Are You Looking Forward To 3D Movies?

Published 6 years ago by , Updated February 10th, 2012 at 7:22 am,

monsters vs aliens02 Are You Looking Forward To 3D Movies?

3D.  I remember the 1D headaches from watching some older 3D movies.  Yet the entertainment industry thinks 3D is the new tech that will help sales.  Not only is it coming to a theater near you, it’s coming to computer games and some TVs that are already set up for 3D movies.  Or will this newest effort end up in the warehouse with the massive unsold collection of 10,000 Segways?

The Potential of 3D:
3d glasses super bowl 2009 Are You Looking Forward To 3D Movies?Anyone remember trying to sit through a 3D movie with those totally dorky cardboard “glasses?”  Do you also remember the massive eye-ripping 1D headache that came from using those things, or was that just me?  I remember the headache because I just got it again after watching the Monsters vs. Aliens 3D movie trailer commercial that came in after the 2nd quarter of Super Bowl XLIII.

Yet 3D does have its fans.  That is if you look at some ticket sales.  3D is considered to be a success because 3D versions of movies like Meet the Robinsons and Beowulf sold twice as many 3D version tickets than their 2D version counterpart.

On a scary note, they also tout the success of the 3D flick, Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour. The Disney 3D film shattered records for a limited release movie.  Groan.

Are There Enough Theaters?
3d glasses p Are You Looking Forward To 3D Movies?As studios start to pump out 3D products, theaters are starting to add the necessary projectors for the approximately 40 upcoming film projects coming down the pipe.  But will there be enough theaters for this big plan?

It was estimated that there would be around 5,000 theaters with the proper technology installed when Monsters vs. Aliens comes out, but the true estimate is that there are only 1,500 theaters ready to show the movie in 3D.  That’s a sobering number for the hopes Dreamworks had, considering that making a 3D movie costs much more to make than a regular film.

Then again, is this an example of studios pushing their own schedules on everyone before they’re ready?  And I presume that the costs to upgrade are on the theater chains who are already struggling with the finance balances of showing a film.

Some 3D Projects Noted:
Of the 40 planned 3D projects, a few of them you may have already heard of:

There’s already been Journey to the Center of the Earth, the previously mentioned Dreamworks’ computer-animated film Monsters vs. Aliens which is due out next March and James Cameron’s Avatar.

Journey to the Center of the Earth was the first ever live-action film that’s been shot entirely in 3D, but it also had a 2D version out.  Pixar studio is now making all of its computer-animated films in 3D.

On top of that, in the “Is Nothing Sacred” category, Disney’s Pixar is redoing Toy Story (I & II) in 3D, and George Lucas is hoping to keep his Star Wars franchise alive by redoing that in 3D.

The Home Viewing Industry:
With the home viewing industry being a nearly $36 billion industry, some big names are looking at how to get 3D into your home.  Some of the companies include Disney, Universal, Philips, Samsung, Sony, Thomson and IMAX.

Some sports telecasts have already taken place in 3D and there’s a push to develop TVs where you won’t need glasses at all.  (That confuses all three of me.)

The idea is that since Hi-Def made such an impact, 3D HD will be even bigger.  Right now we already have some 3D products in the home.  An estimated 1 million 3D-ready HDTVs made by Mitsubishi and Samsung are already in U.S. homes.  The basic concept from the Philips brand is to place a lens over the screen to create the effect.

Even The Computer Is Not Immune:
Madden NFL, Tiger Woods PGA Tour and FIFA Soccer are coming to the 3D world, and Bioshock can now be transformed into 3D via a package from DDD (Dynamic Digital Depth) and their TriDef 3D Experience.

Do I even want to touch on the process being pitched to make Blu-Ray discs viewable in 3D?  Nah, not right now.

What do I think?
3D needs to be watchable.  It needs to be able to be experienced without the headaches, or more precisely, without the glasses.  It needs to not be a distraction.

What does a 3D platform add to a story?  Most 3D scenes seem to be extraneously injected camera angles to take advantage of a spear being thrust in your face and other such moments where scenes, people or objects are filmed.

