back to article 3D fad fades for Yanks

Americans may be turning their backs on 3D movies. The new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, On Stranger Tides, has done well at the box office, in the US and elsewhere, but the 3D version has taken less money than other recent releases have. According to analyst Richard Greenfield, of New York investment house BTIG Research, …


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  1. Jamie Kitson


    > it's the kind of flick you'd expect to do well in 3D

    Is it? As opposed to the two other films you mention which are CGI and so work well in 3D.

    1. Gaz Jay


      Did you bother to read the following sentence? It clearly explained why POTC should have fared better than the CGI films for 3D showings:

      "thanks to fanboy interest - whereas family movies in 3D have less appeal, largely because nippers don't like wearing 3D specs".

      1. Vitani

        Re: Gaz

        Or it could be the simple fact that for something like Shrek/Dragon there are two ticket sales for every one person who wants to see the film as children can't go on their own. Plus children of about 7+ will insist on seeing the 3D version of any film, where as adults over 25 will hopefully see-through the gimmick and be happy to see the film in 2D, especially when it's cheaper.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Not cheaper - just less expensive.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: RTFA

        First the article is just repeating someone's opinion, where as the original poster was pointing out that CGI films are ALL 3D, not just a few minutes in and 1.5 hour show.

        That simple because cameras that are filming real actors have to abide by the law of physics and therefore have to focus on specific points with lots of bits out of focus thereby negating any 3D effects, unlike scenes that are 100% CGI do not have to do this.

        The major point avoid in this article is all the film reviews that state that this Pirates is a rather lame film, with just 3 or 4 scenes that make use of the 3D. So perhaps the punters are just deciding not to pay the extra for naff all extra content which will not effect how much you enjoy the experience one bit.

  2. Matthew 17

    where's my surprised face?

    It doesn't add anything to the enjoyment of a film unless you enjoy migraines.

    Maybe if Hollywood spent its efforts on good original content rather than endless sequels, prequels and reboots there wouldn't be the need to invest in failed rebooted technology such as 3D.

  3. Alex Walsh

    downward spiral

    1st Pirates film: ace

    2nd Pirates film: iffy

    3rd Pirate film: horrendous

    Don't think you can read anything in to this films performance at the box office.

    1. JakeyC

      As a Pirates fanboi...

      ...I have to elaborate on that.

      1st Pirates film: Ace, works as a stand-alone film

      2nd Pirates film: Highly entertaining, but its existence serves as a plot bridge to the 3rd film

      3rd Pirates film: Very clever resolution of intricate storylines, best action, effects and score of the three. Not as funny as the first, mind you. Watching 2nd + 3rd as if they are one film is highly recommended!

      4th Pirates film: Going to see it this week, judgement reserved...

  4. Dave 49


    It's probably a factor worth considering. At Cineworld, an afternoon showing is £7.10, while the evening showing is £8.30. Seeing it in 3D adds £2.10 to the ticket price, and the glasses are an extra 80p. Basically £3 extra, or between 30 and 40% more to see the film with fancier effects.

    Personally, I love 3D. I just wish it didn't command such a premium.

    1. /\/\j17

      I love 3D too.... much easier to get good seats to watch the film in 2D screen.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        And it's brighter too.

  5. advocate

    Saw this in Vue at the weekend

    Not a bad film but it didn't really feel like a proper "pirates" film, wasn't funny enough.

    The 3D stuff was mostly painful, the action was too fast for the 3D to be effective and it just made the scenes blurry for the most part. The only stuff that really worked well in 3D was the static text at the start of the film. Thank god it was a short film because the headache coming out of the cinema was not nice.

    I will not be paying for a 3d ticket in the future, lesson learnt.

    (glasses for obvious reasons)

  6. David Hicks

    3D at the cinema will remain a novelty

    Until 3D at home takes off.

    3D at home will never take off until there's some decent 3D content available. There's really not very much of that around, and the price of a 3D Bluray movie is currently in the awesomely ridiculous range.

    No, sorry, I'm not paying 60 bucks for that post-processed fake-stereoscopic nonsense, nor for that hastily re-rendered version of a five year old animated movie.

    I like stereoscopic 3D, but it's hard to see how the industry could make the market for it any worse if they tried.

