back to article 3D films fall flat

There are indications that Hollywood's rush to extract extra cash from cinemagoers in return for an extra visual dimension might be doomed to follow previous 3D initiatives into the cutting room bin. The release of Avatar last December - the James Cameron epic which grossed $2.7bn - had movie execs licking their lips at the …


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  1. Michael 82

    Im another Hollywood Cash Cow

    Take me to the slaughter house, I'm done for already.

  2. lglethal Silver badge

    The problem is...

    ... that use of 3D is too hit and miss.

    Done well 3D can be superb, but to accomplish this, the 3D has to be taken into account from the start and must be well thought out. Done badly and its just plain atrocious.

    For me, Alice in Wonderland was particularly bad in 3D, and i would suggest that the reason it was so popular had nothing to do with the fact it was in 3D. I put its popularity down to the fact it was the latest Tim Burton film and it starred Johnny Depp. I believe i would have enjoyed that film considerably more if id only seen the 2D version!

    I personally quite liked the 3D in Clash of the Titans, being for the most part very understated and not jumping out at you all the time. There were some parts where it didnt work but overall i quite liked it.

    So far of the 3D films ive seen, in my opinion only about half of them have effectively used 3D. And this is the problem...

  3. Mike Brown

    idiots in hollywood

    no wonder this is happening. people are not stupid (well they are but...) avatar was shot in real 3d and looked wonderful, titan was pretend 3d. there is a huge difference. people noticed that these pretend ones arent as good, so didnt see the point of paying extra for almost no real benefit.

    And the cinemas have started charging extra for glasses, on top of the extra you need to pay to see in 3d in the 1st place. People arnt stupid and wont pay over the odds.

    If they only had real 3d films in 3d, and didnt charge for the specs, i think people wouldnt be fed up of the 3d craze already.

    1. Adam Salisbury


      When it costs almost as much as to see the film once as it does but the thing on DVD (and we're very nearly there) there's no point in going in the frist place. Ever since the writers strike all we've seen out of holiday is mass resurrection of old franchises, tepid remakes and now the 3D fad.

      Not only is it a massive rip-off but it's just an attempt as making revenue lost from churing out mediocre films

    2. Lou Gosselin

      Glasses not optional

      At the nearby theater, they charge for the polarized glasses on top of the film price. However here the local movie theater would not sell just the ticket if we already had 3d glasses from a previous visit. We asked why, and they said that the studios don't allow them not to sell the glasses with each ticket.

      What a scam! It's just a way to increase the admission price while continuing to advertise at a lower price.

    3. Lou Gosselin

      Price for glasses?

      One other poster said they paid 50c for glasses. I'm curious what other people are paying. Over here it's a mandatory $2 USD on top of the admission price.

      1. Seanmon

        Problem is

        for H&S reasons, every single pair* of those glasses has to be washed after every performance - which means investing in washing machines and either holding double stock or increasing times between showings. Add the normal breakages/lossages/nickages and I'm surprised cinemas are charging.

        (Used to work in an IMAX)

        *not the disposable cardboard ones, obv.

        1. Lou Gosselin

          Re: Problem is

          "for H&S reasons, every single pair* of those glasses has to be washed after every performance"

          If that were the case, at least that's understandable.

          Here they're plastic, come individually wrapped and we're told to dispose of them in the trash after each performance (you'll have to pay for new ones anyways). It's totally wasteful, but what do they care if it increases profits?

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Roger Ebert

    Roger Ebert said the same about the move to Color. Wast of a perfectly good bit of light spectrum.

  5. Mr Brush
    Thumb Down


    Took the kids to see Toy Story 3D last week. The specs gave me a headache within minutes, my daughter's nose is too small for them to stay on her face and the 'effect' didn't add anything to the film other than make Pixar change the camera angles to exploit the tired old 'things flying out of the screen' gag.

    I'll be quite happy once the fuss dies down and the current wave of 3D joins the umpteen other cinematic 3D attempts from the 50s, 60s and 80s, in the bin.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Is it just me or is the 3D thing in cinemas 1) Not that comfortable or natural feeling to watch - like wearing someone else's subsription glasses. and 2) Not that impressive - i.e. to the level of the stuff in the rebel briefing in Star Wars!

  7. Lottie


    I'm hoping that the new Tron film is in 3D and on the Imax near me. That would rule.

    In general though, I find that the problem with 3-D films is that they make a big thing of being 3-D and kind of use the extra dimension to cover over the fact that the film is shite.

    A good film is a good film. A poor film in 3-D is still poor.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Tron 2.0

      Tron 2.0 is 3D and 3D Imax.

      The latest trailer should be up on youtube by now, go have a look it says it at the end.

      Personally, cant wait - it looks like its being done properly, so this has the potential to be one of the best 3D films ever... but then again, ive heard that said before too many times...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's in 3D. It uses the Cameron 3D cameras.

      It'll rule.

  8. Rob

    It's extremely rare I say this, but...

    ... I told you so!

    (Sorry couldn't resist, oi there's no need to throw my coat at me!)

    1. Doshu


      3D isn't a bad thing, but it's not what makes a movie great. A movie has to hold it's own without cheap tricks -- instead of investing in slight-of-hand, they should probably concentrate on making flicks that aren't garbage (like a majority of offerings in recent years).

      Hold the door, please!

      1. Laurence Blunt

        Seconded again.

        I couldn't agree more, most of this 3D stuff is just the latest way of making naff films a bit more marketable.

        Just as for the last few years we have seen countless crap movies sold on CGI explosions, this is just another cheap trick, and a lot easier than actually getting a good script to start with. When I see remakes described with a phrase like: "re-envisioned for modern audience", I instantly know it crap.

        The problem with Hollywood and most TV these days is that we have “seen it all before”, and when once every year or two something different does come out, the format gets copied a dozen or more times until the audience is sick to death of it.

        A lot of this raving over 3D reminds me of a fellow I once worked with who thought he was a movie buff. When he asked me what my favourite movie was; I said there couldn't be just one, but any list would have to include classics like "Some Like It Hot", "Stalag 17" and "The Apartment". He didn't recognise any of them, and when I said they were in "black and white" his response was that he didn't what anything in B&W!

