The chatter over 3-D has reached a fever pitch now that it’s Hollywood’s favorite toy. Some love it, others wish it would go the way of Smell-O-Vision. But beyond the anecdotal evidence, few have analyzed consumer attitudes toward 3-D. Thanks to research firm Ipsos OTX and its survey of 25,000 moviegoers, we now know a bit more. President Vincent Bruzzese shared his findings at online publication The Wrap’s inaugural conference TheGrill, held Tuesday in Los Angeles. His primary conclusion is that the wrong movies are being made in 3-D.
The top genres moviegoers want to see in 3-D are fantasy, action, sci-fi, and adventure. Yet these genres comprise only 20 percent of the movies being made in the extra dimension. And while young children enjoy 3-D, ill-fitting glasses has made watching those 3-D movies an incredible inconvenience for parents. Bruzzese, whose firm provides film tracking data to all the major studios, argues that the high-grossing summer family films Toy Story 3 and Despicable Me would have done just as much business had they not been in 3-D.
Also surprising in his findings is Bruzzese’s conclusion that the majority of the moviegoers really like things popping out at them when watching a 3-D movie, even though many 3-D evangelists say it is best used when it services the story by enhancing the experience, not simply creating sensational moments. (Bruzzese’s study also concludes that there is no Twitter effect on films as a factor to whether they perform well in theaters. “People talk face to face,” he said. “They just get it faster now.”)
One thing’s for sure: In the wake of Avatar‘s game-changing run this year, studios and filmmakers will continue to explore how to best exploit 3-D’s capabilities. It will be interesting to see what projects get chosen to that end — and whether any trends can be spotted in those that come closest to matching James Cameron’s epic success.