Hollywood Fears 3-D Movies Losing Steam at the Box Office
The New York Times reports that Hollywood studios and analysts are taking note of poor performance of several recent high-profile film releases in 3-D, triggering fears that the audience is beginning to reject the technology (and its box-office boosting ticket surcharges) on the eve of a summer filled with 3-D releases. Disney’s Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides and DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 2 opened to weaker box office results than their predecessors, but also sold far fewer tickets to 3-D screenings. While 3-D ticket sales typically account for 60% of a movie’s box office take, 3-D tickets represented only 47% of the Pirates sequel’s ticket sales and an estimated 45% of Kung Fu Panda 2’s box office.
The article also notes consumer rebellion over high 3-D ticket prices in a weak economy, the novelty wearing off on domestic audiences, high demand for 3-D overseas (where it is still a newer phenomenon), and the opinion that 3-D can help a top performer like James Cameron’s Avatar or Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, but can undercut a middling movie attempting to milk the format for a box office boost. The article also notes that the animated features released so far this year have not been performing as well as hoped.