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3D Film: Is The Fad Over?

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Is 3D film just a gimmick that's run its course? A new survey that tracks year-on-year viewing rates and attitude would suggest so. Two-thirds of teenagers are turned off by 3D films and film-goers are 7 times less likely to see a film in 3D instead of in 2D, than they were at this time last year. 3D film is only at the beginning of its revival, yet already it is losing favour.

Research firm Ipsos Mori found that only 29% of 13-17 year olds rated a 3D film as excellent down from 48% in 2010. This year just 28% of women aged 18-34 say the same, down from 41% this time last year.

A spokesperson for the researcher, Ipsos MediaCT, said: “Cinema goers are feeling the financial squeeze just as much as any one else, 3D does seem to appeal to the younger generation and, a bonus to cinema owners, consumers now expect and will pay a premium for the privilege. Technology alone cannot revive the romanticism of the cinema. 3D films are less popular amongst young women and could end the cliché of teenagers kissing in the back rows. This could be due to a majority of 3D films being action movies proving that the story is still key. A 3D film may look pretty, but it needs substance too if it is to revive cinema’s fortunes.”

This survey of 1700 people, or .003 of the UK population suggests that those surveyed have had it with the gimmick of 3D film. When it was initially launch, many criticised it as an unnecessary throwback to the 1950s. These figures suggest that the medium has not delivered as mind-blowing an experience as film-goers expect.

Those who actually make it to the cinema expect to and will spend more on a 3D ticket. Over 54% of people expect to pay an extra £2-3 for a 3D ticket compared to 40% at this time last year. The good news for 3D cinema owners is that most, 62%, are happy to do so. The bad news, that's 62% of a much smaller number of viewers.

The BFI, which runs the BFI IMAX screen, says there is a decline in 3D film-viewing, but suggests that viewers are simply expecting more, rather than rejecting the medium. Nation-wide figures from the BFI show that in the first half of 2011, 22 3D films grossed £144.8 million, and in the last half of 2010, 21 3D films were shown and took in £230.4 million.

Nick Maine, Research Executive at BFI said: "Some people have been asking if the 3D bubble has burst as the percentage of takings from 3D screens has dropped in recent months. We are not sure this conclusion can be drawn from the figures we have. Anecdotal evidence, which looks plausible from our data, is that audiences are becoming more choosy about the films they decide to see in 3D, and are probably going less to see films just for the 3D novelty value. Where the 3D effect is a major part of the viewing experience (for example Street Dance, Cave of Forgotten Dreams or the TT3D, the documentary of the Isle of Man TT races), the proportion of the box office taken at 3D screens remains high."

So what do 3D film-makers need to do to win us over before the re-birth of 3D film dies a death of attrition? Well, make some revolutionary breakthroughs in the technology used to film and screen the pictures, according to one HuffPost blogger.

Read more about what viewers should be demanding from 3D films right here.

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Filed by Melanie Hick