3D How the Studios, Theatre Owners, and TV Manufacturers All But Killed 3D

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Todd Erwin, Mar 18, 2014.

  1. Paul Hillenbrand

    Paul Hillenbrand Screenwriter

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    Love the ESPN’s Loss is 3-D TV’s Gain article. It gives a lot of insight into ESPNs bad 3D camera setups, avoiding close-ups and eventually saving money by relying on 2D to 3D conversions. ("shooting events using 2-D equipment and using image processing to create simulated 3-D")
     
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  2. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Producer
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    That was a great article, Paul, thanks for sharing!

    Poorly done 3D will do more to turn people off than anything else. I think we're seeing that on the theatrical side of things as well.

    I think back to the release of Avatar, and how everyone wanted to see it and experience it, and how people were eager for more 3D. And then I think back to studios deciding to post-convert their movies to 3D despite never having been intended for 3D, simply to take advantage of audience enthusiasm in the wake of Avatar. And then the audience ate up all those subpar 3D releases that were barely distinguishable from the 2D versions (other than on their wallets, their wallets could tell the difference), and came to the conclusion that it wasn't worth their time or money. If the studios had been thinking more long-term, perhaps they wouldn't have allowed subpar 3D to give a bad name to the format as a whole.

    I love 3D, but I feel like what we're getting by and large doesn't take advantage of what the format has to offer. It's kind of like getting 7.1 surround sound systems for everyone and playing only stereo tracks over them, but calling it surround sound anyway - but in that example, the consumer would (hopefully) realize "Hey, it's not the fault of the sound system, it's the fault of the filmmakers not using all of the speakers!" A lot of filmmakers don't seem interested in 3D production; a lot of 3D post-conversions seem like studio mandates rather than artistic decisions, and the resulting films have a very indifferent use of 3D. You can't expect an audience to get enthusiastic about an indifferent product.

    By the way, had the 3D broadcast of the London Olympics opening and closing ceremonies been made available in the US from my cable provider, I would have definitely watched it in that format.
     
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  3. RJ992

    RJ992 Second Unit

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    GRAVITY has been the fastest-selling 3D title ever. Also, the 3D discs of both GRAVITY and THOR 2 were out-selling the 2D editions via both Wal-Mart and Amazon.during their first weeks of release. (I believe that THOR is still outselling the 2D from Wal-Mart at ;east). Of course, in the long run, those numbers will change and 2D will come out a head. But the point is that the consumer base for 3D has been growing. (heck, even the Pope's canonization ceremony will be in 3D world-wide!) So naturally, the incompetent home-video people decide that they should cease the promotion of 3D. Brilliant! How do those guys keep their jobs????
     
  4. Chuck Anstey

    Chuck Anstey Screenwriter

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    Do you have a link to this information? I find it extremely hard to believe unless the 3D version was cheaper than the 2D version. Even at the same price I think most 2D only consumers would just be getting the 2D version simply because they wouldn't bother looking for the 3D one, regardless of the fact that they might get the 3D disc "for free".
     
  5. RJ992

    RJ992 Second Unit

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    I did not say it was cheaper...I said they were selling more copies at that time. The standings have changed, of course, (now that some time as passed). I simply looked at the Amazon list of "Best Sellers". At Wal-Mart,(as of today) THOR TDW is still ahead of the standard DVD (second) and the BD (third) On Amazon, it is #13 (3D) and the BD is #21.

    http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Movies-TV-Blu-ray/zgbs/movies-tv/2958935011/ref=zg_bs_nav_mov_1_mov

    http://www.walmart.com/search/search-ng.do?search_query=thor&ic=16_0&Find=Find&search_constraint=4096
     
  6. SFMike

    SFMike Second Unit

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    My local Walmart, Costco and Target did not have the 3D version of "47 Ronin" for sale. Only Best Buy had it and at least it was at a reduced price. Costco didn't have any 3D blu-rays for sale. They still had a few 3D capable sets but the 3D function was in the fine print. Wish there was more price competition.
     
  7. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    My Costco carries SOME 3D titles, but most are now catalogue releases at heavily discounted prices. They did carry both Thor: The Dark World and Gravity in 3D though. Best Buy and Future Shop are pretty consistent in carrying 3D releases, Walmart is a little more scattershot, and HMV tends to be ridiculously overpriced. Many times I have wound up ordering from amazon (.com or.ca) because the local prices are ridiculous. I was going to order Frozen 3D from amazon.co.uk, but my parents are going to England in May, so I'll send some cash with them to pick it up with some other titles. The ways that manufacturers and studios have cocked this up are simply forehead-slappingly bizarre.
     