Pointing to the successes of 3D sales from a teenage pack of swarming Miley Cyrus fans or Meet the Robinsons and Beowulf may be giving these movies more credit than they deserve and sending a lot of serious funds down the wrong entertainment avenue.  Or are they?  Is this where they think the fan base is really heading?  Yeesh.

As far as that 3D trailer during the Super Bowl, I was impressed… NOT!  There were maybe two moments that looked cool.  The very opening with the paddle ball moment, and then later on in the SoBe commercial that followed it up, when a lizard smacked the screen.  OK, those did look cool, but the rest of the air-time just seemed dark, fuzzy and confusing to me.

A closing note on a very scary development that most of us probably didn’t see coming:  The Huffington Post reports that a Hong Kong “production” company is looking to create the first ever 3D porn movie.  Oh my, the possibilities are just way too frightening to even try to consider.

Back To You:
So is it me, or are you feeling the same, underwhelming emotions about this potential process?

Sources: USA Today,,, Huffington Post, /Film,

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  1. Well, according to some people, just because a movie is in 3D, the director is FORCED and COMPELLED to use nothing but jumping at your gimmicks. Once a movie is turned 3D, there’s no other option than that and there’s absolutely no possible way the director or filmmaker can make a decision not to do that. Yep, it’s like if you have a gun your brain is controlled and you’re automatically a violent person.

  2. Both of my kids took their 3-D glasses off halfway through that 3-D Superbowl ad today, saying, “This is stupid.” I have to agree. Do they really think home viewers are going to jump up and grab their 3-D glasses every time something 3-D comes on TV? No. Nobody will ever be able to find their 3-D glasses or retrieving them from the shelf will be too much effort.

    We saw Bolt in 3-D about a month ago and all it added to the movie was $3.00 per ticket. An extra $9.00 just to see 3-D that I didn’t care about. Not only did it not add anything to the movie, the thick plastic glasses they gave us hurt my face after awhile since I had to wear them over my existing glasses.

    I’m not looking forward to higher ticket prices and 3-D is just an inconvenience, even if there was no raise in cost. I hope it dies another embarrassing death, just like all the other times they tried to bring it to the theater.

  3. I’m with you all on this one. These things give me awful head-aches and sit extremely uncomfortably. Not only that, but I really don’t see the point.

    I think it’s important to ask why we would want 3D to begin with? Is it not already in 3D? Their definition of “3D” is just a projection of certain “2D” objects, no different than a pop-up book.

    It’s just all frustrating.


  4. Wow, didn’t know it was such a sore spot for people. Well, I don’t wear glasses and it doesn’t give me a headache, so there’s no skin off my nose, so why not.

  5. @Brad Carter

    Well said.

    Personally, I have no focus in one eye (lazy eye) so watching a movie in 3D is impossible, and although I have never seen a movie in 3D I really don’t see the point in making them.

  6. This is just silly. You’re not making a difference between the old anaglyph red-and-blue glasses with the new disney 3d glasses witch are not red and blue but transparent, and the 3d effect is significaly better. I watched Dinosaurs 3d, and it was great, i also watched Scar 3d, it was awful. Next week i’m gonna go watch my bloody valentine 3d, and honestly, i can hardly wait.

  7. Not to be a jerk, but Monsters vs. Aliens is a Dreamworks’ film, not a Pixar.

  8. I dont think I have watched a 3d movie in years and I didnt have 3d glasses for the superbowl. But honestly I dont see the point in turning tv in to a 3d mayhem!! I dont mind movies typically but honestly, why do they feel the need to turn tv or even computer into 3d.

    If they want to make 3d movies go for it I say but leave our tvs and computers alone.

  9. I am with Huggybear on this one. Not making a difference between red/blue anaglyph glasses and the new high tech 3d systems such as the dolby and disney ones is just silly.

    The whole point of the new systems is that there are no more headaches. I don’t know about people wearing glasses and then using the 3d ones on top of them. I could see that giving some problems since all lenses have to be aligned perfectly. But in the future you won’t even need glasses anymore so it ll just be a temporary problem. The new systems also have no more ghosting or blurring and you can even move your head around and maintain that clear crisp 3d picture.

