Are 3D Movies Over?

That’s the question Rolling Stone asks.

In a recent talk with fellow sci-fi/fantasy director Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men), the director criticized Hollywood for releasing too many movies in 3D. He made a distinction between movies shot in 3D, like Avatar, and those converted to 3D in post-production. In his view, Hollywood is “pushing 3D to directors who are not comfortable or do not like 3D.” Cameron cited Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel as current blockbusters that didn’t need to be in 3D. ” If you spend $150 million on visual effects, the film is already going to [look] spectacular [and] perfect,” he said.

And there are other signs that the recent surge of 3D proliferation has hit a wall. It’s de rigeur nowadays for animated films to come out in 3D, but Despicable Me 2 became a smash this month even though only 27 percent of its opening weekend gross came from 3D tickets, a record low. The previous record was 31 percent, set a few weeks earlier by Monsters University. Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, one of the few movies whose 3D work critics actually praised for enhancing the storytelling, opened with just 33 percent of its sales coming from 3D. Critics who’ve complained that 3D is an annoying fad (except, of course, when auteurs like Luhrmann or Martin Scorsese or Ridley Scott use it) are finally being proven right, as audiences in North America apparently are tiring of paying extra for films that look perfectly good, and perhaps even better, in plain old 2D.

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