        To me he instantly was no movies buff, just a follower of fashion.

        (The Terminator because the special effects were needed to tell the story; they were not the story.)

        1. Rob

          Spot on...

          ... gone are the days of epics from Directors like Akira Kurosawa, some of his greatest were in B&W and 3D would be completely lost on them as its' the plot as well as the scene compostion that made them beautiful.

          I can think of a ton of European films that rely on character depth and storyline that blow most films out of the water today.

          Mainstream cinema nowadays is a visual candy store, and as we all know sugar dissolves pretty quick.

    2. BritPad

      R 3D 2

      I didn't throw it at you - this 3D stuff is sooo realistic !!

  9. Anonymous Coward

    3D TVs and films...

    The glasses give me a headache after a long time (film length). Also, my 3 year old won't wear them and my 5 year old doesn't like "things popping out of the screen". I certainly wouldn't part the hard cash for a 3D TV. It just seems daft that the whole family has to sit in the front room with special glasses just to watch the TV. Also - claims from manufacturers to take 2D and "automatically convert it to 3D" seems a little far - especially when to get depth the 2nd camera would need a different angle.

    Perhaps these studio's need to listen to the audiences. We want good films, with decent story/dialogue - not special effects crap with no substance just so something can come flying out of the screen at the audience...

    On childrens films, we're off to see Toy Story 3 this week. Asked my son whether he wanted to see the 3D version (which costs an extra £1.50 on the ticket price) he said No. So we'll head an watch the 2D version...

    It is/was a fad. Its place is in Disney/Universal theme parks only for quick 10-20 minute shows/rides.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      2d to 3d

      There are some units that do not do to bad of a job. Bought one about a year ago, and it still appears fairly decent, and can conver the 2d to different 3d formats.

  10. Tom 15


    Actually, 3D added a lot to Up and Toy Story 3. It's just a shame that Pixar are the only people who really understand that 3D is about depth of field, not about shoving things in your face.

    1. Marky W

      Yes! Yes! Yes!

      What he said.

      Have a congratulatory beer, Tom.

    2. Ivan Headache


      Wnt to see Toy Story 3 in 3D on Saturday with the delightdul Ivana. Everything we saw in the cinema that evening was in 3D. The only filng that looked real was Toy Story.

      There are no 'in your face' screen popping things in TS. No phoney cardboard layers like a viewmaster - or a sky logo for that matter. The 3D for me was natural. the viewpoint appeared to be just my side of the characters and the depth was on the other side of them - just like it is in real life.

      I felt the same watching UP.

      Curiously there was a trailer for Avatar (and about a dozen other up-coming £D movies) and the 3D was very carboard layer.

      Pixar knows how to do it. The others think they know how to do it.

  11. Barry Tabrah

    3D has its place

    Avatar was a case in point. It really showed off how 3D should be done. I for one am certainly considering watching Tron Legacy in 3D and praying to whatever deity may be listening that they don't play with 3D just for the sake of it. However your average flick really doesn't benefit from 3D, particularly if they're waving stuff in front of your face just because they can.

  12. flying_walrus


    Finally got around to watching avatar yesterday.

    What a trite piece of new age crap.

    Anamation was good though.

  13. Cameron Colley

    A really good film is good no matter what.

    With the odd exception of things like the first Matrix movie it wouldn't matter if a film was in black and white with a mono soundtrack if it's a good film.

    Then there are on-trick ponies like Avatar -- I've no doubt it looks "cool" in 3D but having seen it in 2D I can see it for the regurgitated dull pap it is. Contrast that with Alice In Wonderland which, while still obviously derivative, was clever and funny and didn't need 3D to be good watch.

    3D can work -- but only when used as another tool which is well integrated into a good production. Pushing 3D insensitively onto an old classic or using it to make tripe a little more exciting to the audience in the cinema is just stupid.

    Mind you, I'd rather watch "The Straight Story", "Full Metal Jacket" or "In The Mood For Love" (for example) in 2D at home than go to the cinema to see Pocohontas 3D^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Avatar so I suppose I'm not the target audience.

    1. Anton Ivanov

      Agree 100%

      I watched "How to train your dragon" with junior and my other half. 3D added very little to it. It was a distraction so I am eagerly anticipating the DVD to watch it properly.

      Let's be real, if it made real use of 3D the audience would have been screaming out of the hall. You do not expect an 8 year old to sit still when there is a Monstrous Nightmare on fire walking out of the screen and opening its mouth to eat him do you? OK some will, but there will be enough to start screaming and run for the exit to make the cinemas forget about the idea outright.

      There is a very small gap in the market where 3D is enjoyable Mid level slightly violent trash like Avatar is probably spot on. I really would not want to watch Alien or Predator in 3D. At least without a spare set of pants.

  14. lansalot


    Saw Toy Story 3 3D at the weekend. Didn't look like a 3D original. You'd have thought that was a no- brainer, but it ruined the film. Poor show all round. 2D from now on. And who wants to wear the stupid specs at home anyway.


  15. Daniel Garcia 2

    Fake 3D is the problem

    i was very upset about Alice in Wanderland. the 3d effect was just a cutting paste work instead of a real 3D recording. i didn't see avatar but 15 years ago i watched a proper 3D film in Futuroscope (Poitiers ,France). i remember how its blow my mind the scene of a restaurant set in the 20's, no especial effects, just the recording with a real 3D camera.

    basically any film that is a rework of 2D images passed to 3D is pure FAIL!

  16. Dan 10

    Crap novelty

    Just give me a good quality 2d presentation any day.

    I certainly won't be buying a 3d tv.

    Is it just me or do the two sides of a particular point on a given image not quite line up anyway?

  17. Maverick
    Thumb Down


    that's all

  18. GeorgeTuk

    More money for the same film...screw off.

    When you local Vue starts punting the same film at £3 more for 3D they can stick it. Its profiteering, as I thought they wanted more people in the cinema not less people for more expensive films.

    Oh and VIP seats whats that all about. And £16 for a hotdog, nachos and a drink.

    Having said that, I did use all 3 for Toy Story on Friday last hurrah at the cinema.

    So long cinema...its been expensive.

  19. Rogerborg

    Does it really make the cinemas money?

