The Chinese market is very important for American films these days, because without their box office, big movies can’t break even, or turn a profit. Yet now reports tell us 3D has been slowing down in China, which may also signal that the technology’s novelty may finally be wearing off.
As one Fox executive told the industry trade, 3D still does well in China because it is “aggressively programmed, meaning we offer the consumers less of a choice.” And with family animated films in 3D, “people are consuming as a group they are more price sensitive.”
A big problem is the same dilemma that hit the US, is that people are more apt to watch things on mobile devices instead of doing to the theaters. Funny enough, there’s also reportedly “a discerning niche audience” who wants to see high frame rate movies, where the technology has proven a big dud in the states. As the president of Megastar Media, Vietnam’s biggest theatrical exhibitor, said, “We will have twice as many HFR screens as we did for the first Hobbit last year.”
So Asia may be facing the same crisis point we reached in America where the studios have been desperate to bring people back to the theaters. 3D certainly helped for a moment, Imax has proven to have better staying power, and there will continue to be big Imax and 3D movies no matter the state of the market here and overseas.
If 3D does die out in Asia, we’re willing to bet a lot of filmmakers will be very relieved they won’t be forced to convert their movies to the format anymore, but again, the question is, what will keep bringing people back to the theaters? Really good movies would certainly be a great start, no?