Don’t let Oscar Fool You—3D Is Here

March 10, 2010
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Well, James Cameron didn’t exactly walk away empty-handed from Sunday’s 2010 Academy Awards, winning three Oscars in predominantly technical categories out of nine nominations. But, I’doscars be willing to bet he expected an even-bigger armful of the trophies, especially considering that Avatar is THE biggest box-office success in the world, ever. While the awards weren’t necessarily forthcoming, I suspect the Academy still recognizes a revolution when it sees one. The true advent 3-D content has arrived—and Avatar has made that very clear in a very big way.

I remember a time, something like three decades ago, when a 3-D experience meant a trip to the local 7-Eleven to buy green and red lenses to watch an Elvira “Movie Macabre” horror special on our home television. The highlight came as the Mistress of the Dark tossed a few handfuls of popcorn at the screen, causing me to squeal in delight. The fact that my parents allowed their young child to watch such garbage is the subject of another discussion.

My how things have changed. It’s been more than three-decades since 3-D made its first forays into our living rooms


Well, James Cameron didn’t exactly walk away empty-handed from Sunday’s 2010 Academy Awards, winning three Oscars in predominantly technical categories out of nine nominations. But, I’doscars be willing to bet he expected an even-bigger armful of the trophies, especially considering that Avatar is THE biggest box-office success in the world, ever. While the awards weren’t necessarily forthcoming, I suspect the Academy still recognizes a revolution when it sees one. The true advent 3-D content has arrived—and Avatar has made that very clear in a very big way.

I remember a time, something like three decades ago, when a 3-D experience meant a trip to the local 7-Eleven to buy green and red lenses to watch an Elvira “Movie Macabre” horror special on our home television. The highlight came as the Mistress of the Dark tossed a few handfuls of popcorn at the screen, causing me to squeal in delight. The fact that my parents allowed their young child to watch such garbage is the subject of another discussion.

My how things have changed. It’s been more than three-decades since 3-D made its first forays into our living rooms, but Hollywood and consumers would finally have us believe that the industry ready. Avatar’s HUGE success– followed quickly on its heels by this weekend’s record-busting 3-D weekend release of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland ($ 116 million, blowing Avatar’s $77 million opener out of the water!), and the imminent releases of How to Train Your Dragon, and Clash of the Titans—is driving large consumer demand for 3-D, both in the theater and in the home.

3-D is driving big change throughout the supply chain. First, there aren’t enough theaters to accommodate the sudden swell of theatrical interest in 3-D, with an estimated 4,000 3-D-ready screens available in the U.S. and Canada by the end of March. (Compare this number to the 7000—screen average across which most wide-release films are released). It doesn’t take an expert to predict that there will be a surge in 3-D deployments by theaters across the country—and, some service providers are moving fast to take advantage (See recent news from Tech on its first 3-D Cinema deployment).

Then, there’s the impact to home theater—as if our latest technology refresh to the flat-panel wasn’t enough, a crush of 3-D televisions are hitting the market. And, while expensive, they aren’t all that much more expensive than a high-quality flat-panel when you consider the discounts manufacturers are offering to seize market-share. For consumers like me who didn’t bite the HD-TV bullet yet, 3-D TV is a viable option. Electronics manufacturers are out in force to storm the market. In fact, Panasonic just announced a partnership with Best Buy to sell something like one-million 3-D plasmas in the next 12 months, and most of those at steep discounts approaching 50%.

But the impact trickles down further. Box-office numbers are bigger. Home theaters need to change. And, advertisers need to consider their response. It’s happening. CBS Outdoor launched its first 3-D Campaign—though, granted it was digital signage. Royal Caribbean is also dipping its toes in the water (no pun intended) with a UK-based theater advertising campaign in 3-D. 3-D advertising will come to the television, too—and agencies and services providers are already preparing for the creative and technical demands which get dragged along.

Then there’s the next shake-up for studio home entertainment organizations. These guys have been rocked about for years with platform changes and introductions. Still reeling from the speedy introduction of multi-platform digital distribution, and the rapid adoption of Blu-ray, Studios have another format on their hands—and most majors are looking to introduce their first 3-D home video products this year.

I’m not much a gambler, so I won’t offer any predictions. I’m curious how this will all shape-up as the year progresses. Until then, I’ll just say this: I always suspected that Elvira was a trail-blazer!

Colleen Quinn

 

*Image Source: article.wn.com

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