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James Cameron Says It's "Absolutely Inevitable" That All Entertainment Will Be In 3D

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by Kevin Jagernauth
August 22, 2013 9:19 AM
22 Comments
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To 3D or not to 3D, that is the question, and lately, the answer from moviegoers has been: pass. As was reported earlier this month, the format has been taking some blows at the box office, with North American crowds favoring regular old 2D for the majority of their viewing experience. This summer, only 25% of total domestic ticket sales of Dreamworks' animated film “Turbo” came from those uncomfortable glasses, with 31% of sales for “Monsters University” in 3D, and only 34% for Brad Pitt's biggest grossing movie ever, “World War Z." But don't tell that to James Cameron, who sees only a bright, three-dimensional future for the format.

Chatting recently with the BBC, the director made it clear that 3D is here to stay. "For me it's absolutely inevitable that entertainment will be 3D, it'll all be 3D eventually, because that's how we see the world," he said, adding: "When it's correct and convenient for us, we pre-select for that as the premium experience."

From an industry perspective, he points to the fact that three out of the last four Cinematography Oscars went to 3D movies ("Avatar," "Hugo" and "Life Of Pi"). And though he acknowledges that "bad conversion" has "polluted" the experience for man—not to mention a handful of cable networks dropping channels broadcasting in 3D recently—Cameron ultimately believes the technology, product and consumer desire for 3D will all dovetail eventually into a perfectly synchronized harmony of success.

And while Cameron's comments might seem wildly out of touch with what audiences are clearly voting for at the box office, it should be noted that overseas 3D is still huge, with 80-90% of tickets moviegoers in Russia and China choosing to put on the glasses. And as long as that's the case, 3D isn't going anywhere. 

But what do you think? Are we forever doomed to experience movies this way? Will even the news be in 3D in the future as Cameron suggests? Tell us below.

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22 Comments

  • Bruin | November 23, 2013 11:07 PMReply

    I like 3D I think it really adds to most movies but I think one thing they failed at is the lack of pop outs . There is nothing like objects floating out of your screen or snowing all around you. I own a 60 inch 3D tv an my 7.2 home theater was just upgraded to 3D so it better be here for a while

  • mattheww | August 24, 2013 5:47 PMReply

    Every 20 years since the 50's 3-D comes back for real this time. Then everyone remembers or discovers that it gives you a headache and looks awful and it goes away, but never for good.

    The irony about 3D movies is they look nothing like life. Both are technically "in" 3D but the 3D film effect is that "ViewMaster" layered-cutouts thing that looks about as lifelike as a diorama. Plus there's the headache. And 3D at home is a disaster -- if there is a single light bulb burning in the house, never mind a window, it flashes and glares and makes getting even a sub-par version of the above sub-par film experience impossible.

    The most aggravating part of Cameron's whole spiel is that in the longest possible terms he'll turn out to be "right." Some company probably will one day invent a glasses-free 3D presentation experience that is pleasingly lifelike and catches on. BUT it will have NOTHING to do with the CURRENT 3D technology. I will give you ten... wait, five dollars if any of the 3D masters of today's 3D films will even play on this someday-ware. So listen, I'll be long dead by then but if anybody tries to argue that the new thing means Cameron was right, set them straight for me please, thanks.

  • Jesse Skeen | August 23, 2013 5:08 PMReply

    I LOVE 3D and want it to stay around this time, but theaters and studios are shooting themselves in the foot by charging extra for it. I haven't gone to many 3D movies in theaters because of that (regular prices are already too high!), but I have a 3D Blu-Ray setup at home and have bought many 3D movies at reasonable prices. Steven Speilberg commented during the release of "Tintin" that he hoped the upcharges for 3D would go away.

  • Tony Wittaker | August 23, 2013 10:12 AMReply

    Please not. I was hoping that the wicked witch was dead when both BBC and a US sports channel dropped 3D TV broadcasting. While there is more of a case for it in the dark surroundings of a cinema, compared with a TV in a living room, we don't have 3D pictures in books, do we. And the exaggerated effect of 3D, shot with much larger lens separation than our eyes, gives the crazy effect of, for example in Hugo, a distance shot of Paris that is so 3D it looks like a toy closeup.

  • 77ships | August 23, 2013 7:09 AMReply

    People perceive 2D as 3D in their mind, we don’t think of people in a 2D movie as being leaves of paper.

    3D works only for a very limited number of movies, there is no a reward for having 3D for most movies, would a courtroom drama for instance look better in 3D? Or Bergman?

  • Sounds of Cinema | August 22, 2013 4:25 PMReply

    I don't think the word "inevitable" means what James Cameron thinks it means.

  • Matt | August 22, 2013 3:44 PMReply

    More proof that the American dollar isn't the first priority for what Cameron (perhaps the E industry too) is after? Perhaps this also indicates the adage "too much change too fast" for Americans. Whether it's the difference in cost or just that we like 2D better, the numbers say Americans don't like 3D like the rest of the world Mr Cameron.

