you should talk with a proffesional colorist and you´d be amazed about how   subtle are the changes in color to boost things. The same goes with the audio. 

    Of course, Im not saying that all movies should be in 3D. Like not all movies should be in color; or with sound. But its a more natural things of viewing the world; and I hope that in some years, 3D may be a normal thing; and that 2D and 3D movies could coexist (for example; 2001 is a perfect 2D movie, visually talking; so why would I ever wanted it in 3D? But thats because it was conciouscily thought to be in 2D from beginning to end. But for example, Chris Nolan is red and green blind; so why the color in his movies? Because it is just natural for most ot the people, and the cost for color its minimal. But for 3D; it could be natural; but the medium has lived so long wiht the 2D that it´ll never disappear; becuase it has built an effective way of telling things; and the cost for 3D is much more than the 2D budget. So, only if the movie it´s thought to be in 3D from the beginning, anf counting with it like another tool for the storyteller, it should be in 3D. Let the rest be in 2D -which doesnt bother me, I love comics which are a flat medium ;)-. And just for the record; a 2D film director doesnt mean necesarilly a good 3D director, and the other way around.

    Hopefully I answered to your doubts. Now its time to sleep here in Europe.

  • momaw

    Personally, I think the best 3D release to date has been Resident Evil Extinction (not a comment on the film itself).  Yes it did use some of the old cliched “in your face” 3D gimmicks, but at the same time it also made some unique cinematography choices that really paid off in 3D (the scene on the beach comes to mind).  Not every movie benefits from 3D, but it does give the creative director another tool which when used well can enhance the film.

    The studios aren’t ditching 3D anytime soon.  Too much has been invested and it’s anti-piracy value is still too high.  Interestingly in most cinema’s here in Australia, it is rare to get the option to see the 2D version anymore, at least not in the opening weeks when it’s on the bigger screens.

  • Justice Gray

    I gotta be fair to Graeme, after dissing on like 17 of his articles I thought this one was pretty good.

  • Brian from Canada

    Low box office receipts comes based on the expectations of the studio and the entertainment press who have made the numbers more important than the quality of the film. If it surpasses expectations, it’s a hit; if it’s below expectations, it’s a problem — even if the film rakes in enough to match the GDP of some small countries.

  • Brian from Canada

    You were right about the “wait for true 3-D” comment, but this response is complete BS.

    Spielberg, Jackson, Zemeckis… they’re more interested in the technical and the spectacle rather than the narrative and pretty much have been their entire career. Hell, Cameron went into 3-D because — in words I actually got to hear him speak — his interest is really in the technical effects; once they get figured out, the rest is boring to him. 

    NO story so far has been helped by 3-D except, perhaps, Tron: Legacy, because 3-D was used to differentiate between the computer world and our own. But who cares about that when the acting was wooden and the story pathetic?

    (By the same token, what real reason was there for Jackass to be in 3-D?)

    Sky has a 3-D channel to cash in on the 3-D craze before everyone else does. If you own a 3-D TV, you need Sky 3-D, and I bet there’s a higher cost to it — just like there’s a higher cost to HD channels here in North America because they can get it.

    And Hitchcock’s one movie in 3-D is just like some of the other classic 3-D movies: a blip in the overall world of filmmaking because it’s only valuable used sparingly. You couldn’t use it in the next movie because the story didn’t call for it.

    The overall message I’m seeing here — and the one I agree with — is that the 3-D is a gimmick that’s just not providing what it’s hyping: it doesn’t provide a better narrative experience, it provides a slightly more impressive set of effects for the percentage of viewers who actually believe the effects are something to be concerned about.

  • Brian from Canada

    This is the best article I’ve read from Graeme yet.

    Once Avatar finished showing off the technical achievement that could be make using 3-D, audiences waited for a great filmmaker who could use this tool to their greatest advantage. There hasn’t been. All we’ve got so far is one 3-D film that didn’t have to be (Jackass), one that was terrible despite the lackluster effects throughout most of it (Tron) and a lot of false 3-D films asking us for extra money on something that would have been fine without it (take your pick).

    And the reality is that Pirates also got nailed for the lack of 3-D in its reviews too. Some of them I read said that the only real 3-D is the sword coming through the door. Was that worth $3 extra? Audiences don’t seem to think so, especially after seeing other failures screaming how much better they’d be in 3-D turn out to be turkeys. 

    So audiences are getting picky. Great. Now Hollywood has to listen and stop pushing 3-D as the “Next. Big. Thing.” It’s not going to cancel out illegal downloading like they think it will, because HDTV is still asserting itself where 3D TV is supposed to go. (Yes, that’s the point of 3-D: it’s supposed to be unrippable!) 

