In what may be a chilling portent for the 3D TV industry, a leading analyst is predicting that US box office returns have indicated that the novelty of 3D has worn off and it is just a matter of time before the same happens elsewhere.
As part of one of his regular investigations of the US entertainment market, Richard Greenfield said that for the key Memorial Day weekend, dramatically increased box office was beefed up not by 3D movies but by the release of the 2D-only Hangover 2. Indeed the surprise hit, said Greenfield, actually obscured disappointing 3D box office from Kung Fu Panda 2, Pirates of the Caribbean 4 and Thor.
Early sales data available to BTIG predicted that for DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 2, for which the legendary studio had pinned hopes, only 45% of box office was sourced from the premium-prices 3D version and only just over a third of patrons attended the 3D showing. Greenfield noted that 45% was the lowest 3D box office share since Despicable Me last summer, which had significantly fewer 3D screens than Kung Fu Panda 2.
Continuing a rather excoriating analysis Greenfield said: “Exhibitors are simply not listening to their customers. 3D is priced too high and even more importantly, consumers are simply tiring of seeing movies in 3D. Exhibitors need to begin reducing the 3D screen count for movies that do not really need 3D…While studios may continue to say that they are still making more money from 3D than if they made 2D only movies, they are missing the point of how they are upsetting the delicate price/value equation of movie-going.”
Chillingly for 3D proponents, the analyst added that in addition to a tailing off of 3D demand in the US, the same would take place internationally as the “novelty” began to wear off.