By Tassos Markas, President and CEO, 3DMedia
The 3D film Hugo has been another epic milestone for 3D in terms of the theatrical experience. However, this has not translated to high box office ticket sales to this point. Some skeptics of 3D consider this as further proof that 3D is nothing but a gimmick that will fade over time. Although the skeptics of 3D are still outnumbered by people that believe the opposite and will pay a premium to see 3D movies, I think it is important to address some of their comments.
3D is how humans see and experience visual content and is therefore hardly a gimmick. Was sound a gimmick when added to silent films? Was color a gimmick when added to black and white films? Was high-definition another gimmick? 3D is nothing but another natural transition that elevates user experience and will be here to stay.
Regarding Hugo, it is an exceptional 3D movie if not the best released so far. I attribute the low initial sales to the following causes: it was not well advertised, it was not a story that was well known by the public, and it falls in a strange demographic segment where it is a little too serious for kids and not quite serious enough for adults. Nevertheless, it is a very good story and an excellent 3D production. There have been many excellent films that have not made the top rankings at the box office.
I cannot think of anything that can stop the transition to 3D. Within several years, all content will be 3D, and all display devices from very large to small screens for phones will be 3D. Consider that several years back everyone was wondering why there is a need to have LCD displays instead of dot-matrix displays on cellphones. Today nobody makes cellphones with dot-matrix technology, and the resolutions even for the smallest screens continue to increase at a rapid pace. Not long ago everyone was wondering what was the purpose for HD video in cellphones. Now pretty much every smartphone has the ability to capture HD video. The question is not whether 3D will completely take over 2D but whether it will happen within a 5 or a 10 year time frame.
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