  7. The BigYin

    Simple answers

    1) 3D costs more

    2) The glasses are uncomfortable and slide off

    3) The colours seem muted (might just be my imagination)

    4) 3D gives some people headaches

    5) It adds nothing !!!NOTHING!!! to the movie.

  8. Blake St. Claire

    My 2¢

    Pirates 1: great

    Pirates 2: pants

    Pirates 3: okay

    Pirates 4: okay

    I grew up in the land of LA and probably went to D'land once a year on average for many years. The PotC is one of my favorite rides, and I, for one, enjoy finding the ride elements in the movies.

    Just saw 4 the other day; jad a choice to see 4 in 3D or 2D and chose 2D.

    1. Citizen Kaned

      no, you are right....

      3d through those glasses seriously reduces colour saturation.

      i found avatar looked better on my home cinema in 2d than in 3d at the cinema.

      i also wear glasses to watch tv/cinema movies so i had to sit with the glasses over my normal glasses, i felt like a spaz....

      now, some games i would think look great in 3d. pity we have a really good hdtv that i cant justify replacing with a minime on the way soon.

    2. Eponymous Cowherd
      Thumb Up

      Have to agree

      3D takes more away than it adds.

      Sitting there for getting on for 2 hours with some cheap plastic polarising glasses perched over my own is bloody uncomfortable and, not only does it mute the colours, it also reduces the sharpness of the images.

      Not sure if its resolution of 3d projection system, the poor optical quality of the 3D glasses, the reflections between the 3d glasses and my own or bleed-through between the right-left images, but 3D presentations always look decidedly less sharp than 2D.

      Possibly this is a just a problem for four-eyes like me, but I find 3D to be paying more and getting less.

      1. Peter Martin

        re resolution of 3d systems

        When viewing 3D, at home at least, the resolution is indeed compromised. The standard way of transmitting 3D HD content in an MPEG stream is to combine the two images either side by side or vertically. The 3D Tvs use these two images to render two sets of frames, one left one right. View a 3D movie on a standard TV set and you'll see the two images. So to carry a 3D MPEG in the same general bandwidth as a normal HD MPEG movie, the horizontal or vertical resolution is halved for each frame, and your brain is left to fill in the gaps. This is usually visible (notwithstanding the effects of distance of the viewer etc. as per the recent article in the reg).

  9. Marvin the Martian

    Franchise sickness --- "that may be part of it"?

    No, that's the whole bleedin' story. What ones did well? Avatar, How to train, etc --- one-off films.

    FYI, Jaws3D made less than half of Jaws2, and less than a quarter of Jaws1.

    HPotter 3D would do great as well --- not just another film made out of leftover scenes and plotpoints of the last few films (with the preceding film already made with the same recipe so having used up the juiciest bits).

    But maybe 3D IS to blame: Jaws4 ("Jaws: the revenge") made 2/3 of what Jaws3D made, despite being sometimes named in "10 worst" or "25 worst" all-time film lists.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      But on the other hand...

      ... the conclusion was drawn by comparing the proportion of people who saw the movie that watched it in 3d to the proportion of people who saw those other movies that watched them in 3d, to reach the conclusion that — amongst films with a large enough release and sufficient success — the proportion of people opting for 3d was lower than previously.

      There are then a bunch of possible counterarguments about why the specific nature of the film didn't cause the drop, albeit that they're speculative.

      So I don't think it's franchise sickness, since the comparison isn't to other films in the same franchise or to any numbers that may have been affected by the popularity or quality of other films in the franchise.

  10. BristolBachelor Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    3D Films

    From the 3D films I've seen, the director and DP have gone out of their way to have scenes that "show off" the 3D. Well in my opinion these things flying around and "out of the screen" just get in the way of the film. It seemds that 3D has taken over like special effects (and also slightly vis. effects) did when they were just getting started.

    When 3D dies down a bit and is just a part of the film instead of some spectacular to show-off the latest fad piece of equipment, then 3D will be OK.

  11. DrXym Silver badge

    3D version?

    How to make a "3D" film.

    1. Film in 2D with little regard to how things like scene transitions or action will work in 3D.

    2. Finish 2D film.

    3. Hastily send 2D film off to post production.

    4. Post production drapes the 2D image over the top of a primitive 3D scene representation and jacks up the colour ranges to account for darken glasses

    5. Viewers get to watch a really shoddy "3D" diorama of the 2D film, enjoy eyestrain and pay a premium for the privilege.

