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Is it just me, or are 3D movies annoying

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July 27, 2010 – Comments (15) | RELATED TICKERS: RLD

 

Like most of the people in the U.S., when the current fad of introducing movies in 3D started I got swept up in it, went to see several 3D movies, and thought that they were cool.  Perhaps it was nostalgia that sucked me in, thinking back to my youth when we picked up paper 3D glasses at 7-11 and watched a couple of cheesy 3D horror flicks on broadcast television.

Last year I saw a couple of movies in the theater with my older son in three dimensions, including Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Up!.  As time wore on though, I tired of watching movies in 3D.  The last 3D movie that I saw was the new Clash of the Titans.  Not only was the movie not great, but the 3D aspect really didn't add anything to it...other than several dollars to the price of each ticket.  I missed the huge blockbuster movie Avatar in the theaters, so I decided to watch it on Pay Per View in HD instead.  I have to tell you, I didn't miss the 3D one bit.  

To be honest with you, watching movies in 3D with the glasses actually makes me feel sort of sick after a while.  It certainly is less relaxing than vegging out to a normal movie.  Consumers Reports recently reported on this very subject in an article titled Having trouble seeing 3D?.  

I have taken both of my sons to see a couple of new movies recently, including Toy Story 3 and Despicable Me.  Despite the fact that both were offered in 3D, we went to their old-school 2D showings. I wasn't just that I had my doubts about whether my two year-old would be willing to keep the 3D glasses on the entire time, I just don't enjoy 3D movies...certainly not enough to justify paying several dollars more a piece for four tickets to see one.

I came across several articles on the subject today.

Hollywood fears the 3D bubble has already burst

Like RealD's Stock Price, 3-D Movies Face a Bumpy Ride

Why 3-D is already dying

Here's what a recent article in the UK's Daily Telegraph has to say on the subject:

The proportion of cinema-goers who opt to see new films in their 3D versions has fallen steadily over recent months, with more opting instead to watch them in the traditional - and cheaper - format.

When Avatar came out in December, 71 per cent of Americans who went to see it on opening weekend - often the peak moment for a new release - opted for a cinema showing the 3D version. In March, when the animated fantasy How to Train Your Dragon was released, 68 per cent of the audience chose to see the film that way.

But by May that figure for Shrek Forever After was down to 61 per cent. At the beginning of this month only 56 per cent saw The Last Airbender in 3D, and a week later the proportion fell even lower, to 45 per cent, for the newly-released animation Despicable Me.

The figures have provoked an anxious debate within the film industry, which had previously hatched plans to convert popular films on its backlist - everything from the Star Wars trilogy, to Harry Potter, to the college pranks of Jackass - into the cinematic style du jour. Studios are already working on at least 24 brand new films in the expensive format for release next year. Now some fear that the "3D bubble" has already burst. 

Capitalizing on the recent euphoria surrounding 3D, a company called RealD (RLD) went public last week.  The company is the market leader in installing its 3D screens in movie theaters.  Despite its sector-leading market share, over rivals such as Dolby, IMAX, MasterImage, and Xpand, RealD has yet to turn a profit.  I suppose the logic is, become the market leader by installing as many screens as possible, as quickly as possible and worry about turning a profit later.  Its revenues have been growing at a tremendous pace, but I suspect that its revenue growth lose steam more quickly than many people think.  Plus RLD is already trading at something like 3.5 to 4 times sales, which is pretty rich.  The company will report earnings on August 2nd, so we'll get a closer look at how things are going for the industry then.

Perhaps I'm jumping off of the 3D bandwagon too early and it will end up being a disruptive technology like cell phones, or color television once were.  Time will tell, but my disenchantment with 3D caused me to short the shares of the recent IPO RLD today at $18.70/share.

I have a feeling that it's not just me who feels this way about 3D.  Does anyone else out there agree with me?  I'd love to hear others' thoughts on 3D movies in general or specifically about RealD.

