Angry Robot

The Second Coming of 3D Film

Here in the NYT is another in a long series of articles heralding 3D filmmaking as a potential saviour for cinemas. CinemaTech mentions:

in 1953, the peak year of the original 3-D boom, there were 23 movies released in 3-D, including ‘House of Wax’ and ‘It Came from Outer Space.’ (I’d be surprised if we see a half-dozen 3-D releases this year from major studios.) By 1955, there was just one movie made in 3-D.

The question is, what’s to save the present recurrence of 3D film from the fate of the original, 50s incarnation? In the Times article, proponents argue that this time around, they have Cameron, Jackson and Spielberg on their side – the A-team of spectacle filmmaking. I’m not so sure that more spectacle is what Hollywood needs, or if it’s even possible. But at least they’re trying. In the 50s, in response to the rapid growth of TV, the film industry evolved many variants in an attempt to differentiate itself. Most failed. (Insert smell-O-vision joke here.) But eventually, film found its place in the ecosystem – albeit a smaller one than it had enjoyed pre-TV. Film will adapt again, but is it too late for the theatres, I wonder? Will TV (in the form of HDTV home theatres) finally eat film?