    From failed box office to pitiful ratings on TV, Hollywood needs to focus on quality of product more than visual of product — and Pirates is, I think, the ultimate example of that: had it been on the same quality as the other films, it would be no problem, but the poor reviews are underpinning that the novelty of Pirates in 3-D doesn’t make up for a lack of plot twists and turns that marked out why the franchise was so successful in the first place.

  • Hub

    I live in a town where I’m FORCED to watch big movies in 3D, but I really don’t like 3D. It adds nothing to the movie, in fact in my opinion it detracts from the experience.

    I hope 3D changes or dies, but if it changes I hope it changes into something that I can actually look at without thinking about it. Actually I’d prefer it if it’s scrapped alltogether. But a few more experiences like the one I had with Thor (which was apparently broken in my cinema, mind you), and I might just quit watching those films.

  • Joe S. Walker

    People wouldn’t do it if the writer hadn’t made a specialty of turning out silly pieces on non-existent pop-cultural phenomena. The piece above sticks to the template: some film doesn’t do the business in 3D, so 3D is “dead”. He writes as if his panties were permanently in a wad.

  • 123

    why because shes okay looking or an okay actress?P 

  • 123

    i hope your jon… i hope your right

  • Gambit347

    I despise the idea of 3D film. The entire concept is a gimmick. Let’s face it: we’re getting close to the end of what we can do with a flat moving image. Yeah, we can make the image sharper and the colors brighter, but after a while, your eyes literally can’t tell the difference. So filmmakers created the 3D gimmick (yes, it’s been tried before with the old red and blue glasses, but the concept of 3D as a “standard” [as laughable as that is] is incredibly modern).

    The only way for the “3rd dimension” to be perceived is by changing the entire way you film a movie. It’ll only work if you use blatantly clear foreground/background shots (which is necessary is you want the 3D gimmick to work), such as an over-the-shoulder view for conversations, for example, or if you have things coming toward the screen/viewer constantly, which is an extreme form of clear foreground/background shots. Both techniques effectively neuter the choreographic possibilities of the film because it’s pandering to the 3D gimmick.Take the conversation piece example I used. A lot of films use a lateral shot that features two or more characters on-screen. As a conversation flows, both characters move, emote, react and simply change during the course of each shot. The interesting thing about this type of shot is that it gives us additional things to see upon repeat viewings. Think about it: we tend to look at the character that’s currently talking during a conversation. On a repeat viewing of something, have you ever consciously decided to look at someone (or something) else in the shot and noticed something really novel, be it a funny glance or something? I certainly have, and it adds to the movie’s appeal.However, when you have a shot like I described above (an over-the-shoulder shot for conversations), it may work for 3D because it establishes a foreground (the shoulder/back of one character’s head), a middle ground (the second/third characters) and a background (whatever setting is behind the other characters), but it removes our ability to notice subtle changes in the character’s POV we happen to be taking at that particular moment. It removes the viewer’s ability to see at least one character’s responses to the current conversation.If you want to really utilize the 3D gimmick for an entire film, it would look like a first person shooter because that’s the only type of shot that would create the “depth” necessary to get the 3D gimmick to work.As for things coming at the screen the whole time, that would get annoying really fast, and we all know it.There’s also the additional ticket cost and cumbersome glasses. As well as the perceived difference between “true” 3D films and films that are converted, but I don’t know enough about those to comment.

    This may not get my point across as well as I’d hoped, but it should do the job.

    Also, in case you guys are wondering. I’ve never seen a 3D film (I’ve seen all the movies with 3D options in 2D [it makes you see what a crap film Avatar really is]) and I never will.

  • http://twitter.com/ifdestroyed Paul O’Brien

    The problem for 3D is that it’s more expensive than watching the 2D version, and now that the novelty has worn off, people are asking themselves: what am I getting for that extra money?  It doesn’t help that they’ve been burned by too many films with dodgy conversions.  Even with something like Toy Story 3, the 3D doesn’t really add much.  (Oh, and there are also people like me who have friends who can’t see the 3D effect at all.  Are we going to drag them along to pay extra for a 3D effect they can’t see?  Not unless we feel very strongly that we want to see the 3D version… which we don’t.)

  • Averyscratch

    twat twat twat

  • Thom

    I was blown away by the 3D in the trailer for Born To be Wild…not so much by Thor or Pirates. I think it simply comes down to the correct USE of the technology

  • DoubleWide

    3-D movies never take into account those of us who wear glasses. That’s what turned me off from the last time 3-D was popular.

  • Tonhogg

     Which town do you live in?

  • Tonhogg

    If find it funny that when something visual is done people say that quality of the movie and story line are put in the trash can, especially now that it is applied to 3d.   Then if most of these are conversions how can that be.   Didn’t they already come up with the story line and such before the whole “let’s also make it 3d.”  See if they had just left that out the movie would still “be the same.”  Yet people argue that the movie itself (story line, character development, etc,) was worse because they sacrificed it to make it 3d.  It was already made before they did the 3d on most of these movies.  So that argument means nothing.  I don’t think people but much thought into that statement when they make it.