    Yes, the tickets cost more, but aren't you just going to spend less on manky popcorn and tepid caramel-flavoured-fizz-water?

    I have to ask, because if I wanted to pay to sit in a dank, uncomfortable, nausea inducing box full of abusive chavs shrieking into their mobiles, I could just hop on the number 66 bus any evening and get much the same experience for a lot less dosh.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Shrek Forever After in 3D

    Saw this last weekend with my sprogs. Good (enough) film, some belly laughs, entertaining for an hour or two - but TWENTY SIX quid for 1 adult and 2 children, for an effect that soon became un-noticeable!

    So we're sticking to 2D from now on, unless really really really really worth it.

  21. Stu

    You mean it was...

    ...all a gimmick!? Never! ;-)

    Would be interesting too to see the 3DTV sales figures in relation to normal sets.

    1. Nexox Enigma

      Probably misleading

      """Would be interesting too to see the 3DTV sales figures in relation to normal sets."""

      Too bad so many regular sets are now '3D Ready' - it'd throw the stats off and make it look like everyone is buying into the 3D thing. I suppose if you just included sets that come ready for 3D out of the box, that may be another story.

      Personally, I wear prescription glasses, can't be bothered with contacts, and don't feel like this 3D thing is worh the trouble of dealing with the specs. Plus my significant other gets motion sick in regular 2D theater films, no need to poke the bear on that one, so to speak.

  22. Jon Double Nice

    The later Star Wars films

    Episodes 2 & 3 (and probably 1 as well) are pretty much all cgi, I'd guess that they could take the modelled things and backgrounds and just render them into 3d.

    Sure the people would remain 2 dimensional, but that's at least +1 dimension in terms of their portrayals of the various characters in the films.

    1. Anton Ivanov

      Well, the people there are 2-dimensional in the first place

      You could replace them with wood cutouts and few will notice...

  23. snafu

    For some it was all about digital projection

    Interestingly, for some of the pioneers in shooting films with HiDef digital cameras, 3D was really about forcing movie theatres to install digital projection systems.

  24. Tom Chiverton 1

    No !

    Leave /Star Wars/ alone ! Again !

    1. Tom 35


      They can change who shoots first again... :P

    2. Gaz Jay

      Right on!

      It was shite the first time, shiter the 2nd time and will be even more so next time round.

    3. Paul RND*1000

      Damn straight!

      Every time I see the brutalized version of Return of the Jedi, with the "young Anakin" ghost at the end, I want to find George Lucas and insert a light saber into his "where the sun don't shine" place. Seriously, what the hell was he thinking there?

      If movies could apply for restraining orders, Lucas wouldn't be permitted within 100 yards of the original Star Wars trilogy.

    4. Laurence Blunt

      Hopefully G.L. learned his lesson last time...

      When he spent lots of dosh to add CGI to the original Star Wars movies. It was almost unnoticable for most of them and in one or two places it was just awfull.

      If he was to try another re-hash for 3D he will probably do it to the CGI TV stuff, of he should sod about with the last 3 pic's as noone will care.

  25. David Lavery

    Does that reflect the films though?

    While Avatar was a phenominal success the other films mentioned were all of varying quality. For a better comparison I would be interested to see the figures generated for Toy Story 3.

  26. Stratman


    What the studios are failing to see is that first you need a good film. They seem to be of the opinion "it's the medium rather than the message that matters".

    I'd much rather watch Casablanca in grainy monochrome, or the Spaghetti Westerns than some of the dross that's been punted under the 3D banner.

  27. BingBong

    I saw Toy Story 3 last week ..

    .. and watched it in 2D as I did not want to pay 50% extra for 3D and extra again for the glasses that would have to sit over my normal glasses.

    But jolly good it was in 2D anyway.

  28. Anonymous Coward


    3D? You mean stereoscopic cinema dontcha?

  29. Rob 30

    non dimensional

    I really don't think declining renenue is anything to do with how many dimensions the films are shown in, i believe it is more to do with the films being shit.

  30. Chris 3

    With the school holidays upon us...

    There are a plethora of 3D films out there.

    I saw Toy Story 3 in 3D yesterday, but the fact it was 3D had zero extra draw for me or the kids, it was incidental.

  31. LinkOfHyrule

    Well at least...

    Well at least after spending an extra £5 for watching the film in 3D and spending £5 on a huge tub of popcorn, if you are sick, the huge popcorn tub makes for a handy sick bucket.

    Mines the one with 3d glasses in the breast pocket, and popcorn and chunks of dried carrot down the front

  32. Alpha Tony


    Kind of agree with the quote from Roger Ebert. It can be a fun novelty from time to time but really it doesn't add that much to the experience and when I watched two 3d films in the same day it gave me a bit of a headache to be honest.

    I think that Hollywood has jumped all over this for two main reasons-

    1) It 'justifies' adding several quid to the ticket price

    2) It means you can't record the film with a camcorder and stick it on the internet

    I think they may be in for a bit of a shock going forward though as the novelty is definitely wearing off for the general public who only care about entertainment and price... and are increasingly deciding that a questionable improvement in the former is not worth a significant increase in the latter...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Your point 2... not quite correct. Just place the lens of one of the glasses in front of the camera's lens, and you'll cut out one of the two 3D channels, thus taking it back to 2D again, and it will look just fine!

  33. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    it's the money, stupid

    some of us are just cheap and don't care to part with an extra $20 just to take our kids to see the 3-D version of the latest, greatest regurgitation of an old story line. 2-D movie ticket prices are already nearly criminal, and god forbid you want to buy popcorn and a drink for 3 kids and two adults. Movie theaters have made fleecing into an art-form.

  34. Geoff Campbell Silver badge

    Yup, I call "passing fad".

    I went to see Avatar in 3D, and it was stunning, a truly memorable experience. But, as a film, I didn't enjoy it any more than watching it in 2D on Blu-Ray a few weeks later. I've just been to see Toy Story in 3D, and it'll probably be the last time I opt to pay the premium over 2D. Fun, but not relevant to the film.

    Until, that is, we have *true* 3D, holographic characters that you can move around and see from different angles. I predict a big come-back(*) for porn at that point.


    (*) I'm truly sorry about that one....