  8. Chuck Anstey

    Chuck Anstey Screenwriter

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    I did not say you said it was cheaper either. I said I found it hard to believe a 3D version would ever outsell a 2D version given only a small percentage have 3D setups and only a handful of 2D people would buy the 3D version "in preparation" unless the 3D version was cheaper than the 2D version.

    I also think you are reading too much into the ordering or even the namesake "best selling" or in Walmart's case "Best Seller". Given Avatar 3D was 23rd, right behind Thor 2 2D, I really doubt that the order is absolute number of sales in the last X days/weeks/months. Nothing says either store couldn't label a 3D movie a "best seller" because it is currently a best selling 3D movie, but not because it is outselling or even comparable to the 2D sales.
     
  9. RJ992

    RJ992 Second Unit

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    Not the case with Amazon. Wal-Mart had GRAVITY 3D as Best-Seller...but it's not anymore so I'd say it's a good indication that sales relative to other editions are valid. On a more anecdotal note, I saw my local Target completely sell-out of THOR 2 3D...while plenty of 2Ds remained. They re-ordered and subsequent copies had both a different cover (Loki) and access to thousands of Marvel digital copies. Just there today and only 2 copies remain. They also had literally DOZENS of GRAVITY 3Ds. Only 4 remain there today. THE WOLVERINE also sold-out. As I said, in long-term...of course 2D will have higher numbers than 3D The point is that consumer demand for 3D is there and has risen...IF the content is available (or if they even know about it). I have no doubt that if Disney had released FROZEN here in 3D, initial sales would have dwarfed any other title mentioned so far. Whenever they do release it, stateside sales will have been truncated by those who ordered from the UK. But the Disney people are probably too dense to know that.
     
  10. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Screenwriter

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    I'm sure the studios know exactly what the total sales numbers are for each edition of every movie, rather than our guesses or extrapolations from seeing a certain number of units selling in stores.

    In any case, whether 3D is outselling or even equaling 2D sales on Blu may not be particularly significant if the majority of sales overall are digital or DVD. In other words, while we may be focusing on the sales of Blu-rays, the bigger picture demands that the studios look at total revenue - and 3D Blu-ray may form a very small portion of that.
     
  11. Jari K

    Jari K Producer

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    "I'm sure the studios know exactly what the total sales numbers are for each edition of every movie, rather than our guesses or extrapolations from seeing a certain number of units selling in stores."They can't know the exact figures, that would be impossible. It's mainly the numbers that are "shipped" to the retail chains.
     
  12. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    And separate 3D editions are another thing that's wrong. Of course it's likely because studios love to charge more for them (especially Di$ney, the major studio that I have the lowest percentage of 3D releases from), but Lionsgate and smaller studios have been doing it right by putting out just ONE edition of their movies with 3D included. Want Texas Chainsaw, Dredd or Step Up Revolution? If you buy them on Blu-Ray, you get them in 3D whether you want it or not (and they'll still play in 2D if that's all you have) - AND those titles weren't priced any higher than their regular releases and in fact just had a price drop! How can a relatively small company like Lionsgate do that, but Disney can't? ;)

    At the very least, getting these 3D movies into everyone's homes will entice more people to upgrade to 3D faster.
     
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  13. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Producer
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    One of the problems with how 3D has been implemented, in my opinion and to follow-up Jesse's post, is the pricing. The studios have looked at it as a way to charge extra. And yet, when I think about other movie-going innovations that have happened in my lifetime, none of them came with extra charges theatrically. When they started adding DTS digital sound to theaters around the time of "Jurassic Park" (I think), there wasn't an extra charge to see the movie with DTS sound. When digital projection was added to theaters, there wasn't an extra charge to see a movie digitally. But for 3D, there's a magical surcharge that's unlike any I recall in my lifetime. People were excited about 3D when it first came out and the studios loved that surcharge money, but I think longterm it's done more harm than good. I suppose that goes hand in hand with the onslaught of releases that are 3D conversions but weren't intended to be in 3D by the filmmakers, where it was slapped on later just to get the extra money. When studios went from black and white to color, did they charge more to see a movie in color?