    Perhaps if filmmakers actually shot in 3D and made use of it it might manage to sustain its popularity. Personally I reckon some CG movies (which obviously can be shot in 3D) do really benefit from it. It's just the Tesco Value 3D that most live action movies use which is the problem.

  12. A. Lewis


    Maybe they'll finally scrap '3D' (or, as I think of it 'parallax', since it reminds me of the old computer-game layered 2D sprite effect) and concentrate on making decent films instead of endless crappy sequels and remakes.

    <- representation of someone being forced to wear goggles to watch films.

  13. jake Silver badge


    "Fads", more like ... The whole "3D" thingie is a marketing gimmick designed to sell unnecessary hardware to idiots with more money than brains,

  14. Ilgaz

    Just ask people with eye problems and people from TV

    There are people who has eyesight problems, from all ages and lifestyles who spends billions of dollars to contact lenses just not to wear eyeglasses since it disturbs them.

    Using a contact lens means putting it to your eye every day and taking it off at night. It is not really easy.

    Also, lets not forget people doing very risky and sometimes experimental laser surgeries just... NOT to wear eyeglasses.

    If you build an 3d industry based on people wearing extra eyeglasses and wonder what happened later, you must be real dumb.

    As a person in TV industry who also knows the content provider prices, I can also mention that satellite bandwidth is not infinite and 3d broadcast means 2x more bandwidth, channels and the need for additional 2d broadcast for 99%. Also remember people being able to buy extra 3d TV hardware are also able to buy fiber to their home internet. What does it mean? Pirate bay. There goes your extra spending for 3d broadcast as they are downloading it for free.

  15. Lifes rich pageant

    Broken 3D

    I went to a free advanced screening of Pirates4 and the 3D stopped working towards the end. Funnier than any of the gags on screen was funny seeing the whole audience take their glasses off and realise that they were seeing the same double exposure image with or without the glasses on.

    I'm not sure if this was fixed for the actual release but the film but I'd never pay to see it in 3D – a gimmick for nearly all films (the only exception would be the large IMAX screens where it’s actually quite impressive but still not worth the premium price)

  16. Adam T

    Cheaper to watch the 2D version

    You seen how expensive it is to go to the cinema these days?

    I took the missus to see Thor in 3D at the local Odeon - £20 vs £16 for the 2D version. It's fine for the "odd" movie, but sod that for every visit.

    Also, animated features tend to work better than real action features, and I expect people will have come to appreciate that over time. What was Tron's ratio? 82% 3D vs 24% 2D in IMAX.

  17. sisk Silver badge

    People wising up?

    Maybe people are starting to realize that they're paying more and getting less with 3D. Give me 1080p any time and keep your 3D that can't handle HD or decent FPS counts. The gimmick just isn't worth it.

  18. David Austin


    iMax 3D is fun, mind.

    Screen is so big the image sits in your peripheral vision - Tron IMAX 3D at the BFi was a mind blowing experience.

    Value-wise, I certainly feel better about being charged £16.00 for a night out in London, than an additional £3 for glasses at my local cinema.

  19. Stevie Silver badge


    Or maybe it be that that over-rated doxie Penelope Cruz has been cast in the film, me hearties!

    That be why I haven't been breakin' down any doors to throw me dubloons at it, despite being a rabid Pirates o' the Caribbean fan from years before it be a movie franchise arr!

    Well, that an' the totally off-the-rails "At Worlds End" which had me considerin' abandonin' ship mid-ocean in places on account of it not bein able to decide what sort o' movie it be bein' so it be arr!

    I only 'opes that when I *do* go an' see the film, there be no more "why's the rum gone?" jokes. It be gettin' old so it be arr! Be finding good original material, ye scurvy scriptwritin' bilge-rats, an' stop relivin past glories!


  20. DF118

    About bloody time

    That is all

    1. Paul M 1


      Didn't realise Keira Knightley wasn't in this one - I might go see it after all.

      I always remember seeing the first film which was also the first time I'd seen Ms. Knightley. Assuming she was the latest Hollywood starlet I commented that her "English" accent was one of the worst since Dick Van Dyke... and it was! Or maybe it was just her overall performance.

      Oh and 3D is crap for most of the reasons listed above.

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