Is 3D really the next wave in filmmaking?

Question: Is 3D really the next wave in filmmaking?

Answer: No.

Prior to 1966, some studio films were made in color; many were still made in black and white. After that year, however, ALL studio films had to be made in color. Why? Color TV saturation had reached fifty percent of households. Movie sales to TV represented a substantial portion of the profit for films, and studios calculated that audiences with color TV sets wouldn’t watch a movie in black and white. It was, therefore, nothing about film or audiences but technological changes in another medium, television, that drove film to color.

Today we’re dealing with 3D. When will all movies be produced in 3D? Not too soon. I predict it will occur when holographic moving images, which require no glasses, can be projected. It will, again, not be public preferences that cause the change but technological advances.

Successful 3D movies (for example Up) succeed not because of the gimmicks of their look but the brilliance of their writing. The Toy Story franchise (3D and 2D) was launched not on the basis of the then-new clever animation techniques from Pixar but the brilliant writing. For all their superficial fun and sizzle and dazzle, they are essentially well scripted tales that probe deeply into the nature of existence and identity. I expect that, as in the ‘50s (the last time there was a surge of 3D fare) a number of films now being produced in 3D will be released in 2D, as the fad will by that time (perhaps less than a year from now) have been revealed to be just that: a fad. Audiences are not stupid; they’re smart. They seek not special effects and upscale imagery so much as worthy stories.

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