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Alfonso Cuarón Says Most 3D Films Are "Crap" As RealD CFO Pushes Studios & Directors To Keep Using The Format

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist September 27, 2013 at 12:46PM

Is it time to have yet another debate about 3D? Well, whether you like it or not, it's going to happen. This past summer, theater owners were beginning to wonder where the audiences were for the format, as 3D screenings began making up for just the fraction of ticket sales for some pretty big movies (25% of the total domestic gross of “Turbo,” 31% of “Monsters University” and 34% for “World War Z”). And while the reason why ticket buyers are being more cautious about paying to wear those uncomfortable glasses is up for debate, Alfonso Cuarón has summed it up pretty nicely.
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Gravity, Cuaron

Is it time to have yet another debate about 3D? Well, whether you like it or not, it's going to happen. This past summer, theater owners were beginning to wonder where the audiences were for the format, as 3D screenings began making up for just the fraction of ticket sales for some pretty big movies (25% of the total domestic gross of “Turbo,” 31% of “Monsters University” and 34% for “World War Z”). And while the reason why ticket buyers are being more cautious about paying to wear those uncomfortable glasses is up for debate, Alfonso Cuarón has summed it up pretty nicely.

“The problem now is that they make all these films that are not designed for 3D and then convert them as a commercially afterthought – and they are crap. They don’t follow the rules of 3D of what does and doesn’t work," he said at a press conference at the Zurich Film Festival for his own, 3D-converted "Gravity" (via Screen Daily). But of course, his own movie is the exception, as he notes it was crafted for 3D and if you see it in 2D, you're only getting “30% of the experience.”

But ultimately, he concludes that, “There are a handful of films that have used 3D in a proper way so it can be an amazing tool.” And we can't argue with that, it's just too bad that tool is being used like something you buy at the concession stand when you go to the movies ... speaking of which ...

RealD CFO Drew Skarupa recently spoke to some likely worried financial types at the MKM Partners Investor Day Conference (via Deadline), hoping to drum up hope for the format and company, who are taking a pretty big hit on Wall Street. His answer for flagging interest in 3D? Encouraging directors to shoot in native 3D, rather than relying on conversions, even though they are getting “better and better,” and he's urging studios to make 3D a selling point again, because he feels it's beginning to take a backseat. (Which raises the paradox of how 3D can be perceived as something special, when every week a new blockbuster arrives in the format.)

As for theater owners, he's urging them to dedicate more screens to 3D, basically so moviegoers don't have a choice to opt out. He hopes cinemas will “increase those [3D] show times,” so they can capture the 50% of moviegoers who basically just show up at the theater, and pick the most convenient showtime for the schedule.

While the verdict is still wavering from cinemagoers, perhaps Skarupa will sleep easier knowing that James Cameron insists "it's absolutely inevitable that entertainment will be 3D." But that thought is certainly keeping us awake at night ...

"Gravity" opens on October 4th, and here's a new IMAX featurette for the film.

This article is related to: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity, 3D


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