  35. Peter H. Coffin

    Money IS a factor...

    That surcharge for 3D (50% more, commonly, where I live) is a huge problem. It puts the price of two tickets up to the cost of *buying* the thing when it comes out on BluRay a few months after release. To an extent, the cost of providing the glasses does justify the expense, but no moviehouse I've seen has pricing that would account for that one has seen a previous 3D film and may not NEED to purchase yet another pair.

  36. Pete 2 Silver badge

    wizzy tech is no substitute

    for an engaging story, good characters played well and leaving the audience with a feeling that they enjoyed themselves. It seems that's one lesson which Hollywood is still in the process of learning. Let's hope the TV channels don't play follow the lemming.

  37. Paul Frankheimer


    US film critic Roger Ebert is having none of it. He said: "Technicolor is a waste of money and Hollywood's current crazy stampede toward it is suicidal. It adds nothing essential to the movie-going experience. For some, it is an annoying distraction. For others, it creates nausea and headaches."

    1. Handel was a crank


      That's right, 'cause those special glasses you needed to wear for technicolor were so inconvenient...

  38. mafoo

    Final Destination

    Final Destination 4

    Anyone who had the misfortune to see it will share my pain.

  39. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @The Last Airbender

    To be fair that was one of the worst movies of all time.

    It's a little like saying that audiences don't want location movies any more after "Ishtar"

  40. Andrew Moore


    ...when I took the family to see Toy Story 3 on Saturday, the 3d price was the same as the 2d price. The only difference was 50c each for the glasses- but we brought our own anyway.

  41. Ryan Clark

    only seen one

    Went to see Toy Story 3 at the week-end. No problems with wearing the glasses even with a 5 year old with me and the wife, but both the adults thought that they were straining our eyes. Don't think 3D made much difference to the experience, the 3D adverts before the film were more effective. I also thought that picture quality was down in 3D. Watched Avatar at home on Blu-ray a couple weeks back, that was more visually stunning even in 2D.

  42. Anonymous Coward

    "And the cinemas have started charging extra for glasses"

    That alone makes me think there is no future in the genre and that cinemas just want to maximise profits while the fad lasts.

    If they truly believe that this genre is going to become the norm they would have invested in the mass production of cheep disposable glasses at a cost that's small enough to be absorbed in ticket price.

  43. pootle

    when it is good it is very very good and when it is bad it is horrid

    well can be at least. Just took the grandkids to see ToyStory3 in 3D, and on the whole it was pretty impressive. It was certainly a lot better than many of the trailers that preceded it, which looked more like bits of the scene (actors, background etc. had been cut out and pasted back in with a 3D offset, but were still flat themselves. Although there were a few times even in TS3 when my brain 'lost registration' and just showed me 2 misalined images of part of the scene.

    Are they winding up the 3D offset too far sometimes? Or is there a 'correct' distance from the screen, so that if you are much closer or further than this, it's actually not quite right?

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'd rather see a decent 2D film instead of some bilge in 3D

    Avatar, I can forgive - you sold us the film on the basis of the 3D and that's what I went for, and thoroughly enjoyed. But I prefer films that have, well, plots, scripts, dialogue, and something to make me think, or a good twist. Yes, 3D could well add to a film, but paying extra for it, when it's probably the least important element to me, no.

  45. Anonymous Coward

    Statistics on 3D viewers...

    ...are skewed. You can't measure auduence uptake by the capability of the cinema to project in 3D.

    Payed the 3D premium too see Toy Story 3 with kids last week - because we had to - there was no option to watch it in 2D. I don't go much but can't believe our local cinema is unusual in this respect?

    And the 3D? Meh...

    Maybe we should just stop trying to make a 2D screen appear 3D and get back to the plot - that is decent film plots and decent acting.

    1. Fuzz

      Re: Statistics on 3D viewers...

      I agree,

      At my local multiplex the latest blockbusters are shown in 3D with screenings starting every hour, if you want to go and watch the 2D version then there is one show per day.

      I'd never go and watch a 3D film if it wasn't the only way to watch a film when I want to.

  46. Sodabread

    Isn't this the future?

    I'm tired of the heavy, nose hurting, headache inducing 3D glasses technology in use today. Perfect actual 3D technology and give us truly volumetric holographs where the movie is actually taking place around us, instead of in front of us. While they're at it, I want my flying car and nanobot toothbrush.

    Mine's the one with the copy of Sega's Time Traveler in the pocket.

    1. Goat Jam
      Thumb Up


      don't forget the Monkey Butlers!

    2. M Gale

      That must be a bloody big pocket.

      And talk about headache-inducing.

      Neat effect though, until you figure out it's just a TV with the image upside down/mirrored and a giant parabolic mirror. Not so much 3D as floating 2D.

      This post had a point, but then I lost it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Try the stage darling!

      1. Sodabread


        ..once they start putting on shows that I want to see that don't cost an effin' fortune (see: Spamalot & Young Frankenstein). I've seen a few that I like, but I only saw them because the tickets cost $20 or they were given to me.

  47. thenim

    nothing to see here...

    literally... move along now... smelly vision anyone?

  48. Avatar of They
    Thumb Up

    Taken too long to happen.

    My problem has been 2d conversions of the films they made in 3d. I mean those bits that shouldn't be in a film and wouldn't have been if they were not tryingt shoe horn in a 3d moment. (alice in wonderland piano in the rabbit hole, aliens versus monsters bat and ball etc)

    With the hopeful death of 3d, I can go back to hating cinemas for chavs and mobile phones, people talking and the unbelievable price of sweets.

  49. Tony S

    To 3D - or not to 3D...

    ... that is the question.

    The answer (for me at least) is that I don't give a toss about much money they have thrown at a film - is it any good? I want a storyline, preferably one that engages me and makes me use my grey matter.

    Those films that are based purely around large explosions, car chases, or how wonderful the American military are compared to everyone else, simply don't do a thing for me. I'm also not particularly interested in seeing a film because it features the latest "celebrity".

    I don't mind a remake IF the new version adds something to the older version - but too many of them don't. (I'm thinking of that dreadful "Italian job".)

