Dreamworks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg Laments the Decline in 3D Sales, Blames Everyone Else


If you’ve been reading this site for any length of time, then you already know of my general dislike for all things 3D. I just don’t see the point. Even with a movie like “Avatar”, it does nothing for me. They’re still blue CG people running around on the big screen having tail sex with their environment. The fact that weird alien plant life is also popping out at me makes absolutely no difference.

In recent months, Hollywood-produced 3D movies have taken a bit of a hit at the domestic market. The New York Times recently did a story on it. The Hollywood Reporter has now followed suit with their own story, this one featuring an interview with Dreamworks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg. The big warning bell to the Hollywood suits seems to be the Stateside performances of “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” and “Kung Fu Panda 2″, two films made in (and heavily promoted as) 3D that saw more ticket sales for 2D versions than their 3D counterpart.

According to Katzenberg, the problem isn’t audiences turning away from 3D films in general, it’s all the fault of those bad 3D films trying to cash in on the fad.

I think 3D is right smack in the middle of its terrible twos. We have disappointed our audience multiple times now, and because of that I think there is genuine distrust — whereas a year and a half ago, there was genuine excitement, enthusiasm and reward for the first group of 3D films that actually delivered a quality experience. Now that’s been seriously undermined.

It’s not in any fashion, shape or form the demise of 3D, but until there are 3D experiences that exceed people’s expectations, it’s going to stay challenged.” He predicts that Michael Bay’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” will do just that.

It’s really heartbreaking to see what has been the single greatest opportunity that has happened to the film business in over a decade being harmed. The audience has spoken, and they have spoken really loudly.

Heartbroken or not, ol Katz is still bullish on the technology, and he best be, since pretty much every title his DreamWorks Animation is putting out now and in the foreseeable future will be in 3D. The man has a lot invested in those little fake plastic glasses.

We’re not the problem. We have made five films now in 3D and have built this amazing reservoir of knowledge and tools. Nobody else has made five 3D movies back to back. You can see the quality of the experience increasing with every film. The cost has gone down significantly for us the last three years, and there is still meaningful, incremental profit to us, even though the size of our audience has narrowed. On every account for us, 3D is a win. It’s not nearly as big a win as it should be, and it’s certainly not the win it was headed toward being, and that’s really heartbreaking to me because we have managed to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory as only Hollywood can do.

Of course, Katz and his fellow 3D lovers can also take solace in the fact that while the demand for 3D in the U.S. is declining, it’s growing, and just really getting started, overseas. After all, when you hear about Hong Kong and China and other countries touting their “first ever” native movies in 3D, that sort of gives you an idea of where the trend is now. Which is, the International audience is catching up, and 3D hasn’t even begun to overstay their welcome at the foreign box office yet.

Give it another two or three years, though. When it does finally die, I will dance a jig on its grave while wearing uncomfortable plastic glasses.

Author: Nix

Editor/Writer at BeyondHollywood.com. Likes: long walks on the beach and Kevin Costner post-apocalyptic movies. Dislikes: 3D, shaky cam, and shaky cam in 3D. Got a site issue? Wanna submit Movie/TV news? Or to email me in regards to anything on the site, you can do so at nix (at) beyondhollywood.com.
  • Brian

    3d was cool in Avatar because it was filmed in 3d. Most films now try to film normally and then try to “3d it up” post filming and it comes out looking like dookie or has like two scenes that are actual 3d and the rest is 2d. To me most films are too long to sit with those uncomfortable glasses on for two + hours.

  • Evilloin

    Avatar was all hype… I remember taking those glasses off and thinking, “Is this movie even in 3d?”… Meanwhile, “Shrek Forever After” had, in my opinon, some of the best 3D effects of any movie out at that time. Dreamworks has ALOT invested in 3D cinema. Making movies isn’t about “Your entertainment”, it is a business; Katz has alot to lose should 3D become a thing of the past… again.

  • Danmillion99

    3D is the stupidest gimmick ever, the 3D glasses alone make people look like complete and utter brainwashed fools! Or like lab monkeys being programmed with the latest in subliminal messaging! I think people in the movie industry who call the shots on what people what should be told that 3D is a BIG WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY, and what people really want is BETTER MOVIES TO BE MADE, WITH BETTER STORIES!!! Is it THAT HARD TO UNDERSTAND??? I’m sorry, but seeing a flying dragon in 3D, or a bullet shot from a gun is slow motion in 3D is NOT EXCITING or INSPIRING in anyway shape or form!!! I cannot wait to see the back of 3D, and hopefully it’ll fall off a cliff edge and never be seen again!