Credit rating agency (you can already tell this’ll be scintillating) Fitch Ratings has surveyed the state of 3D movie releases, and has predicted that profits from the format will be lower this year than it was in last. This would make it the first year since 2009 that 3D ticket sales declined.
3D was a wonky gimmick until James Cameron really refined it with Avatar, making it into a polished, snazzy gimmick. That, more than anything else, probably explains the bafflingly extreme box office success that film experienced. Hollywood, always eager to chase the financial unicorn, immediately set about shooting new movies in 3D and converting 2D films into the format. The increased ticket price that comes with viewing films in the format has helped boost profits over recent years, surely giving a few studio moguls an extra yacht or two each.
But that may be at an end. Why? That extra cost:
“Attendance likely benefited from the initial proliferation of 3-D films,” the study’s authors write. “However, the initial excitement has dwindled, and consumers are focused again on the overall quality of the film and are weighing the cost of a premium ticket versus a base 2-D ticket.”
“Going to the movies remains one of the lower-cost forms of entertainment… However, increased pricing, particularly on 3-D films, may erode this perception over time.”
Also in the report:
Perhaps most worrisome for exhibitors is that the ratings agency thinks the rise of newer and snazzier home entertainment offerings will only intensify the fight for entertainment dollars.
Moreover, moviegoers are beginning to get wise to the fact that they have to wait a shorter period of time than before movies start popping up on video-on-demand and make an appearance on store shelves.
Movies will likely always be better in the theater. Not with 3D, mind you, but with an audience, and no source of distraction around you. We’re possibly approaching the time where a lot of theaters begin to shut down, and film becomes a more niche interest. That’ll be a shame. I won’t mourn 3D, though.