    Ideally, 3D would be a filmmaker's choice (and not something added by the studio independent of the filmmakers desires), and there wouldn't be an additional charge for it. There's only one theater I know of - the Film Forum in NYC - that doesn't charge an extra fee if they're showing a 3D title. Once the projectors are installed, what's the cost difference between showing a movie in 2D or 3D? I can't imagine it costing the exhibitor anything more than the cost of the glasses. The solution there seems easy: charge people a surcharge only when they do not have glasses with them. IMAX glasses are "rentals" in the sense that they belong to the theater, but it's different with RealD - they "sell" the glasses to the theater, which is then sold to you as part of the ticket price. The theaters encourage you to recycle them, and RealD pays the theater money to get them back, which means that not only are the theaters passing the cost of the glasses onto you, but they're also profiting from your assumption that they're loaners. I think a RealD 3D screening should cost equal to a 2D screening provided you bring your own glasses. That could be a game-changer. Of course, I don't think the studios and theaters want a game changer in this regard - they don't want you to think of 3D as just one component of the film that is included in the price of admission, they want it to be something that you pay extra for.
     
  14. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    And what's REALLY stupid is not only do they run some shows in 2D mainly for the people who don't want to pay extra, but they're often in the SAME auditorium as the 3D shows. I've seen movies scheduled where alternating shows will be 3D and then 2D. The 3D equipment is still sitting there doing nothing while that 2D show is running! I was REALLY insulted to not only be subjected to pre-show commercials, but some of THOSE were in 3D as well! I contacted the offending advertisers letting them know that I don't look upon that favorably, at least if the ad dollars had been used to offset whatever additional cost there was of showing 3D and charged the audience the regular prices, I might have been a little more accepting of having to see their paid ads on the screen. (Let's not forget that digital projection has saved a LOT of money for everyone involved already- it runs pretty much by itself so nobody even has to go up in the booth anymore, and the movie studios are saving a fortune from not making film prints.)
     
  15. Josh Steinberg

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    One thing I wonder, and figure we'll never be able to get real numbers on, is what percentage of people are opting for the 2D version because they don't like the 3D format or can't see in 3D vs. the percentage of people going 2D strictly to save money.

    If you've got a kids, and a night at the movie isn't just one or two tickets (as it is for me), but four, five or six, and there's a five dollar charge on each of those tickets. That starts adding up really quickly, and it's something I usually don't think about because I'm usually a solo moviegoer. Are people choosing 2D solely because of the cost savings even though they like 3D and would have seen it in 3D if it cost the same, because they don't like 3D at all, or because they saw some poorly made or poorly presented 3D films and have decided a poor 3D experience isn't worth the cost?
     
  16. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    Yes, most studios have looked on 3D as a way to charge more. They could have looked on it as a way to get more people into the theater. Widescreen technology was introduced to get people away from the TVs and back into the theater. Why not use 3D that way?

    Then there was the exclusive marketing of certain 3D blu-rays, including the app-killer, Avatar. When introducing a new technology why would you not want to make the the one movie that was the pre-eminent example of 3D, available to the most people. Idiots!
     
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  17. Chuck Anstey

    Chuck Anstey Screenwriter

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    My #1 reason for not seeing 3D in the theater is cost. The strong second is I will not see a 3D conversion even at the same price. I definitely agree that the price of a 3D movie should be the same as 2D if you bring your own glasses. It is also really crappy of theaters to not give their customers a piece of the returned 3D glasses credit. I'm sure the logistics of the "Bring your own glasses" would be a nightmare for the theaters though.
    "I can't see 3D!"
    "You brought the wrong glasses sir. Those are for Dolby 3D, this is Real3D."
    "That BS! 3D glasses are 3D glasses. You are just trying to charge me extra for 'your' 3D glasses."
     
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  18. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Producer
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    If they wanted to make it work, they could -- RealD is by far the most commonly employed technology, so I think it would be pretty easy to just call them "RealD" screenings and say "No extra charge for RealD when bringing your own RealD glasses". The Dolby ones, I don't think theaters let you keep - the Dolby system is closer to anaglyph than polarized, and require expensive headsets that the theater has to reuse. I only saw a film with Dolby 3D projection once, maybe twice -- happened to be a movie I had previously seen in both IMAX 3D and then RealD, and I found the Dolby presentation to be lacking by comparison.
     
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  19. SFMike

    SFMike Second Unit

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    We also will not be able to find out if a person or group opted for the 2D showing because the theater only has two 3D showings at odd times (3 PM and 10:55PM) and there is not one playing near the time they are at the theater. This has been a problem in my area.
     
  20. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Cinematographer
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    Showtimes for Captain America: The Winter Soldier at one of the busiest movie theaters in the US:

    CaptAmerica3D.jpg

    That's right - only ONE showtime for RealD 3D with Dolby ATMOS per day.........
     

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