    All the people saying what does it add to movies? I am getting the feeling you guys are quite old and shall i say conservative? The same could be said about color. I mean what does color really add to a film? 3D adds depth. It’s another barrier that is being broken just like color back in the days. Both serve to make films even more immersive and realistic. I mean you don’t cut out one of your eys because you want to see the world in 2d right? why should we limit our movies to 2d? There are allot of bad 3d movies out there right now because most directors are still learning how to deal with it. All the ones that toss stuff at you during the entire length of the movie are NOT good 3d movies. The ones where you look through a window and see a world of unimaginable depth that can give you vertigo… that IS a GOOD 3d movie.

    You guys should reserve any judgement untill you have seen Avatar.

  10. I would definitely check out a 3D film, but it technically still a gimmick. I still go to movies for story and premise alone! Most of the time I don’t care if it “looks cool.” If it’s a story I can sink my teeth into, I’m there. And, this is where IMHO Hollywood really needs to focus rather than this misguided notion that 3D will solely draw in viewers.

  11. The thing is, 3d is just another tehnique, like CGI, if used correctly, like in Lord of the Rings and Jurassic park, it makes the whole experience better, if used badly, like the new star wars, it can’t save the movie. So just be glad there WILL be marvelous movies made in 3D, only thing is, there will be a pile of junk like Scar 3d until we get there.

  12. Thank God for the voice of reason! It started with HuggyBear and got better.

    My biggest fear when DWA decided to do this old style anaglyph commercial was that people would believe that this was the tech being used in the theaters! I did NOT expect professional movie bloggers to post this same opinion.

    Look. The anaglyph technology is OLD. It is NOT used in the theaters for modren 3D. It will NOT be used in the home for “modern” 3D entertainment either! Thats it. Period.

    Get over it. I don’t care if you had headaches using the old style red and blue glasses because it is a moot point – you don’t use them for todays 3D!

    I defy ANYONE and I mean ANYONE to come to me in December after they have saw AVATAR in 3D at lets say an IMAX theater and tell me: “Jim – you are full of s***”. Because let me tell you, you will all be freakin’ amazed at what modern tech can do with 3D and what a master can do with storytelling.

    Come December all these posts about gimmicks and red and blue glasses will be a joke. Be careful what you post on the Internet – there is this little thing called caching that kinda keeps a record of these things even if you delete it. :-)

  13. @Alex

    Thanks for finding that error, I’ve corrected it.


    Yeah, Bruce should have pointed out the difference between the type of glasses in theaters and the ones they use for TV/DVD. My fault, I should have caught that but it was late and I was getting ready for bed when I edited the post.

    Personally, I’m a fan of 3D with the polarized glasses – I think it adds depth to scenes and puts you more “in” the movie.

    But, problems:

    - I wear glasses. Royal pain in the ass to have 3D glasses over my regular ones.

    - Home viewing: As long as they keep doing the cheap, crappy red/blue for home viewing, people’s perception of 3D will be negative. I tried to watch both Polar Express and Journey to the Center of the Earth in 3D on my 60″ HDTV and found them BOTH to be unwatchable.



  14. Thanks Vic. I get emotional about 3D – potentially to my detriment. However it deserves a real chance this time around because it is not a gimmick when used correctly – and we have masters of the art using it.

  15. I think the situation is comparable to what happened to video games. Most would say that newer ones outclass older ones, but I prefer an 8-bit RPG over any of the junk out nowadays.

    Like Doug C said, it’s just a way to draw in crowds in lieu of story.

    “It’s shallow, but it’s the prettiest thing ever made!”

    Call me old and conservative, but I don’t buy into it.

    Oh, and I have seen a couple of the new 3D films and I don’t wear glasses, and yet a headache never fails to show itself. Maybe I’m just straining too hard to find a plot these days.


  16. The only thing that REALLY bothers me about 3D is that if you DON’T have the glasses and you still want to watch the show (i.e. Chuck tonight), you have to deal with the stupid ghosting effect.