    Unfortunately, too many of the suits at the film studios think they know what the public wants, even when it is clear they don't. Thye throw millions at a project that is just a pile of pants, and then blame everyone else for not appreciating the "quality" of the work, or pirates for downloading and distributing the crap.

  50. Nick Davey

    See if we can spot a pattern..

    Crap film + crap 3d conversion = crap box office performance. Avatat was shot natively in 3D and made full use of the advantages. until we get another film that tries to follow it, yeah, no one will want to pay extra for the gimmick of 3D to see a crappy film looking worse. Hollywood need to stop with all the sequels and reboots and go back to trying to make some good movies we actually want to see. This isn't showing that 3d is bad, it is showing that given the choice punters will pay less money to see a potentially wonky film.

  51. Anonymous Coward

    Could it be...

    Could it be, perhaps, that the reason punters aren't going to see films in 3D like the Last Airbender is because they're crappy films?


  52. Anonymous Coward

    yes, but will those 3D movies run on the current TV sets?

    I believe that I am not the only one that have invested in a HDTV and BLU-RAY players (well PS3), just to be told that it is "yesterday's technology".

    as for the 3D films themselves.... we don't watch them because they are in "3D," we watch them because they are good even if they are in "2D."

    1. Big-nosed Pengie


      You mean you haven't got a 4D player yet? 3D was sooooo last week!

  53. Chris Holt

    3D isn't a panacea for rubbish films

    Hollywood seem to see 3D as an all consuming panacea for cinema sales, ignoring the fact that people did not go to the cinema before because they were not interested in the watching the releases until they hit DVD. 3D has a novelty period, particularly with Avatar, and does make a case for going to the cimena rather than turning to torrents. However, Avatar would have had high sales anyway, if the first major 3D release had been American Pie 324 (or whatever they have to got up to now) sales would have been less of a headline.

    Most 3D films IMHO underuse the 3D element, adding depth into the screen and doing novelty effects. 2D -3D conversion is flaky at best

    If you want to see what 3D really can look like, watch the Sony 3D Bluray demo for their TVs. It makes James Cameron's 3D effects look like amateur hour.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shrek 4 2D

    Saw a preview of Shrek 4 3D when we went to Avatar and it looked as if they'd gone down the "lets make things fly out of the screen all the time" style of 3D films and, to be honest, wasn't particularily enthused by it (and by contrast I found the 3D in Avatar very understated and natural). Anyway, went to see Shrek 4 last night ... in 2D as the 3D screen in our local cinema had moved onto Toy Story 3 and it was great .... it was clear at times that scenes were done for 3D effects but I never was left thinking "I wish this was in 3D" - in fact on the basis of the preview I think in 3D it would have been too OTT.

    I think what filmmakers need to understand is that 3D can;t be the "main attraction" and a film still needs to be good and 3D just needs to add a little more depth (!) Its one of those things that probably works best when you don't actually realize its there!

  55. Lionel Baden


    is about what i think of 3d

    its just not good enough to warrant spending more.

  56. Andy H


    Avatar worked in 3D as it was novelty, but also Cameron spent a massive amount of money on R&D for the technologies for the film and the film was designed to be 3D so it worked. But other films have jumped on the bandwagon and done it cheaply and failed. I think any 2D / 3D transfer isn't going to help either.

    But what I found annoying about 3D is when there are items in the extreme foreground. e.g. The falling ash in avatar my eyes tried to focus on it and but of course it could never come into focus as it was filmed out of focus.

  57. Annihilator


    "The Telegraph notes that studios are working on "at least" 24 new 3D films for next year, while mulling whether or not to continue with suicidal plans to convert the likes of Star Wars or Harry Potter into the format."

    Hmm, would Lucas take the opportunity to further dry-hump his franchise into money spinning ridicule? I'm frankly amazed he hasn't re-re-re-mastered it for blu-ray yet - 3D seems like just the sort of thing he'd do, with all the characters played by Ewoks (apologies to South Park)

    1. Sooty


      Remember how long he took to get them out on DVD! And all those sneaky changes that were shoehorned in. Frankly I'd like some sort of requirement that if it's different to the cinema version, it has to explicitly state it on the box.

      Although, from what i recall, the fancy new digital cameras he "pioneered" for the prequels, may not have been high enough resolution for them to look passable on blu-ray, at least episode 1.

  58. EvilGav 1

    Cant stand this craze . . .

    . . . it's just pointless.

    You cant do the 3D thing properly with live action, because the cameras required to film every single scene from two slightly different points don't exist in the requisite numbers (yet, they possibly never will).

    This means that, for the most part, the major 3D element in a live action film are the special effects, which start to look a bit less special.

    This is also why the likes of Avatar can look good, it's in a computer, telling the render farm to do it from a fractionally different angle is a piece of piss.

    As for the sales grosses, of course they are higher, if you charge 25% more for a ticket to a 3D film, you are quite likely to make more money. This is why the ticket sales give a slightly truer picture of the situation.

  59. Blake St. Claire
    Thumb Down

    In my best Keith Allen/Sheriff of Nottingham voice---

    > suicidal plans to convert the likes of Star Wars

    George Lucas -- a clue: I'm not buying any more Star Wars movies.

    Although I do wonder what the 3D "chess" game on board the MF in Episode 4 would like like in 3D.

    3D in 3D. Ooh, it makes my head hurt. Would that be 9D?

  60. Keris

    Animation in 3D?

    I see no point in using stereovision (which is not 3D[1]) for animation. As the success of things like The Simpsons shows, realism is not important in animation (nor in comics, look at manga and anime). Indeed, it can detract from the enjoyment because it looks 'almost' right but is still obviously animation in some ways. SV makes that worse.

    For real film (and 'real' effect CGI) it can be useful, as Avatar showed. But still not essential, and it conveys nowhere near as much extra information as did the introduction of colour. And the information it does carry can conflict with other information (for instance the parallax conflicting with the focus). In particular it isn't worth the extra cost or the discomfort or (especially in the films converted to SV) loss of picture quality. And a lot of the people watching are realising that...

    [1] True 3D would allow the viewer's position to see 'round' things by moving. For instance, looking out of the window at the opposite side of the office (some 50 feet away) if I move my head just slightly I can see more or less of the tree outside. Stereovision only works if you keep your head still, because it is filmed from a fixed point of view (or at least one unrelated to the viewer's position), so if you move much while watching it can be disorienting (and may be the cause of some of the nausea described by some people).

