3D's Success Moves Studios to the Next Level

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Includes: DIS, NWS
by: Wall St. Cheat Sheet

Are 2D movies falling down the rabbit hole? In less than 10 weeks, Avatar (Nasdaq: NWS) and now Alice in Wonderland (NYSE: DIS) are using 3D to capture the imagination of movie goers all over the world.

James Cameron and Tim Burton are known for getting ahead of the curve. Is this a strong indicator we will see more studios add an extra dimension to most future films? Given the incredible advancements in home entertainment technology, the answer is “Yes” because movie theaters will need more differentiators like 3D to make films a “must-see” in theaters.

This weekend, Avatar (the highest grossing movie in history) or Up (from Disney) may win a Best Picture Oscar at the Academy Awards. This is a historical moment for 3D. As Avatar director James Cameron said in a recent interview:

“The two best picture nominees that are 3D films, for some reason nobody’s talking about that but it’s a huge moment for the acceptance of 3D,” Cameron said. “It’s not just relegated to a genre ghetto which it has been historically. Originally it was relegated to cheap horror films. Then in the last few years there have been some very fine animated films in 3D but now we’re beyond that to talking about it as something that could be just equitably best picture. I think that’s profound. I think it really is a watershed moment. Whether Up wins or whether Avatar wins or whether either wins, it doesn’t matter because we’re in that group for the first time.”

Not only is this a milestone for 3D insofar as maturity and acceptance, it’s also proof we are inevitably on the road to virtual reality entertainment — an achievement that will keep us dropping $50 to take the family to the cinema.

In the meantime, enjoy those primitive plastic clunkers called “3D glasses” and let some of the greatest artists of our generation take you into another dimension. 2D can wait for the home entertainment center.