Showbiz Sandbox 213: Has Thor Brought The Hammer Down On 3D Movies?

November 11, 2013


There is no disputing the financial success of “Thor: The Dark World”, a sequel in the franchise based on the Marvel Comics superhero. What’s less clear is what the film’s box office grosses say about the adoption of 3D. During opening weekend 700 2D screens in North America accounted for 60% of tickets sales, as opposed to the 40% earned by 3,100 3D screens. Is this yet another sign audiences have given up on 3D movies?

Netflix doesn’t care how you see a superhero movie, so long as you’re watching it through their service. Last week the on-demand video powerhouse cut a deal with Disney to produce four new original series based on Marvel superheroes, all of which will lead up to a crossover miniseries.

As if competing with Netflix wasn’t bad enough, television broadcasters are still figuring out how to deal with DVRs and the growing number of audiences who time shift their content. One major broadcast network is pushing for advertisers to pay for increased viewership on DVRs for up to seven days after a show originally airs.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news stories including the death of Blockbuster Video, the official release date for “Star Wars: Episode VII” and Richard Branson brings reality television into space.


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  • mgiltz

    3-D is dead on a regular basis. A few times a year, marquee movies that work hard on their 3-D — like Gravity and The Hobbit and Avatar 2-4 — will draw audiences in droves. But when you make a lot more money on Thor 2 with 700 2-D screens than with 3100 screens in 3-D, the audience is speaking loud and clear. Studios and theaters will wise up soon or pay the price. Why make it hard for families to find animated films in 2-D when most kids hate the glasses?

  • Nick Dager

    As you say correctly, what’s less clear is what Thor’s box office grosses say about the adoption of 3D, which has clearly stalled. I don’t think we’ll have that clear answer until glassless 3D displays are widely available for consumers. If the public embraces those, the creative community will have the incentive to produce in 3D. If that doesn’t happen, the 3D naysayers will likely be proven right.

  • Nick, if autostereoscopic displays become commonplace in the home, would that not have a negative affect on 3D in the cinema? If I can watch 3D at home without glasses, why would I go to the theater where I’d have wear glasses to view such content?

    Or, were you suggesting that autostereoscopic technology would be present for both cinema and the home?