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Colour/Brightness impact is huge

    Saw Toy Story 3 at the weekend and though the 3D adds a little to the experience (initially, at least) the loss of colour and brightness is not worth the trade off at all. If you go to see the film, pop off the specs after half an hour or so and you'll see how vivid the film should look, with the specs on it is washed out and dull. I flicked from on/off a few times and would, without hesitation, choose the 2D print next time.

  62. This post has been deleted by its author


    3d movies

    sorry but this 3d stuff is just a waste of time not everyone will be able to watch this a because the glasses are friggin exspensive 2 it gives you a bad head within a few mins and 3 its a waste of money. theres nothing wrong with 2d and blu ray i seem a few blu ray movies on demos in stores and they look amazing without hurting the eyes. samsung i think in austrailia issued a warning to there customers about 3d so ya see 3d is just waste of time gimmick 3d tried in the 80s and it failed and guess what its gonna fail again today. 3d sucks anyway il not be watching 3d ever nothing wrong with bluray and 2d end of.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward



  64. Anonymous Coward

    Pardon me for being on the scientific side but

    why do they stubbornly call all this stuff 3D ? If my memory is still good and if my math/physics teachers in school were correct then no matter where I'll put my finger on that screen that position can be completely described by a set of only two coordinates.

    1. Pablo

      Okay but don't do it again

      The image is 3D, not the screen. The (apparent) position of the image does indeed require three coordinates. X relative to left eye, X relative to right eye, and Y. From this your brain can easily extrapolate the more traditional X, Y and Z. Just like it does with actual 3D objects.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Apparent, extrapolate etc.

        so you agree that physics and maths concepts are still valid. According to those sciences, by projecting 3D universe into a 2D universe leads to unrecoverable loss of info (clue for you: by looking at the picture of an object can you possibly tell if there is a scratch on the back side of the imaged object ?). This is why brain can't decide if it's a convex or concave surface just by looking at a projection on a flat screen. Of course you can trick your brain into thinking anything you might desire but that's not going to alter physical reality.

        They should be honest and call all this stuff something like fake 3D or pseudo 3D or brain induced 3D.

  65. jjbd

    waste of a perfectly good dimension

    that's the real point, isn't it? There was a great scene in Avatar where some of our heroes were in a small prison cell. They were in a deep plane, while some guards were much further forwards, and so couldn't hear the prisoners' whispered conversation. I didn't see how it worked in 2D, but it struck me as great and innovative use of 3D for the story-telling - and that kind of thing will happen more as everyone involved becomes more comfy with the technology (including the audience).

  66. HollyX

    To go against the grain

    Up was fab in 3D, I've also seen and enjoyed Avatar (a lot).

    It didn't give me any nausea or headaches and added a lot to the moviegoing experience. However, just like any other use of technology, it needs to be tempered to what people want - both in terms of the experience and the cost - and Hollywood doesn't have a stellar track record in that respect.

  67. Tzael

    My Bloody Valentine

    I bought My Bloody Valentine on DVD last year and it came with 2 sets of 3D specs. Even better, it had both the 3D and regular versions of the film included. I really enjoyed the 3D version played back on my regular flatscreen TV and DVD player, no fancy TV nor anything more than simple cardboard/celophane 3D specs.

    After I saw Avatar at the cinema I went off 3D. It felt poorly done, the effects weren't all that impressive, and I could easily recognise where various scenes were void of certain colour ranges (both inside the military bases and vehicles, and on the planet). The glasses themselves blocked my peripheral vision almost entirely, instead of taking in the entire cinema screen at once I found I had to look at specific areas of the screen to absorb the scene. Worst of all were the headaches, my eyes were really strained by the experience as my brain tried to compensate for the lack of expected colours and had to frequently refocus on various parts of the screen.

    Now my local cinema is only showing the 3D versions of new releases unless there is no 3D version. I've had to forego several films this year because of the 3D craze, in each case I've been told by the local cinema that if a 3D version is available they're not paying the extra to license the 2D version as well.

    Moviegoers get shafted by a sub-par movie experience. Cinemas get shafted because they have to buy the equipment from the movie makes and if they want to show both 2D and 3D versions of a film they effectively have to pay the license twice. I get the feeling that the movie industry is kicking itself in the nuts but hasn't realised it yet.

  68. JDX Gold badge


    3D is a fad, just like HD and colour, mark my words we'll be back to black & white with subtitles once the novelty wears off. Even sound is a bit gimmicky, it gives you headaches when loud - better to revert to subtitles.

    In seriousness, made-in-3D is not silly. But just like fancy THX and IMax, it's pointless for romantic comedies and period dramas... more suited for 'frivolous' films like action and explosions which tend to get critically dissed anyway.

    Crap as the film was Avatar was pretty amazing; I wouldn't want to watch it in 2D. I'm sure people will find how to use 3D properly... just wait until we get the 3D equivalent of "The Matrix" introducing new things not used in filming before.

  69. Raz

    3D movie

    The only movie that was worthy in Real D (I have seen Avatar, Shrek 4, Clash of the Titans, Alice, Final Destination 3) was Beowulf. I will never forget the charging rider whos spear stopped two inches in front of my nose.

  70. Mage

    Ripping off

    1) Camcorder through one lens of 3D glasses

    2) There are "3D" Camcorders. put 3D glasses on it.

    Probably they will bring a small person with camcorder fitted inside fake head?

  71. SlabMan

    I'm waiting for the 3D conversion of...

    Ingmar Bergman's 'The Seventh Seal'.

    Should be a hoot.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I think 3D will come into being the same way colour did... a lot of crap shot in the previous format with no thought to how it looks in the new. You don't shoot colour the same as B&W and the same is true for 3D. Avatar wasn't a great movie, but it was visually impressive in 3D. Same for Monsters vs. Aliens. My problem with some of the others has been a messed up field of depth. I got one hell of a headache because my g.f. wanted me to see Dave Mathews Band in 3D. Great music, but only part of the scenes were in 3D. It looked really bad and I kept trying to focus in something that had no depth.

