Every two years, I like to check in on the realm of 3D filmmaking and exhibition, particularly as it relates to the home theater. In 2010, I wrote a column called “Why 3D Home Theater Will (and Should) Fail”, in which I talked about 3D in the age of James Cameron’s Avatar, and how that movie almost single-handedly caused a mass exodus to electronics stores in order to gear up with home theater equipment capable of approximating the 3D experience in the home. Two years later, in 2012, I wrote “Enjoying 3D at Home Is Still a Maddening Prospect”, in which I checked in on the format to see how those consumers were faring with their home equipment.
Not so well, it turned out. Expensive equipment, bulky glasses, and a dearth of captivating 3D content added up to a technology that perhaps wasn’t ready for prime time. So, the question is, have we reached prime time for 3D yet?
Today, another two years have passed, and the 3D industry hasn’t exactly thrived but rather has seemed to settle into a kind of stasis. If my widespread group of tech friends (and the members of forums I frequent) are any indication, the 3D equipment and peripherals in their homes are more likely sitting untouched in bins or gathering dust on shelves than enjoying frequent use. And this seems to also be a reflection of how new 3D films are being received by audiences in theaters.
After all, over the past four years, the number of 3D movies in theaters has steadily fallen—in half, actually. In 2014, of the hundreds of films hitting theaters, only 28 movies will be available in 3D. All expectations are that this trend will continue—at least until, say, the next Avatar film comes out, and the renaissance begins anew. But I have a feeling consumers won’t be so quick to start shelling out hundreds of dollars for the home experience next time.
(Read the rest at Residential AV Presents: Connected Home.)