×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

3D Box Office Hits Lowest Levels in Eight Years

Moviegoers are putting down the colored glasses.

Box office revenues for 3D films in the U.S. and Canada fell 18% in 2017 to $1.3 billion, according to a new report by the Motion Picture Association of America. That’s the worst showing in eight years, and a steep drop off from the $2.2 billion in revenues generated by 3D films in 2010, the year when “Avatar” generated a substantial amount of its box office grosses and helped kick off a revival of the format.

The declines accompany a larger drop in the domestic box office. Overall revenues fell roughly 2% in 2017 to $11.1 billion. The foreign box office, however, grew, hitting a record $40.6 billion.

The popularity of 3D and large screen releases varied by age group. They were most popular with moviegoers between the ages of 12 to 17, with consumers in that demographic seeing an average of 3.8 movies in 3D or large screen formats such as IMAX. Audiences over 60 saw the fewest number of 3D or large format films, averaging 2.8 films.

Since “Avatar,” 3D has seen its fortunes fall dramatically. There were gripes about hasty and shoddy 3D conversions of films such as “Clash of the Titans” and gripes about the higher price of tickets. Some filmmakers, such as Alfonso Cuaron (“Gravity”) and Martin Scorsese (“Hugo”), have experimented with the technology to critical acclaim, but it’s been awhile since an A-list filmmaker has publicly embraced the possibilities of 3D. That could change with the release of an “Avatar” sequel in 2020.

As 3D has become less in demand, movie theaters have pulled back their investments. The number of digital 3D screens increased just a percentage point in 2017. Studios have also been more conservative about greenlighting 3D films. The number of 3D releases in 2017 dropped 15% to 44. The previous year, there were 52 3D films.

More Film

  • Aquaman 2018

    'Aquaman' Crosses $250 Million at Foreign Box Office

    Things are going swimmingly at the box office for “Aquaman” as the Warner Bros.’ superhero flick hits another major milestone overseas. James Wan’s take on the ruler of the seven seas just passed $250 million internationally, and a weekend haul of $126.4 million from 43 territories brings its foreign tally to $261.3 million. “Aquaman” — [...]

  • Mortal Engines

    'Mortal Engines' to Lose More Than $100 Million at Box Office

    “Mortal Engines,” a steampunk fantasy adventure, is also an epic flop. With a budget of just over $100 million and tens of millions in global marketing costs, executives at rival studios estimate that the movie will lose upwards of $100 million. Some even project that number could float to more than $125 million. “Mortal Engines” [...]

  • Thierry Frémaux, José Luis Rebordinos Honored

    Thierry Frémaux, José Luis Rebordinos Named Honorary Argentine Academy Members

    BUENOS AIRES — In a ceremony just before Friday’s prize announcements at Ventana Sur, Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux and José Luis Rebordinos, director of the San Sebastian Festival, were named honorary members of Argentina’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in a new move for the Academy, out through by its new president, Bernardo [...]

  • Nona

    Film Review: 'Nona'

    Twenty years and 12 features down the line, it’s still hard to peg the directorial sensibility of Michael Polish, with or without the presence of brother Mark as frequent co-writer and actor. His output has been all over the place, from early Lynchian quirkfests to the very middle-of-the-road inspirational dramedy “The Astronaut Farmer,” not to [...]

  • Pawel Pawlikowski "Cold War"

    Pawel Pawlikowski's 'Cold War' Wins for Best Film, Director at European Film Awards

    “Cold War,” Pawel Pawlikowski’s black-and-white romance set in the 1950s, scooped the prizes for best film, director and screenplay at the 31st edition of the European Film Awards on Saturday. “Cold War” star Joanna Kulig also won the award for best actress. Marcello Fonte, the star of Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” won for best actor. Armando Iannucci’s [...]

  • The Favourite Bohemian Rapsody Star is

    The Best Movie Scenes of 2018

    When we think back on a movie that transported us, we often focus on a great scene — or maybe the greatest scene — in it. It’s natural. Those scenes are more than just defining. They can be the moment that lifts a movie into the stratosphere, that takes it to the higher reaches of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content