'Overhyped' 3D films fall flat with cinema audiences


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Cinemagoers believe 3D films are an overhyped gimmick and add little to the experience of a trip to the movies, according to a poll showing the format is failing to win over audiences.

Just 22 per cent of film fans believe 3D improves the experience of going to the cinema according to a YouGov survey, while 28 per cent feel it makes no difference – and 19 per cent think it actually makes it worse.

The poll adds weight to an increasing sense that the technology faces an uncertain future, despite a 3D re-release of Disney's 1994 film The Lion King topping the US box office for a second weekend in a row, and the continued support from director James Cameron. He intends to release two sequels to his groundbreaking 3D film Avatar, the biggest-grossing movie of all time, and is also re-releasing previous record-holder Titanic in the format next year.

Of those polled, only 10 per cent more people said they would watch a film in 3D rather than conventional 2D if given the choice, while almost half said the hype surrounding the technology is merely a phase that will pass, in contrast to just 17 per cent who disagreed. Almost twice as many people – 41 per cent to 22 per cent – said they felt 3D is a "gimmick" and does not improve film.

The research dashes the hopes of cinema chains who had banked on the technology maintaining audience numbers. In August, Cineworld blamed a 42 per cent fall in profits on fewer 3D movies being released.

Charlotte Jones, a senior cinema analyst with IHS Screen Digest, said: "Some of the studios have looked at 3D as a bit of a cash cow. Where it has been used as tokenistic, gratuitous 3D, I think that has alienated some audiences. But I think the studios have realised that, so I do expect 3D to regain its credibility.

"You've got Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese – some of the all-time greats – with projects yet to come."