  • Awgyetvan

    Um, Div – “Pirates” was shot in native 3D, using the Cameron-Pace system. Love the enthusiasm, but would be good to have the facts straight.

  • Guest

    Agreed, 3d for 3d sake to sell more tickets or make it flashy is pointless.  If it’s used as a tool to actually advance the the story telling then movies should be made in 3d.  But to be honest, I’m not sure how you could tell a story better using 3d instead of 2d.  For horror movies it would just help the ‘shock’ factor.  Some of my favorite movies could not have been made better if they were 3d.  Think about it; LA Confidential, The Usual Suspects, Casino, Spanish Prisoner, or Little Miss Sunshine would not of had any improvement if they were in 3d or even the story.  Or how about District 9 or Children of Men (I actually didn’t like the story, but liked the cinematography)

    Thoughts?

  • Hub

    Oslo.

  • Matt Spatola

    Pirates 4 has made over $647 million worldwide in just 12 days. How the fuck is that ‘weak’? The supposed ‘articles’ on this blog are insane.

  • Zeovgm

    Do you idiots read the article before you reply?

    It says the 3D haul is weak. Not the OVERALL haul. The 3D haul WAS weak. That’s an unarguable fact.

  • Anonymous

    I dont feel like having a huge article like everyone else so long story short:

    3D blows.

  • Shoe

    3D doesnt look good on real life movies, its to much to focus on. its good on animated stuffe

  • Matt Spatola

    As an idiot who unfortunately and painfully reads articles on this site I would like to announce yes I did read it. However there is no denying that Pirates is making a shitload of cash; like I said over $647 million in not even two weeks. And yeah the percentage of 3D tickets might be lower than other movies. Pirates 3D ticket sales are 47/48% of total tickets instead of an average of 60% for other 2D/3D films. But there has never been a fourth film in a series in 3D before so its a hard comparison. 

    Still also no other 3D movie is making this kind of money. I’m sure it will close at around $800+ million when its all said and done. I’m guessing that will put it close to second to Avatar for 2D/3D films. 

    To somehow say that 3D is dead, or Pirates receipts are weak or that a special case like Pirates 4 which has no comparable situation or film for comparison is unarguable, well that is idiotic or uninformed.

  • http://twitter.com/studiojcomics J. Wichmann

    For what its worth hollywood needs to take a hard look at how they use 3D in film making.  James Cameron using 3D to enhance his films is awesome because the whole movie was made in 3D, so of course it looks amazing and is worth the extra $$ to see.  Cameron even spoke out about it after avatar came out that Hollywood ultimately will probably poison the format with misuse.
    Hollywoods (mis)use of the 3D post-conversion process is mainly what’s killing the format (IE Thor).  Having tech guys separate the backgrounds in random scenes and then billing the film as a 3D extravaganza is just plain false marketing on hollywoods part, and with the speed of communication these days it doesn’t take long for millions of people to post or twitter about saving your money and see the 2d version. 

    it doesn’t take a marketing genius to figure out that if you selling an overpriced but low rent product people aren’t going to buy it(with the exception of apple, but thats a whole other debate).  Sorry Hollywood, but my time and $$ is worth more than that!

  • RunnerX13

    I’m completely fine with 3D going away forever.

  • RunnerX13

    I actually haven’t heard “3D is dead” anywhere, in regards to the low performance of Pirates 4.  I’m not a fan of 3D, but I didn’t see the movie because I barely got through Pirates 1 on DVD.  And I didn’t see any movies this past weekend, because this was a gorgeous weekend, and I had much better things to do that didn’t involved sitting indoors.

  • RunnerX13

    Pirates 4 is reported to have cost $250 million to produce, and has grossed $163 million domestically; by many Hollywood standards, this is considered a bomb, despite what the film makes internationally.

  • RunnerX13

    Can we give you some type of “Making Sense” award?

  • Burgers

    Is your argument really: “I watched Thor and Pirates in 3-D, and since Thor was bad in 3-D Pirates must be?” 

    If that logic stuck, no one would be seeing anything in 3-D by now, since the vast majority have been, well, “meh”.

  • Jnessier

    What they really need to do if they don’t want 3D to die is to make the 3D better. In most 3D movies that I have seen since AVATAR the 3D has been downright lousy.  This conversion process, I am sorry to say, does not produce the same 3D effects as using a real 3D camera does. If it is possible to achieve similar results with the conversion process (as they claim!) then they are just not spending enough money on the conversion process. This is what is going to kill 3D!. Make no mistake about it if lousy 3D conversions continue (The latest Conan apparently is the worst 3D since Clash of the titans).  Also some films just should not be produced in 3D because of the inherant lack of brightness. Cameron (who is clearly one of the only really smart people in Hollywood) understood that when he made Avetar brighter than usual to account for the dimming effect of 3D.