Thus far, 3D has accounted for just 25 percent of the total gross for Turbo, a movie about a snail who becomes a racecar. 25 percent is a new low, and in fact, when the New York Times published an article entitled “3-D Starts to Fizzle, and Hollywood Frets” two years ago, Hollywood was fretting because the 3D movies that had once been getting 60 percent of their grosses from 3D screenings had sunk to 47 and 45 percent. So they must doing at least 20 percent more fretting now, give or take.
Later that year, Slate published a piece basically pointing out that theaters were starting to lose money on 3D, since 2D screenings were outgrossing 3D screenings of the same movie, even with the higher 3D prices. And that was when movies were making 40 percent of their grosses from 3D.
3D showings of “Turbo” accounted for just 25 percent of its total box office, which represents the format’s worst showing yet. “The Wolverine” fared only slightly better, with 3D screenings contributing 30 percent of its $53.1 million opening weekend. That represents a new low point for 3D action releases.
“We have become increasingly concerned that these lower levels will actually represent the norm going forward versus a recent exception as consumers are likely to remain increasingly choosy with 3D premiums,” B. Riley & Co analyst Eric Wold wrote in a note to investors.
Both breakdowns were substantially worse than this summer’s previous worst showings for 3D, when only 31 percent of “Monsters University”‘s $82 million debut came from 3D screenings, while roughly 34 percent of “World War Z”s’ $66 million bow came from the format. [TheWrap]
In other countries, like Russia and China, the article notes, the percentage of gross from 3D frequently still hits 80 and 90 percent. Meanwhile, Pacific Rim earned 52 percent of its opening gross from 3D screenings, “the largest ratio in a long time,” according to an exec. Which is a bit of a bummer, because in case you didn’t notice, I’m cheering pretty hard for 3D’s demise. I’ve never gotten that much out of 3D, beyond a headache, watery eyes, and a dim screen. A two-dimensional image has always been a perfectly acceptable way to simulate depth to me, 3D is just the movie equivalent of a pop-up book.
And what, just because I want to see a movie about a buff superhero or robots punching monsters I have to put on glasses like some nerd? What’s next, pocket protectors? No thanks, Cheech. I like my eyes bare, like my upper arms and the sides of my head. (*tears off sleeves, fluffs mullet*)