Deej 

15 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On July 27, 2010 at 4:00 PM, Jbay76 (< 20) wrote:

A theory that has been passed around is that the reason for movies going 3D is to make it harder for people to pirate the movies from the theater and such.   So, if that's true, than market share from 3D movies will have to drop dramatically in order for the industry to think of a different way to get around pirating movies and such.  They are already losing money hand over fist as a result of pirating.

 

FWIW 

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#2) On July 27, 2010 at 4:00 PM, USNHR (31.60) wrote:

Deej,

 Definately agree with you on the 3D, the glasses make my eyes feel funny for hours after. Incidentaly I can't wear polarized sunglasses either.

 3D may have some legs in the home though. It seems like the latest HD TV craze is 3D televisions.

 Until they come out with a 3D format that can be watched conventionally or in 3D at the same time, I don't believe 3D will have any staying power. If I could take my glasses off half way through a film and be able to see in 2D I would likely spend  more money to see the 3D version of a film.

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#3) On July 27, 2010 at 4:52 PM, chk999 (99.97) wrote:

I think this is a real problem. The 3D process is hard on the eyes and people get tired of it pretty quickly. Like smell-a-vision, it is sort of a novelty act and will fade away again.

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#4) On July 27, 2010 at 4:59 PM, BroadwayDan (98.27) wrote:

Definite rec from me.  Agree totally.  I got my thumb nice and red on SONY, whose entire strategy is focused on 3--D. Maybe watching sports and big movies will become more acceptable, but overall, it is annoying as heck. 

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#5) On July 27, 2010 at 5:03 PM, Seansonfire (37.18) wrote:

The utility that you get from 3D TV is very short lived compared to the cost.  The electronics companies have been trying to say that the move from HDTV to 3D TV is a bigger leap in picture quality then from basic TV to HDTV.  I disagree totally with that assessment, which is based on the fact that you get 3 dimensions over two (so in essence you view a the same pixals as before, just that you have several layers on top of each other) and less on actual pixal count added.

Although I do like the IMAX model as it is a once in a while type of experience that I think people enjoy.

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#6) On July 27, 2010 at 5:15 PM, Valyooo (99.43) wrote:

Even though I agree completely, I find it hard to short technology innovations that work.

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#7) On July 27, 2010 at 6:09 PM, rofgile (99.42) wrote:

3d gaming systems are also bad for kids

 SEGA was working on this for a long time, then quit suddenly - it seems they had done some internal research that suggested long term effects when kids whose eyes were still developing used these systems.

 3d video is a fad more than a destination.. again.

 -Rof 

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#8) On July 27, 2010 at 7:03 PM, TDRH (99.52) wrote:

Had not thought of jbay76's mention of the piracy theory....makes sense.     Personally I enjoy it for animation, but not sure it is worth the extra cost.  At what point does the picture quality reach diminishing returns, the human ability to perceive the improved quality. 

It may just be a last ditch effort by the theater film industry to avoid the plight of the drive in movie.  I consider the movie/entertainment industry in the same risk category as offhshore drilling and avoid it like the plague.

Great post and debate again.  

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#9) On July 27, 2010 at 7:40 PM, tcecil1 (< 20) wrote:

Yes, It must be just you.

 I haven't seen a 3D movie in, probably 10-15 years. It was when we had to wear the cardboard - red & blue glasses. The color quality sucked! the vision was blurred. and the glasses didn't stay over my ears properly.

You missed out! I went to see AVATAR in 3D and it blew me away!! I never thought they would perfect 3D in such a way!

The reason AVATAR was such a great hit was because it was a movie that wasn't a cartoon! (it has nothing to do with your bursting bubble theory)

If I saw AVATAR for the first time in 2D I probably wouldn't think it was such a Blockbuster hit.

The 3D made for such a realistic background scene that made me look at every aspect of the movie, not just the plot! I felt like I was in the movie frame.

Cartoons don't offer the scenery that make an adult interested as much.

Clash of The Titans was NOT filmed in 3D, so you cannot even compare that movie in your (bubble bursting theory)

And for ALL of you that think it is an attempt at stopping piracy, where do you get that???

I can download any 3D video, film, movies, or pictures from my computer now - and watch them on my 3D TV. How does that stop a piracy issue??