  • Rob | August 22, 2013 2:55 PMReply

    After doing some research, nowhere in this article does it mention that Cameron plans on making 3D in which the glasses are unnecessary. Now that's a different story. Go to youtube and there's a video where Cameron explains.

  • Mr.Butters | August 22, 2013 2:04 PMReply

    This guy needs to get over himself and admit it's failed. 3D works for certain films, for everything else it's just a dumb gimmick. And that's not counting the 10% of the world who can't even see 3D. Then there are those who feel sick watching it. What do you think their family and friends are going to do, ditch them for a 3D movie or see the same thing in 2D? (and pay less). #D was a fun experiment but time to move on.

  • Ian | August 22, 2013 12:51 PMReply

    That's twice 3D has tried and fallen short. / The problem is the glasses. No one wants to wear 'accessories' to watch a film. Also, sound technology has consistently advanced with virtually no advancement with the screen (save higher resolution and gimmicky 3D)/ Until people can sit down in a theater and experience three dimensional imagery without having to wear things, this system will continue as is.

    What's needed is a revolution in visual teq
    http://i.imgur.com/V6foOZ2.jpg

  • hank | August 22, 2013 12:36 PMReply

    "forever doomed" is a good way of putting it.

  • droop | August 22, 2013 12:16 PMReply

    He's obviously absolutely right. Regardless of people's current personal preferences (and I will go out of my way to see a movie in 2D rather than 3D), anyone who thinks that the industry won't adhere to the advances in technology, that the 2D format will prevail as the leading format for filming and projecting, is quite simply a naive conservative fool. People seem to think we'll be sitting around with these glasses forever, do you not realize that the technology is advancing every single day, have you not seen how far for example holographic projection has come? Just take a step back, realize that inevitably everything changes, nothing remains the same forever, and just enjoy the ride.

  • Aksel | August 22, 2013 12:01 PMReply

    The reason why 3d is huge overseas is because most of the time we don't get to choose. 3d is force upon us, with no 2d screens at all. i would personally choose 2d screens if ever there was one in movie theaters.

  • James | August 22, 2013 2:56 PM

    And the bigger reason 3D is so huge in China and Russia specifically is that both of those countries suffer from rampant piracy. It's no surprise people don't pay money to see conventional 2D films - they're just buying bootlegs from a guy on a corner for $1. 3D accounts for 90% of revenue because it's the only kind of movie people in China and Russia can't easily bootleg and so must pay for.

  • bobby | August 22, 2013 10:54 AMReply

    3D is fundamentally flawed. The whole point of cinema is to lose yourself in the film. 3D only works if you notice it which instantly brings you out of the film. Most of the great films I remember because of the scenes in them. Every 3D film I've seen, I remember being in the cinema watching it rather than being in the film itself. I want holodecks as much as the next guy but cinema is not the route.

  • Jeff | August 22, 2013 10:43 AMReply

    The tapering off of interest in 3D is typical of the interest in the format over the years. Granted the "new 3D" is leaps and bounds beyond the old red-and-blue cardboard glasses of the past, but it's still a gimmick and by nature can't be anything more. Movies don't need a third dimension any more than a roller coaster needs a soundtrack.

  • Daniel | August 22, 2013 10:27 AMReply

    He's right; the actual problem with 3-d right now is that it's not passive -- having to wear headgear prompts you to judge the value of having to wear headgear. If you had to wear special glasses to see color film, people would watch Saving Private Ryan and say "yeah, but did it really NEED to be in color?" This plus the idiotically bumped-up price (business lesson fellas: if you want people to get addicted to something, offer it cheap, not pricey) have caused a dip in 3-d here, it's true -- but not overseas, which is a larger, more important market, that will more than make up for a ticket slump here until no-glasses 3-d comes out. Once we get that, once it's a technology that requires nothing from us, that is, then it will settle into permanence.

  • CB | August 22, 2013 10:34 AM

    I agree.

  • Rob | August 22, 2013 9:52 AMReply

    He's so full of shit his eyes are brown... behind those stupid 3D glasses.

  • PRESIDENT MAO | August 22, 2013 9:45 AMReply

    JAMES CAMERON REMINDS ME THAT DELIRANT CHILD FROM THE SIMPSONS CRYING: 'B-B-BUT KRUSTY WILL COME... YEAH?'. 3-D NUMBERS ARE DECLINING OVER THE WORLD. FACT!

  • A-Man | August 22, 2013 9:33 AMReply

    talking out of his dick.

  • kruum | August 22, 2013 9:48 AM

    More like talking out of his pocket. Besides a devotee, he has heavily invested in the techniques for 3D. And being just that, you have to believe like a Belieber in your own investment. However ridiculous it may be.
    But in this case it would help his cause if he was not that persistent and dominating in the debate. Maybe even looking into the causes and a side by side life of the two. Concluding, he is still acting as a prick because 3D inflated the ticket prices and now it looks as if these films are doing so well.

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