7 Unexpected Side Effects of the 3D Movie Craze

There are few people who remember the 3D movie craze of the 1950’s and the 1980’s who would have thought the current 3D craze would have dragged on for so long. In the past 3D movies were always seen as  clever novelty’s which gave the audience the occasional chance to see something fly out the screen at their face. Such novelties have always been very short lived but the current boom is showing little sign of going away.


Studios are investing millions in making 3D movies and the technology behind them continues to improve at a very fast pace. Other than the technology behind 3D this current 3D boom has brought around a whole host of unexpected side effects that fly right out the screen and towards your face.

1 – A Whole New Niche in the Technology Industry Has Been Created

Samsung's 3D plasma television.

The biggest difference between the current boom in 3D movies and the 3D movies of the past is the technology behind it. 30 years ago a simple pair of red and blue glasses were all you needed but now things are a lot different. Nowadays one of the biggest changes in 3D technology is the 3D rendering software and digital image-capturing techniques all of which are many light years ahead of where they were in the 1980’s.

In today’s fast moving technological world we no longer need to rely on red and blue glasses to make things fly out of the screen towards your face. There are new companies popping up all of the time each offering a different and better way for you to experience 3D.

At the time of writing this Real D is the dominant format in 3D but new technology such as that offered by 3ality and Pace are in hot pursuit. Pace is actually the company that produced the Fusion cameras which James Cameron used for Avatar. They are also currently in the process of developing some pretty awesome 3D technology which can produce rich 3D landscapes and renderings you won’t believe.

2- 3D Has Created a New Price Point For Movies.


Once upon a time cinemas did not charge moviegoers anything extra to watch a 3D movie. Nowadays this has all changed and although everyone complains about this there is little chance of cinemas dropping the premium rate for 3D movies while you are still shelling out your hard earned cash. It is quite obvious to all involved that many of today’s movies are billed as 3D just for the sake of being 3D and charging you a premium rate.

It would be easy for us to sit and imagine those wealthy cinema owners laughing their way to the bank with our hard earned money but the cinemas are actually getting screwed in a big way by Hollywood movie studios. Since there is a lot of competing 3D technology available to film makers it is necessary for them to license their technology. This extra cost is quickly passed on to the cinemas that must have the latest technology to play such movies.

3 – Cinemas Have Spent a Small Fortune Upgrading their Technology


When movies first discovered the joy which is Dolby Surround Sound they were forced to shell out for the upgrade of their sound systems. Today, cinemas are having to convert their standard screens a projectors to accommodate 3D movie technology and you can bet your first born that Hollywood is not paying for these 3D conversions. It costs a cinema in the region of $75,000 to convert just one screen so you can quickly imagine how much your local cinema with several screens has been forced to shell out.

I am sure there are many of you sat reading this wondering why you cannot just show a 3D movie on the normal 2D screen that you have been watching ever since you can remember but it is not quite as simple as this. Originally cinemas were happy to run with only one 3D capable cinema screen but that was when there was only one 3D film released every 3 months. In recent years, as we have already mentioned, nearly every movie that is released is in 3D even if it is just in 3D for the sake of being in 3D. This has meant cinemas have been required to convert more and more of their screens just to keep up with the huge demand. The resultant expense (often in the millions) has to be recovered somehow and this is why 3D movies cost more than a 2D movie.

4 – Screenplays Are Written and Pitched Differently


Regardless of how good or bad a movie is the price or a ticket will always remain the same which has led to many screenwriters, especially those trying to break into the business, realising that they have a much better chance of success if they can come up with and pitch a 3D specific project.

You need to look no further than the remake of the 1978 gore filled movie, Piranha to see this in action. The remake, creatively named Piranha 3D, probably would have had every producer in Hollywood running for cover had it being pitched as a 2D movie. Throw in a few big breasted women in bikinis, a few killer fish and wrap it up in 3D and you have a movie making 83 million dollars. Would it have made so much money if it was only a 2D movie?

5 – It Is Hurting Our Vision More than We Realise.


Ever since its conception 3D has been known as a strain on the eyes. As the technology improves over the years everyone seems to think this eye strain will get less and less but there is a good chance that new technology just means that our eyes are getting screwed up in new ways.

The big problem with current 3D technology is that it forces your eyes to constantly adjust in ways that they were never meant to in the natural world. Film editor Walter Murch has said the problem with 3D technology is that it forces our eyes to focus on one point and converge at another, constantly changing series of points.

There is nothing found in our natural world that would ever make or has ever made our eyes perform like this before.

6 – 3D Helps Diagnose Vision Problems


It is a proven fact that nothing messes around with your eyes and causes problems quite like a 3D movie. People who struggle to see a 3D image in the cinema are often suffering from one or more vision problem that they are probably not even aware of.

The main problem for people who cannot see a 3D image is a lack of binocular vision (the ability to put two images together to make one). This can mean you may have a problem with your eyes coverage or a lazy eye. Neither of these are serious and can be sorted out and fixed by an optometrist.

7 – Older Movies Are Being Rereleased in 3D


It does not cost a lot of money for a movie studio to carry out a cheap 3D conversion on an old movie and then rerelease it. Even if a movie has being sitting around doing nothing for years it is really easy and cheap for it to be rereleased.

We have seen movies such as Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace and various Pixar and Disney movies rereleased and there are plans for the likes of Jurassic Park and Top Gun to get the 3D treatment.

In most of these cases a movie studio is able to technically release the same movie twice and reap the financial reward for doing so only without the initial cost or financial risk. This financial risk is nearly non-existent with some classic movies which are so loved they will never fail.

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