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History repeats itself as previously enamored U.S. audiences begin to reject 3-D films

3-D technology was wildly popular in the early 1950s - but then it tanked. It's no wonder that over the past few years movie studios sought to squeeze more money from audiences by releasing a spate of mostly throwaway big picture movies in 3-D. It's worked thus far, but history has a funny way of repeating itself and new data shows that it is likely happening to the current 3-D trend.

Movie studios would like audiences to believe that 3-D technology enhances the movie-going experience, and they could have a point. One must look no further than the 2009 cinematic masterpiece "My Bloody Valentine 3D," and the erotic period drama, " 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy ," to literally see the benefits firsthand.

Though American audiences largely embraced the format in recent years, the tide appears to be changing. For example, the latest "Pirates of the Caribbean" installment disappointed with only 47 percent of tickets from its $90.2 million weekend booty coming from 3-D purchases. So-called "event films" tend to do more than 60 percent of their business in 3-D.

What's more, 3-D tickets accounted for only 45 percent of Memorial Day weekend release "Kung Fu Panda 2." Meanwhile, " The Hangover Part II ," which avoided the 3-D fad, opened to a staggering $103.4 million last weekend. BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield affirmed that U.S. audiences are shifting their tastes away from 3-D.

"The American consumer is rejecting 3-D," Greenfield said of the tepid results of recent 3-D films.

Still, international audiences continue to embrace 3-D films, where they remain a novelty. "3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy" recently opened to $360,000 on its first day in Hong Kong, vaulting it past fellow 3-D picture "Avatar" to claim the record for the biggest single-day gross in film history there.

Audiences were obviously only interested in the movie's plot.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.