Is the End of 3D on the Horizon?

Is the End of 3D on the Horizon?

Ask anyone born in the early seventies and chances are they’ll tell you that trends come and go. It is a fact of life, and while that piece of information may apply to bellbottoms and platform shoes, the same can be said about technology. A constantly evolving collection of machines, systems, tools and techniques, technology has spawned a slew of crazes including the 3D revolution. What once began with simple glasses boasting red and blue lenses has now generated three-dimensional films, video games, flat-screen television sets and an array of movies. However, has America outgrown the 3D fad?

It certainly seems that way. According to, theatrical 3D could be on the way out the door. It’s no secret that the cost of movies has gone up. With the economy being what it is, it isn’t surprising that some individuals are opting to stick to two-dimensional motion pictures as opposed to their 3D counterparts. After all, 3D movies cost more to see than the standard 2D ones. Then there are the shoddy effects to take into consideration.

Not every film released in 3D was shot in 3D and it shows especially when explosions, bullets and careening strollers fail to jump out at the audience. According to Entertainment Weekly, 3D movie sales were down last summer. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides earned just 46 percent of its $90.2 million opening from 3D screenings. Furthermore, Kung Fu Panda 2’s 3D showings accounted for a sad 45 percent of its $60.9 million debut. Lower sales of 3D movies led to shares dropping in RealD, the technology company responsible for designing those nifty glasses for cinemas…glasses that can give some individuals a headache. Could that be another reason for the sales drop?

Migraines aside, 3D is still regarded as an impressive technology. But how does it work?

Well, according to, 3D is generally achieved by the glasses, anaglyph and polarized glasses to be exact. Anaglyph came first. By projecting a film or video in red and blue, each eye gets a different perspective causing the brain to put the three-dimensional effects together. In recent years, polarized glasses took over. These glasses utilize light by either giving it different orientations or simply polarizing it. While one image may be able to be projected in a vertical polarization for one eye, the other can be horizontal in the other. Sound tricky? It is.

However, it isn’t just the glasses that create the 3D effect. Information found on states that geometry and precision play a key role in changing something from 2D to 3D. Furthermore, when it comes to shooting a three-dimensional movie, filmmakers generally need two versions of the same scene shot with the exact same angle in addition to triangulating the distance between the cameras and making sure they are focused on the same shot.

As remarkable as all of this sounds, is it still enough to keep the 3D fad going? One could argue that it is. There are a slew of 3D video games on the market now, but how are they doing in terms of sales? reported that Nintendo recently dropped the price of its 3DS, a portable 3D gaming console, by 30 percent in an effort to sale more devices. However, insiders at Bloomberg believe it isn’t enough to help the company meet its sales expectations. Furthermore, it also doesn’t help that 3DS games usually cost around $40.

Economical? You be the judge.

While 3D films and video games have seen significant drops, 3D televisions haven’t exactly had better luck. According to, 3D TV sales have been progressively dropping. Some are even calling it one of the single worst misjudgments of consumer interest. Despite lowering the prices, manufacturers such as Sony, Toshiba and Samsung  just aren’t selling a lot of 3D TVs.  In addition to this, Nielsen studies showed that 30 percent of adults exposed to 3D television sets said they were not likely to purchase one in the future. Ouch.

So, with that being said and done, is it safe to say that the end of three-dimensional entertainment is near? One can never tell. Theme parks such as Disney World and Universal Studios utilize three-dimensional technologies in several of their attractions. Perchance 3D works on a larger scale and not in the comfort of one’s home. Perhaps in a world of escalating gas prices and a higher cost of living, the 3D trend just doesn’t fit. After all, fads do come and go.

It doesn’t take 3D glasses to see that.

– Jaylen Christie

What do you think about the 3D fad? Are you for it or against it? Let us know at our Facebook Page, our Twitter, or by sounding off in the comments below!


  1. As I state here in my blog: I am simply not compatible with the 3D tech so I don’t watch anything in 3D nor will I buy anything 3D as it would be wasted on me.

    I somewhat think they are missing the point. What makes a good special effect is one that you never think about or notice because you are too involved in the story and characters of the movie. A crappy movie made in 3D is still a crappy movie.

    Also, there are a lot of people that wear glasses just to see. Who wants to fool around wearing 3D glasses on top of regular glasses?

    I’m not against 3D tech, I’m just biologically incompatible. I’m all for them pursuing the technology as it might be a stepping stone to an actual holo-deck type experience. :)

    • Jaylen C. says:

      “A crappy movie made in 3D is still a crappy movie.” Truer words have never been spoken. I think 3D works at theme parks. I can’t get enough of it there. However, I was never too big on 3D television sets and films. It’s just a fad that I never caught on to. Do you see 3D lasting longer or do you believe the demise is near?

  2. 3D movies give me a headache and nausea. These don’t mix with popcorn and a Cherry Coke. So do these ones shot with a shaky camera like Blair Witch and Cloverfield. I hope that cinematic genre goes away as well.

  3. Jessie Christie Sr. says:

    I think the cost of filming a movie in 3D is the main reason the film makers will stop shooting in 3D. I like HD.

  4. Brenda Christie says:

    Thanks again Jaylen for another great article!! I perfer to watch movies in HD and am not a fan of 3D. As long as the movie is good, 3D doesn’t matter. It is also costly to film in 3D. I agree with you that 3D will soon be out of the door!!

  5. I’m sort of on the fence with this one. While I do wear glasses, and Mark makes a fantastic point, I switch to contacts when it comes to 3d movies. Some can be good and other I just can’t find a reason for it. Tangled was a GREAT 3D movie. Jackass 3 was a great 3D movie. Lion King 3D? What was the point? To see a few birds fly at yo? Because that was all that was 3D. Step up 3D, great 3D use. I think it all depends on what you see. Movies with too much action and are too long can be aggravting but there are movies with just the right formula for the 3D effects and with that said, I can appreciate it. At least they are trying to be a bit more entertaining and kids LOVE 3D. We are in a new age and while in new age, more things will come up that demand a change in entertainment. Look at Augmented Reality…talk against 3D when you’ve seen that! It’s downright cool!

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