Just buy a 3D TV and experience for yourself - before coming out with these Bubble Bursting Theories and STUFF!!

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#10) On July 27, 2010 at 7:40 PM, tcecil1 (< 20) wrote:

Yes, It must be just you.

 I haven't seen a 3D movie in, probably 10-15 years. It was when we had to wear the cardboard - red & blue glasses. The color quality sucked! the vision was blurred. and the glasses didn't stay over my ears properly.

You missed out! I went to see AVATAR in 3D and it blew me away!! I never thought they would perfect 3D in such a way!

The reason AVATAR was such a great hit was because it was a movie that wasn't a cartoon! (it has nothing to do with your bursting bubble theory)

If I saw AVATAR for the first time in 2D I probably wouldn't think it was such a Blockbuster hit.

The 3D made for such a realistic background scene that made me look at every aspect of the movie, not just the plot! I felt like I was in the movie frame.

Cartoons don't offer the scenery that make an adult interested as much.

Clash of The Titans was NOT filmed in 3D, so you cannot even compare that movie in your (bubble bursting theory)

And for ALL of you that think it is an attempt at stopping piracy, where do you get that???

I can download any 3D video, film, movies, or pictures from my computer now - and watch them on my 3D TV. How does that stop a piracy issue??

Just buy a 3D TV and experience for yourself - before coming out with these Bubble Bursting Theories and STUFF!!

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#11) On July 27, 2010 at 10:21 PM, XXX222 (< 20) wrote:

I agree, my eyes hurt after watching 3D. I find 3D irritating and distracting.

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#12) On July 27, 2010 at 10:38 PM, awallejr (79.68) wrote:

Jaws 3D anyone?  3D in the end is just a gimmick to encourage theater going.  Has been done in the past. But as long as glasses are required, in the end it won't replace the norm.  I remeber when they came out with a 3D camera.  I bought the camera and stock in the company.  It went bust, though some of the pictures I took really did look kind of neat.  Most turned out fuzzy.

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#13) On July 27, 2010 at 11:09 PM, Tastylunch (29.38) wrote:

It's a gimmick, it's neat in places

but overall in most cases it doens't add much to the general movie experience (can you imagine romantic comedies or a movie like the English patient in 3d? ugh), and most movies just tack it on as a an afterthought without really thinking it's implentation out. Reminds me of the shovelware that comes out for the Nintendo Wii

Avatar is more the exception than the rule.

I'm sure it will be popular in cycles again in the future, but I really sincerely doubt that it is really the next "big thing".

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#14) On July 28, 2010 at 12:40 PM, Melaschasm (57.74) wrote:

My biggest problem with the 3D movie craze is that many 3D movies only have one brief scene where they have real 3D visuals.  I recently saw a 2D movie on an IMAX screen that had as much 3D depth as the Airbender movie, without a need to wear the annoying glasses. 

The one exception to this is in 3D sports.  Everyone I know who has seen a sporting event in 3D says that it is an amazing difference.  Figure out how to profit from 3D football games, and you might have a winning investment. 

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#15) On July 28, 2010 at 12:57 PM, EnigmaDude (82.91) wrote:

In my opinion, IMAX is more than just a fad.  It is just now catching on in China, Russia and other parts of the world.  At least in the cinematic sense, IMAX is synonymous with the 3-D movie experience and I believe that as a long-term investment it holds great potential.

On the other hand, I agree that the actual experience can be annoying to some people.  However, that does not prevent many people from spending the extra $$ to watch movies on an IMAX screen.  Look at the results of Aftershock as an illustration of my point:

The film was released on 12 IMAX screens in China and generated more than $640,000 at the box office, for a per screen average of approximately $55,000 for the opening weekend. "Aftershock" is the first mainstream Chinese film and the first mainstream commercial film produced and distributed by a studio outside of the U.S. to be digitally re-mastered into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience(R).

So apparently it's not just you, but I think that to say 3-D is bad or to lump all 3-D offerings in the same basket is wrong.

I am not familiar with RLD so you might be onto something there. Further investigation on my part is needed.  So thanks for bringing it to my attention, and for getting the debate going.

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