  17. Brad Carter: My wife did the same thing, saying the ad was stupid, but I got the unedited version with other descriptors in the outburst!

    Reverend: I like that! 3D is nothing but an overpriced pop-up book!

    Huggybear: The glasses appear transparent, but the red blue hues are present…

    Give us some hope Huggy: How was Dinosaurs good in 3D? Were all the scenes enhanced or just some scenes?

    Thanks Alex.

    DaFreak: My question is valid as far as what a visual dimension might or might not add to a movie I think. A good story doesn’t need this, does it?

    I’m not sure how getting a headache is conservative, but OK. I guess I’m conservative then… (YA know I’m just ribbing with that one… we’re trying to have fun here! FUN I tell ya!)

    As far as vertigo goes, yea, I get the idea of getting side affects from a movie and having that add to the experience, but wouldn’t half the fun be to go see something and NOT experience some things? I don’t want to go see a movie just so I can just go toss my cookies. Heck, my off-roading driving does that enough for my passengers!

    Jim Dorey: I get your take and not only understand, but really HOPE 3D does come into being without having to suffer through 95% of a film for about 5% of the effects.

    Then again, you point out storytelling. For me, a well told story trumps visual aid because my mind is engaged or wrapped around all the plot points.

    On the other hand, Megan Fox, in well done 3D, well then, need I say more?

    Sorry -back on point: I’m thinking that this 3D audience test that occurred with the movie trailer was probably not the best approach to a market test if you ask me because if they are trying to appeal to people, using this older technique didn’t do it. But I can’t imagine a decent cost effective way to spread the word either.

    PERSONALLY, I can’t wait to see a 3D movie that is fun to watch and without having to wear equipment on my head. Like I said in my article, if 3D can be done so it doesn’t distract, then I’m all for it.

    And Jim, we’d appreciate decent language on the site.

    SO FAR WHAT I’VE SEEN HERE are some great insights to the premise of audience interpretation of 3D.

    We’ve got a few decent examples of movies, and a few examples of why or more precisely, when it didn’t work. That’s what we need, good examples on the pros or cons.

    Thanks everyone! Remember WE’RE KEEPING THIS as a FUN and CONSTRUCTIVE Conversation.

  18. Using red/blue tech to advertise polarized tech is pretty stupid and counterproductive to trying to “sell” 3D IMHO.


  19. Thanks for the tech update Aaron!

    This reminds me of the surround sound set ups where it’s not in the speakers and their placement, but the frequencies used to trick the brain in thinking it’s hearing surround sound!

    The brain is a funny place I tell ya!

  20. Polarized/Stereo Graphic 3D is entirely different than the anaglyphic (red/blue) you watched during the Superbowl.

    The Polarized 3D (the ones coming to computer monitors and movie theaters near you) runs at 120hz, twice the frame rate of a typical TV/monitor. It uses a process where your brain for a split second will detect and see a literal depth map of black and white, and then see the normal color overlay again. This happens at such a fast speed, your mind blends the two together to display depth, *without* the headaches.

    For now, we need to use the old-fashioned Polarized glasses (I’ve got some vintage 1945′s) to help stabilize the image. Soon, we’ll have double-layered screens that self-polarize without the need of eyeware.

    The Red / Blue glasses use a much less sophisticated (and rather 2-dimensional) approach to tricking your mind, ultimately causing pains in the brains within a short amount of time.

    Sure, the glasses are a (minor) annoyance for now, but the depth in film, television and video games are a huge benefit, and will ultimately one way or another be implemented into future media.

  21. Although I could go on for several paragraphs why I think that movies could greatly benefit the new Polarized 3d, I think that my opinion has already been superbly voiced by HuggyBear, and Aaron.

    Instead, I’ll voice my opinion on how Polarized 3d would be HUGE in the video game business. For example, playing Madden on a flat screen, seeing flat images throwing flat footballs is fun, but could be much better with 3d. If I were able to see how far the ball was, or how close the defender was, I think we could play a lot better, and have a lot more fun. Now they already have a 3d effect with moving cameras, and swinging angles in games, but to have an actual perspective angle would be really cool. And the greatest thing about it, though it would take a while for the 3d element, it wouldn’t take much to switch it back to the regular video. So everyone could have it both ways.