    As far as Star Wars... please stop giving Lucas an excuse to bastardize another revision of these films. It was bad enough that Greedo shot first. Now we've got the super-duper special effects version, the added mindless background cgi robots/creatures and re-cut storyline. I just want a BD version of the first three films (well... 2 if you get down to it) without all the extra crap in it. I'm really willing to watch the original special effects and Han shooting first. Really Lucas... you can make money off of people like me.

    Anon... well, I'm at work and this is more productive than my co-workers are being.

    1. Goat Jam


      "Dave Mathews Band in 3D"

      That would be what used to be called "going to a concert" then, right?

      3D is definitely the best way to see a band. I remember seeing KISS in 3D a few years back. Metallica and Pink Floyd too. It was so realistic that it felt like I was "really there!"

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Distorted figures anyway...

    My local Vue (Finchley Road O2) only appears to be showing 2D version of Toy Story during the day, if me and the mrs want to see it we are forced to go after work and watch a 3D version, whether we like it or not. So the % of people who see 3D isn't necessarily the % who would choose to given a level playing field...

    It added to Avatar because it was designed to, I'm less enthusiastic about other films although I am curious how Pixar will do with Toy Story. I will certainly not be doing it at home though, sitting in the living room with stupid glasses on a standard TV with my furniture in the periphery - it'd be a bag-o-turd.

  74. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    It's early days

    I'm old enough to remember the first days of stereo. That was a good indication - the first few years it all had to be very, very obvious. That "Play that funky music" - the music starts hard in one corner, and then the rest comes in from the other side - these days we go for accurate definition of the player's position.

    Avatar was well used 3D because it was in Cameron's thinking from day one. It takes quite some time to get your head around that new dimension, with Alice in Wonderland showing what you have to avoid (depth of vision, for example, is something that has to be re-thought to draw focus to a particular part of the scene). We'll have a few more clangers before 3D becomes an integral part of a movie experience, but it will come. It has drawn me back into the cinema whereas before I no longer could be bothered..

    However, AFAIK, on the back of 3D was another revolution: full digital delivery of content. Every theater that had a "3D conversion" had a bit more than just a new screen and sound system: the way the movie gets on the screen is different too, as it's played straight from hard disk to screen (this also provided the startup problems as the transmissions are DRM protected and they screwed up in a few cinemas). It's basically a larger and better version of the thing you use to show Powerpoint slides.. To me, that was a much bigger revolution than 3D - this time there was enough of an argument to do it (it's been tried before).

    As I said before, give it time. In a couple of years or so you will expect it as standard..

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm waiting for the 3D conversion of...

    The Laurel and Hardy classics.

  76. Keith Doyle

    I love 3D stereo, but...

    I have a collection of 3D stereo. Viewmaster reels, realist format slides, and a couple of stereo cameras. I know how to make stereo still images from any digital camera. I've messed around with stereo projectors, and written software to render computer generated 3D in stereo for viewing systems and projectors.

    But in commercial movies, it's just one more thing to go wrong. Which means, it adds additional risk. And risk is something to which the film business is averse. Unfortunately, that's not likely to ever change, at least in a system that's based on capitalism. Color may have seemed that way as well at first, but it's benefit was significant, required less special preparation (when in fact, B&W needed special color consideration itself, as a red dress in reality could end up looking black on screen, or the same 'shade' as a green one when it's supposed to be different). Sound too, brought immediate benefit and actually may have made it easier in some ways to make films. Stereo is always extra work, and extra risk, and the benefit is uncertain. If the business ever gets around to preferring uncertainty, perhaps then 3D mainstream movies will be allowed to get to the point where they consistently do well...

  77. J 3

    Meh too

    Yeah, Avatar looked great in 3D, even if the story was a bad space-age rewrite of Pocahontas.

    Clash of the Titans looked terriblein 3D, and ever since I haven't bothered with 3D movies anymore. When they are just $1 more than the 2D (or even same price, if you bring your own glasses from a previous show) and the 3D version was not a rushed conversion from the 2D, as CotT was, then I might go back to seeing the 3D version.

  78. Richard Porter

    3D films aren't 3D

    They're binocular at best - you only see things from the camerman's viewpoint. If you move your head you don't get a different view. Wait for holographic movies!

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



    1. Anonymous Coward

      puts hand up at George

      here here!!

      no more apart from a good blu-ray release in 2D and nothing else..

      p.s. wheres this TV show??

  80. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    The crazy thing is...

    That every technique of stereoscopic film was known about - and frequently discarded - well before 1900.

    There's nothing new except one thing: once you start making animations using CGI models, it's a piece of cake to add a second viewpoint.

    Shame though that you need to rethink the whole grammar of film making to make 3-d work... meanwhile, I predict that the current fad will last just as long as the ones in 1870, 1890, 1930, 1950, 1970, and 1990. What goes around comes around.

  81. Tristan Young

    Kudo's, Roger!

    While I don't usually agree on everything Roger Ebert says, I totally agree with his comments on Hollywood rushing towards the 3D craze, and it not adding much to the experience.

    The 3D Avatar was shot with - that's crap. I don't want alternating images broadcast to alternate eyes. I want two images broadcast to two eyes simultaneously.

    The glasses in the theatre are garbage. They are made of cheap plastic, and the polarizing windows are distorted and make the images fuzzy.

    Screw-ups like 2D to 3D conversions doesn't help bolster the craze - it helps destroy it.

    I'm not surprised that 3D is taking a bit of a downturn in the theatre.

    Let's face it - cinemas are expensive. They don't represent the best value for our dollar. You can't pause the damn thing to take a leak. You can't pause it to grab a snack. You can't pause it to do the wild thing. The bathrooms reek of yesterdays vomit (no, wait - that was the seat beside mine in the cinema). The other patrons are loud and obnoxious (and are going to get an ass-kickin' if they keep blowing the good parts). Then there's the air conditioning from hell in the summer (wear a jacket - trust me, it help), and the furnace in the winter (wear a g-string - trust me - the seats can't get any more smelly if you tried).

    All in all, cinema, and especially 3D cinema is doomed to fail.

