3D Movies

split b 1024x341 3D Movies

So, what do Robert Stack, Barbara Britton, and Nigel Bruce all have in common? They starred together in the first 3D color film in 1952, Bwana Devil, which made it into production under the title, The Lions of Gulu. This was the beginning of the “golden age” of 3D films that lasted until 1955. Horror films and science-fiction films became the mainstay for 3D filmmakers, which in turn brought a lot of favorable attention to both genres of films.

Until recently, however, 3D filmmaking had been seen as a gimmick and was unfairly equated with the low-budget filmmaking at its height of popularity, or with specialty films that often had to do with the earth, or outer space, and were shown specially in IMAX 3D theaters.

It was James Cameron, who just brought us the #1 grossing film of all time, Avatar, which was a smashing success in 3D, who changed the rules for 3D cinema in mainstream filmmaking with his 2003 films, Ghosts of the Abyss. The cameras used were the latest in HD video cameras, not film, and were built to Cameron’s specifications.

Since 2003 we’ve seen a steady rise in mainstream 3D filmmaking including, The Polar Express, Journey to the Center of the Earth, My Bloody Valentine, last year’s Avatar, and finally this year’s Clash of the Titans, the remake of the 1981 stop-action films of the same name. It’s the latest film that could be set to take credit for changing all the rules in traditional, mainstream filmmaking.

With theaters able to charge a $5 (or more) premium to show moviegoers a new release in 3D, and having no shortage of takers, 3D movies have become a very important part of the revenue equation at Hollywood’s biggest movie studios.

According to Warner distribution executive Dan Fellman, 52% of this past weekend’s total box office for Clash of the Titans came from 3D ticket sales. Some Hollywood executives say that as much as 80% of the revenues for Avatar are from 3d screenings, and already more than one-third for Alice in Wonderland.

So, does this mean that 2D filmmaking is now on the endangered list? Not quite yet, but with DVD sales continuing to decline because of the ease and availability of streaming online content, it’s a safe bet that studios will be churning out more and more 3D blockbusters in an attempt to bolster what are sometimes quite volatile numbers.