The 3D reboot of the Superman franchise MAN OF STEEL, starring Henry Cavill & in cinemas today, is the latest blockbuster to be given a new lease of life thanks to the three-dimensional technology that has taken a fifties novelty, complete with cardboard glasses out of a cereal box, and placed it firmly at the forefront of cinema going.
Spearheaded by such films as James Cameron’s Avatar, the fantasy lands of Alice in Wonderland and Oz: The Great and Powerful, and the plethora of CGI animation, including Ice Age 4, Wreck-It Ralph and The Croods, the art of 3D has finally come of age. Today’s audiences don (at roughly £2 a pop) black plastic ray-ban style specs to experience escalating larger-than-life explosions, natural disasters, other worlds, superheroes and cartoon characters coming straight at ya on state-of-the-art 3D & Imax screens around the country.
But the inflated ticket price to see a 3D movie means a trip to the cinema is no longer a cheap night out. A Saturday afternoon screening at the BFI Imax in London, for instance, will set you back £17.90 a ticket, leaving a hefty dent in the pocket for families. In a ShowFilmFirst survey of 4,724 people just 6.5% stated they weren’t put off by the extra cost of a 3D screening, while a further 29.7% would pay it but only if it was something they REALLY wanted to see. A canny 22% said they saved money by keeping hold of their 3D glasses for next time. Most people (74%) said that they definitely would or might prefer seeing a 3D movie at an Imax rather than on a 3D screen at a local cinema but 15.6% would think twice about seeing a film generally in 3D because of the extra cost and over a quarter (25.3%) would choose to see it in 2D if available instead for that reason.
But not everyone is a fan, with 42% stating they didn’t fancy seeing their film of choice in 3D. This could be down to the fact that some 60% of respondents were women, the majority of whom were aged 26 and above. 3D films lend themselves to spectacle and the kind of movies more popular with male audiences, the huge box office success of the recent Iron Man 3 being a good example. So-called women’s movies, on the other hand, tend to be more plot and dialogue driven, rather than effects laden. When asked what type of movie most benefits from being in 3D, 49% said that animation was best, as opposed to 39% liking action or adventure. 2% opted for musicals.
It seems the female audience is out on 3D, which is the last place the studios and cinemas want them to be. However, as box office figures demonstrate, the 3D market is a lucrative one and the culture is changing, with a trip to see a film at the IMAX an event rather than something to do. The abundance of family oriented 3D films, particularly CGI animation, has still enticed purse string controlling mums to treat the kids during the school breaks, while action, adventure & even the occasional horror remain the staple of a great date movie. With Thor, Spider-Man, The Smurfs and The Hobbit all scheduled to make an appearance in 3D in the coming months, not to mention Avatar 2 AND 3 in production, the challenge is on to persuade female audiences that bigger is better after all!