Danny Boyle sees the end of 3D movies in sight as Shropshire cinemas reveal audience drop

Oscar-winning movie director Danny Boyle thinks 3D films could soon be on their way out – and Shropshire cinema audiences appear to agree.

Boyle, who won a best director Academy Award for Slumdog Millionaire and masterminded the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, says: “I don’t know if 3D will survive, to be honest. I think it may be a phase.”

If he’s right, it’s bad news for the movie industry’s earnings.

Cinemas charge a premium for watching movies in 3D – £2 at Telford and up to £2.10 in Shrewsbury – with a further charge of up to £1 for a pair of 3D glasses.

And many top directors, such as Avatar’s James Cameron and Lord of the Rings mastermind Peter Jackson, have invested heavily in the assumption that 3D technology is here to stay.


But 56-year-old Boyle, whose latest drama Trance is currently showing, said: “I don’t use 3D. I’m a spectacle wearer, so I hate going to 3D movies because you have to wear two pairs of spectacles, which makes you feel like even more of a prat.

“You know how everybody feels a bit of prat wearing the 3D spectacles – you, as a spectacle wearer, feel a double prat.”

He did concede, however, that there is some ‘extraordinary work’ done in the 3D format, including Ang Lee’s award-winning drama Life of Pi And the pioneering 3D film Avatar.

Shropshire’s two leading cinema chains, Odeon and Cineworld, today admitted that there was a growing trend of viewers choosing to pay less and watch the 2D version of a film, when the two options were available.

And Robert Johnson, who runs the Reels on Wheels cinema service which supplies Shrewsbury’s Old Market Hall as well as venues in Ellesmere and Whitchurch, said: “There is no doubt that the public are getting a bit fed up with it.

“There are cinemas which I supply, who are offered 3D movies but are now asking me if the 2D version if available. At the end of the day, 3D does not make a difference to whether a film is any good or not. And although it is supposed to enhance the viewing experience, people do not want to pay the extra cost. They think it’s a waste of money when the 2D version of a film is perfectly enjoyable.”

Films have existed in 3D format as far back as 1915, but enjoyed their first big rise to prominence in the 1950s, when horrors such as Vincent Price’s House of Wax drew in big audiences.

A second wave followed in the 1980s, when audiences were given disposable cardboard glasses to experience the likes of Jaws 3-D, and sequels to the Amityville and Friday the 13th franchises.

Movie studios are desperate for 3D not to lose its appeal. Nine of the top 15 grossing films last year were in 3D, and Jeff Gomez, boss of Starlight Runner Entertainment, said: “It’s important to remember that 3D does dynamite overseas, accounting for a significant percentage of foreign box office for the studios. I don’t think the studios will be put off the process any time soon.”

Technology that could lead to the creation of glasses-free 3D films at cinemas has actually been developed by researchers in South Korea.

It uses a barrier with slats so that when a viewer looks at the screen, each of their eyes sees the image differently creating an illusion of depth.

It’s a long way from being rolled out worldwide, but experts say it is viable method.

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Comments for: "Danny Boyle sees the end of 3D movies in sight as Shropshire cinemas reveal audience drop"


I'm with Danny on this. I'm all for pushing technological boundaries, but not at the expense of quality. Despite their claims to the contrary, directors just can't help themselves and they end up creating scenes that - in their minds - look great in 3D, when they ought to be concentrating on the basics.

The reliance on 3D effects (and OTT special effects in general) does nothing to improve a poorly directed film with a poorly written screenplay. And if it's a well directed film with a well written screenplay, it doesn't need gimmicks.

Also, as a non-specs wearer, donning a pair of 3D glasses gives me an instant headache.

After watching Avatar in 3D I decided that it wasn't for me. Then again, it wasn't helped by the fact that Avatar was a predictable film with a lame plot.


However, I've seen this same argument through out the last five years. 3d is on it's last legs, it will be gone within six months, and here are all the reasons why. Yet here we are these years later and it was not gone within the next six months. So I'm not holding my breath on this guys prediction either. I also notice he is a little trepidacious to strongly say it is gone. He is kind of like "well I think it might be sort of kind of coming to an end." Yeah whatever, like I've said, I've heard this before about a 1,000 times.