Numbers don’t lie. When given the option of both 3D and 2D, more and more moviegoers are opting for the standard 2D experience. Last week, we discussed the declining number of 3D moviegoers in the United States. Now Hollywood itself is starting to voice its opinion on the matter. While 3D enthusiasts like James Cameron may have planted their feet, stood their ground, and stuck up for the film industry’s technological toddler, it may surprise you to learn what other notable filmmakers are saying.
Last week, The Wrap reported that ‘X-Men: First Class’ producer Lauren Shuler Donner spoke out against 3D during a panel at the Produced By conference, basing her claims on an over-saturation of 3D films and inflated ticket prices.
“We chose not to do [‘X-Men: First Class’ in] 3D. I believe the movie itself tells you whether it should be 3D. And I believe there’s a little too much 3D right now. I think, especially in this economy, parents don’t always want to spend that extra money.”
‘How to Train Your Dragon’ producer Bonnie Arnold stood as the only staunch defender of 3D at the producer’s panel. ‘Star Trek’ producer Ralph Winter bashed 3D, citing bad moviegoing experiences. ‘Transformers’ producer Ian Bryce talked about the difficulties that 3D put on production of the upcoming sequel ‘Dark of the Moon’, but called it “appropriate on a case-by-case basis.”
At the Hero Complex Film Festival last summer, ‘Dark Knight’ director Christopher Nolan received loud audience cheers when he admitted during a Q & A that, “I’m not a huge fan of 3D.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that Nolan’s dislike stems from the “extremely alienating” dimness caused by darkened projector images, having to shoot on video instead of film, and various problematic limitations that the still-new technology forces.
In January, Nolan told Deadline that, “The intimacy that the 3D parallax illusion imposes isn’t really compatible with [the third ‘Batman’ film]… I view those as iconic, operatic movies, dealing with larger-than-life characters.” ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ will not be filmed nor presented in 3D.
Former head of Disney Animation and current chief of DreamWorks Animation Jeffrey Katzenberg perhaps put it best when he told The Hollywood Reporter:
We (meaning Hollywood) have disappointed our audience multiple times now [with 3D], and because of that I think there is genuine distrust — whereas a year and a half ago, there was genuine excitement, enthusiasm and reward for the first group of 3D films that actually delivered a quality experience. Now that’s been seriously undermined.
Quite frankly, there’s no industry in the world that doesn’t attempt to move up the customer to a premium experience. I don’t care whether you make shoes or wine or iced tea or cars, everybody tries to create multiple price points. So why shouldn’t we be in the same business of offering our customers a premium experience at a premium price — as long as we deliver them a premium value? If we cheat them, which is what has happened now too many times, then they’ll walk away from it.
It’s really heartbreaking to see what has been the single greatest opportunity that has happened to the film business in over a decade being harmed. The audience has spoken, and they have spoken really loudly.