Back when Monsters vs. Aliens opened in March, a majority of the film’s somewhat surprising $58.3 million opening weekend gross came from theaters showing the film in 3-D. This proved to be good news for both Hollywood studios and multiplex owners, as it demonstrated that consumers were willing to shell out an average of $3.18 more for the privilege of seeing a film while wearing a pair of black-rimmed glasses. However, as Ben Fritz of the Los Angeles Times reports, it looks as if Joe Moviegoer’s appetite to seek out a film playing in a 3-D theater is lessening.
Fritz took a look at five movies that major studios have released this year on both traditional two-dimension screens and the pricier 3-D screens and noticed the ratio of ticket sales between these two options is dropping. For example, when My Bloody Valentine 3-D opened in January, the ticket sales for the 3-D version of the film were 6.4x higher than the plain ole 2-D film. But when Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs opened last weekend, that ratio fell to 1.4x. This can’t come as great news to studios, who are already kind of pissed that they’re on the hook to pay for the special glasses. And while it’s far too early to tell if the massive investment that studios and exhibitors are putting forward to equip theaters with 3-D projection equipment was a wise one, one thing is certain: When it comes to delivering the most bang for your pants-shitting buck, 3-D sure seems to be the way to go.