Fewer moviegoers are putting on 3D glasses. The format peaked in 2010, when Avatar ruled supreme. Hollywood is also releasing fewer 3D movies but the format is still popular across Asia, according to the annual report by MPAA.
Can 3D survive?
Over the decades, several attempts have been made to convince moviegoers to wear funky glasses, and in 2009 and 2010 James Cameron’s Avatar managed to revive 3D cinema. 2010 was also the year when the modern version of 3D peaked.
Moviegoers in the US and Canada are increasingly ignoring 3D, according to the annual report by Motion Picture Association of America. In 2010, 3D movies grossed a total of 2.2 billions dollars, which corresponded to 21% of total theatrical revenue. In 2017, revenue dropped to 1.3 billion dollars and the share to 12%.
Hollywood is also releasing fewer 3D movies. The number of titles has dropped from 52 in 2016 to 44 last year. The number of cinema screens equipped with 3D projectors grew by just 1% in the US and Canada last year, and around 4% across Europe, the Middle East, and Northern Africa.
3D TVs are dead
TV manufacturers introduced the first 3D-capable TVs in 2010 but the format received a lukewarm reception. By 2016 and 2017, most manufacturers had completely phased out 3D again.
The 3D format remains popular in cinemas across Asia, particularly in China. Last year, almost 80% of all cinema screens were equipped to show 3D movies and the format’s share of ticket sales remains higher compared to the western world. The report did not detail the state of 3D in Asian living rooms.
3D is dead in the living room but remains relevant as a theatrical format. However, the data suggests that moviegoers in the western world are increasingly abandoning the format. Time will tell if James Cameron can once again spark excitement in audiences. The next Avatar film will be released in 2020.