    Now home cinema is a different story. Why would anyone pay $24-$30 (CDN) to watch a movie, add overpriced coke (or Pepsi for those cinemas that are under the delusion that Pepsi is prefered by more people over coke) and overpriced popcorn, when you can buy a movie on DVD or Blu-Ray and watch it at home for the same price? And watch it again and again when you feel like it.

    After seeing some of the gorgeous LED LCD TV's in the stores (thank you Samsung!), why would I want to watch a stinkin' movie outside of my own home?

  82. Poor Coco
    Thumb Up

    The extra ticket price is not all...

    I recently saw Toy Story 3D with my son. I was actually impressed with the 3D precisely because it was inconspicuous aside from a few aforementioned "zap!" shots. But it was far more watchable than a 3D film attraction I saw at Disney World, where it was that over-the-top all the time.

    So I disagree that 3D is a "novelty" approach. TS3D did it extremely well.

    And the ticket price bump was nothing compared to the fact I lost my $350 prescription glasses in the theatre. That wouldn't happen at home!

  83. Kelvari


    I know from reading the comments that not everyone will agree with me on this, but Avatar was a good example of how 3D should be done. Journey to the Center of the Earth, though, was an example of how 3D should NOT be done. The main trick to keeping your viewers from getting sick, as so many reports have stated happens, is to maintain roughly the same field depth between shots. Don't go from a deep shot to a shallow shot to a wide-angle shot - you'll get people putting their popcorn back in the buckets like that. Instead, make easy transitions from deep field to shallow, or if that's not possible, there's always the old-fashioned 'fade-to-black' routine that has been in cinematography for ages.

  84. miknik

    dumb commentards

    So many people moaning about paying more to watch in 3D... Tell me this: As a business owner if you had to invest a large amount of money into new equipment to offer a new service to your customers would you just absorb that cost or would you want to recoup it from the people benefitting from the service?

  85. jamesrhamilton
    Thumb Up

    I wouldn't have...

    ... seen Toy Story 3 in anything other than 3D. I thought it looked great as it was in native 3D.

    It depends what your opinion is. And that's all it is. Whether or not enough people will have the same opinion as me as to make enough money for Hollywood, who knows.

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In defense of 3d

    3d is an extra 5 bucks (50% of full fare on a non-3d showing) here, but the best part is you get to pick where you sit, in assigned row numbers. I like it. I have no interest is seeing everything in 3d, but certain movies I'm really looking forward to I'd want to see in 3d if it's available. The thing is, it has to be well done. I thought Toy Story 3 looked great, but one of the trailers shown in 3d looked awful (and so did the movie...).

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If 3D isn't utilised in a way enhances or adds to the narrative, it'll be just like any other film making technique used inappropriately; visual fluff rather than golden goose. The big studios track record on decent ideas and scripts is pretty poor in the last couple of decades, and their apparent belief that 3d will magically turn a rather tired sows ear into a silk purse will probably be the thing that devalues it overall.

  88. Big-nosed Pengie

    Just goes to show that...

    ... as was so amply demonstrated by the Star Wars crap, that special effects are no substitute for a story, a script and good acting.

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is all marketing hype (well most of it)

    To me the cinema owners think they are onto something and have a new cash cow to fleece. VIP seats are one new revenue stream ( I do like them - mainly as the seat is reserved, there is no rush to get in as the "film" starts - read 20+ minutes of ads) and now 3D. My local Vue puts the price up each time I go... now £10 then a 70p online booking fee for that pleasure, if it is 3D another £3 for the glasses which you can't re-use? eh - We are being encourage (forced) to recycle everything but big business don't have to - amazing... as long as someone is making money!

    Cinemas will end up driving people away with excessive prices.

    As to 3D TV, another marketing gimic, first we had HD ready, everyone wanted one. Then as soon as sales dwindled Full HD arrived and people who had HD ready wanted that - for what reason as the only thing which utilises 1080p is Bluray - and even some of those films look no better than DVD. BBC-HD does look stunning, but I have yet to see a demo where 1080p looks any better than 720p - until you get to 60"+ screens with higher numbers of pixels to light. Now Full HD has become "standard" 3D is the sales buzz word. I love my tech don't get me wrong, but I will be sticking with my now near 5yr old Pioneer plasma - no Full HD or 3D but there isn't much which will touch it for picture quality which is more important to me than gimics or technology which isn't ever going to be fully used.

    There are far too many people in this country who are easily swayed by marketing hype, wake up people!

    <rant mode off>

  90. MartinBZM

    3D - 3 schmee


    When you've just spent about 3K on eye-laser-surgery to get rid of the glasses (spectacles) only to have to put it on again to watch a movie.

    Must be specially frustrating for them that want a clear view and spent half the time polishing the glasses to remove the stains of fingerprints, soda and what-not.

    Nah, I'll just look at the 2D and wait for the *REAL 3D"(tm) to work without kludges like glasses.


  91. jonners


    It was inevitable. 3d just doesn't add anything useful. It adds depth that doesn't need to exist and costs more to make and view. I noticed that I also picked up fewer details because of the "ooh pretty" effect.

    Given the choice between 2d and spending £2 extra for 3d I would pick 2d every time now.

  92. Bill B

    Costs to the punter of 3D

    There have been a few comments about costs. Just to be specific, Cineworld Birmingham Broad Street charges the following for an adult going in the evening

    Adult charge (same for 2D film) - £6.50

    3D Surcharge (apparently to cover Real3D's license costs) - £2.10

    Optional glasses (if you got some, don't have to buy new ones) - 80p

    So it could cost £9.40 to see a 3D film, £8.60 if you have the glasses, compared with £6.50 to see a 2D film

  93. Arweet


    3D cinema has been around for 50 years. Every decade or so there is a 3D hype, and of course the so called novelty wears off quickly.

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    3 Double D?

    No no, they're doing it all wrong. What they want is more boobs in 3D. That will sell like hot sluts. I mean cakes. Mmmmm cakes!

  95. Richard Gadsden 1

    Aren't films 3D already?

    Surely films are already in three dimensions. After all, that's the difference between a film and a still photo.

    Stereoscopic films aren't really 4D at all - there's no parallax, which is why they feel artificial. At least a 2D (still) image is meant to be artificial. I wonder if we will get used to stereoscopic images, though; we managed to get used to perspective on stills.

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