James Helsby

Pirates had the lowest 3D percentage opening since Avatar, when 3D was new.

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If you take the total box office ticket quantity sales, and divide that by the number of tickets that were for a 3Dhttp://watchplayread.com/wp-admin/media-upload.php?post_id=42618&type=image&TB_iframe=1 screening, Pirates of the Caribean: On Stranger Tides had the lowest percentage in recent history.

At 46%, more than half of all ticket sales were for standard film screens. This is the lowest percentage for a non-family oriented film since Avatar was released, even lower than some of the truely stinky stinkers, like Clash of the Titans. But it poses the question as to whether some studios will start to question the penetration of 3D into the theater market.

Last year, the box office totals for 3D films where of a significant enough amount to off-set the lose in total ticket sales, by the increase in average individual ticket prices. With 3D films costing roughly $2 in addition to the base ticket price, film studios may start to wonder if they have put all their eggs in one basket by so quickly betting upon 3D as being the major source of revenue for up coming films.

According to Variety,

This weekend, the worldwide haul for Disney’s four “Pirates” films crossed $3 billion, making the series one of Hollywood’s most successful franchises. But because “Stranger Tides” is the first “Pirates” pic released in 3D, bizzers questioned whether auds, already comfortable with Johnny Depp in two dimensions, felt the need to shell out extra cash for the 3D premium. (With “Thor,” Paramount introduced a new potential franchise in the 3D format, and 60% of the opening-weekend aud picked the stereoscopic version.)

The important thing to remember, however, is that only a very small number of films released are actually filmed in 3D. The majority, like Pirates, Harry Potter, and the afore mentioned Clash of the Titans were all filmed in standard 2dimensional digital film. After the film has been finalized, it is passed off to a secondary production company who use the film to produce a stereo-scopic 3D film. They digitally take elements of the original, and break apart the image, to create the 3 dimensional effect. That’s why many films like Thor don’t really seem all that 3D, and only have a few moments of out-of-the-screen sequences.

Imagine if it costs $1million to convert a film to 3d. And 1 million 3D tickets are sold, at $2 addition per ticket. Well, that’s $2 million in extra box office revenue. A reduction in the excess overhead cost equates directly to the final box office tally.

So it begs the question of why. Why did Pirates do less than in 3D than it did in 2D. I actually think the answer is pretty simple. Kids. Parents took their kids to go see the movie, and parents have an easier time shelling out an extra $2 for themselves, than $20 for their 10 kids. Maybe not 10 kids, but enough that it is basically like buying another ticket or two. I know I have held off on seeing 3D movies, because I didn’t want to be bothered with trying to keep the glasses on my 3 year old child.


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