  22. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, unless Avatar convinces us otherwise, 3D will only every be a gimmick that will grow old quickly.

  23. Vic,

    Right on, I can make no excuse for the lame way they’re going about advertising visual depth in films.


    I was going to bring up surround sound as an analogy for the technology, both in its proper uses, and gimmicky abuses.

    What greatly convinced me of the benefits of depth in media are the stereographic satellite images of Mars’s surface. It all looks the same until you activate the stereographics and realize there’s a mountain ridge staring you in the face. It makes all the difference in the world, and you miss out on so much information without it.

    So yeah, the popping-out “it’s in your face!” crap they’re trying to pull is going to get them nowhere fast. I can only hope they’ll maximize the subtle capabilities in more sophisticated films sooner rather than later, for everyone’s sake.

    Our local movie theater here is already pretty far in debt, and they’re being required to install the expensive 120mhz 3D projectors. What a shame if they never put it to *good* use.

  24. Hey Bruce, you can slag the specs all you want, but don’t rag on the Segway dude!

  25. Sorry Dentist! LOL.

  26. My two bits (or four),

    I’d like to comment on a few things…

    1) I watched those commercials in 3D last night.. AGONIZING. I once again got the “3D headache” I’m so so many other people did. It’s unfortunate they apparently had to go back to the red/blue glasses style/technology.

    2) I did watch Bolt in 3D at my local Regal Cinemas. While there wasn’t anything in the movie eye popping when taking advantage of 3D, I did enjoy it. The new (apparently “polarized”) style of 3D glasses was much better than that red/blue crap they used yesterday. Once my eyes adjusted to the new style I was fine and didn’t get a headache at all. (Not that I don’t have glasses so there wasn’t an inconvenience with that either)

    3) Does anybody remember Captain EO, the 3D movie that used to play at Disneyland? ( As I recall (it was about 15 years ago when I saw it as a kid) the 3D images that came across the screen actually looked like you could touch them and everybody in the theater (including me) was reaching out because it literally looked like certain things almost came out and hit you! That’s how I remember it at least. Does anybody else recall this??

    Unfortunately my local IMAX theater doesn’t support 3D. But I will definitely be making a trip to Seattle or Portland when Avatar comes out. That sounds WAY cool!!

  27. “Huggybear: The glasses appear transparent, but the red blue hues are present…
    Give us some hope Huggy: How was Dinosaurs good in 3D? Were all the scenes enhanced or just some scenes?”

    Bruce, the movie had almost all scenes in 3D. I remember how beautiful it looked when a car came close to the screen and parked. I would never describe that scene as “beautiful” if it wasn’t in 3d. Also there are great “in your face moments” with dinos that make you flinch in your seat. Now, a lot of people would call that a cheap thrill, but when i go to cinema i expect to be thrilled, don’t I? Now, as the movie goes, it was all right, not great, but what amazed me was not the movie itself, but the tingling feeling of great things to come in the future. I heard Tim Burton is making a 3d, stop motion black and white cartoon, and all i can think is YES :)

    Also, sorry about bad grammar, im from Croatia and english is not my primary language.

  28. I thought about 3D movies some days ago on my blog (which is a truly frightening coincidence).
    In my eyes 3D adds nothing new that changes the way a movie can be told, except for being “not flat”. Just like Joshi, to me it is a nice, funny gimmick but nothing truly everlasting.

    And for some reason this technology always reminds of of a marketing guy standing there, finally saying “…but it’s 3D!” :)

  29. The old red/blue was horrible. The new glasses you wear which look like sunglasses work very well. No headaches. I saw My Bloody Valentine in theaters. 3D is gimmicky but it does add to the experience. I’m sure I would not have enjoyed My Bloody Valentine as much in its 2d form.

    3D would only be of any use for an action or horror movie or porn.