When the film industry was first challenged by the invention of television, gimmicks such as “smell-o-vision” and cheesy movies like The Tingler with its vibrating theatre seats were created to bring Americans back to the movies and out of their living rooms. With several years of economic difficulties for citizens and thus a decrease in cinema sales, film has been using 3-D movies to recuperate some of their diminishing financial gains. According to The Los Angeles Times, theatre sales in both the United States and Canada are down a staggering 20 percent from March 2011 to March 2010. Perhaps this is a signal that movie go-ers aren’t fans of paying 17 dollars to watch a film with a pair of slightly nauseating glasses on their face for 90 minutes. I know all the arguments in favor of this “movement.” It projects a better picture for audiences to enjoy, inverses people into the film more due to the feeling of being “right in the action” and whatnot, but I’d much rather go back to paying eight or nine dollars and leave the glasses at the door; or you know, in the garbage. As The Guardian’s Cory Doctorow wrote when reviewing Disney’s Up a few years back: “If the movie couldn’t be properly enjoyed in boring old 2D, the economics of filmmaking would collapse. So no filmmaker can afford to make a big-budget movie that is intended a 3D-only experience, except as a vanity project.” There are few upgrades in picture quality and there’s no real way to justify having to pay almost double the usual ticket price to watch a film that may or may not be worth that kind of money. Film creators like Disney and Paramount pictures have also used the ticket price hike to cash in on previously successful titles, like Lion King and Titanic. Those are both great titles and have rightfully earned their cult-like fandom over the decades, but bringing them back into the movie theatres is a cheap attempt at cashing in on these devoted fans. For years I’ve heard the argument that the “Disney Vault” and upcoming “Harry Potter Vault” is just a cruel attempt by the company to continue to make money by releasing movies from the vault for a limited time, for the simple goal of trying to make even more money off films that already made them truckloads of money in the past. It’s understandable that the industry is trying to recuperate losses, especially when it’s experiencing the worst financial slump in 16 years, according to the Times, you can’t expect moviegoers to come back to the cinemas when you’re charging double the price tag using cheap parlor tricks on screen. It didn’t work back in the 1930s and it isn’t working in 2012. The 3D experiment will be over soon enough.
About Alex Hall
I'm the Editor-In-Chief of The Suffolk Journal. I'm currently a Dallas Cowboys featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a high school sports correspondent for The Boston Globe. I like to yell at the TV during Cowboys games and hats of defunct sports teams.
April 11, 2012