Box office reports deliver more bad news for 3D movies

The performance of 3D movies over the typically busy Memorial Day weekend did little to counter recent arguments that they were becoming too big a focus for filmmakers and theaters despite consumers clearly not feeling the same way. If anything, some believe the less-than-stellar numbers put up by both new and previously released 3D films speaks to a growing ambivalence to the format by theatergoers who either dislike the attached premium price or are clued in to Hollywood's less-than-honest 2D-to-3D conversion process. Or perhaps it's a combination of both.

Though the holiday weekend delivered record numbers for theater owners said Home Media Magazine, the debut of "Kung Fu Panda 2" and continued performance of other recently released 3D blockbusters - such as "Thor" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" - combined to paint an unimpressive picture for the format. Indeed, the site divulged that "Kung Fu Panda 2" delivered the weakest 3D turnout since 2010s "Despicable Me" - garnering a lower-than-expected $68 million.

Meanwhile, Box Office Mojo reported that while "Kung Fu Panda 2" couldn't match the original's opening weekend success, another sequel hoarded ticket sales. "The Hangover Part II" made around $137 million in its first five days, said the site. Its predecessor in comparison earned $45 million during its opening weekend.

The weak performance of 3D movies in theaters when compared to their 2D counterparts is also telling. Richard Greenfield, an analyst with BTIG Research, pointed out last week that the opening of "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" in 3D resulted in less than half of its overall ticket sales. In light of recent news, he reiterated that the mix of higher prices and consumer disinterest has created a recipe for failure.

Still, Greenfield sees some hope for 3D, predicting that "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" may perform the opposite of other recent films. And contrary to the apparent declining desire to watch 3D films in theaters, new studies predict that 3D could find success in homes as 3D TV prices drop and more content is made available. (Via Home Media Magazine)

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