In 2009, only about 40 percent of the screens playing James Cameron's Avatar were equipped for 3D projection—but 3D screenings accounted for 85 percent of that picture's ridiculously massive revenue. Compare that to this summer: The number of 3D screens, and the number of 3D offerings, has dramatically increased, but people aren't nearly as interested in paying the premium for 3D screenings. As Variety points out:

It seems interest for the industry's newest toy—3D—continues to plateau at the multiplexes, driven home by another meh opening 3D perf, with Cars 2 earning just 40 percent from screening in the format. That's low even for family pics, which typically collect a smaller 3D percentage compared to fanboy pics.

Last weekend, Warner Bros.' Green Lantern tallied 45 percent of its opening from 3D; Paramount-DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda 2—the most recent 3D toon to bow prior to Cars 2—debuted with 46 percent from the format, and that was without IMAX. (Toy Story 3 opened around this time last year with 60 percent of its domestic bow from 3D.)

Hollywood—and theaters—have invested heavily in digital projection and 3D. But between higher ticket prices, a shitty economy, and half-assed 3D conversions, this thing is—what's the business term? Trending downward? Dropping off? Doomed to failure?

Which might explain this letter to theater projectionists from Michael Bay. God, I hope he begins all of his letters—hell, all of his conversations—with that first sentence. "Hello I'm Michael Bay, Director of Transformers."


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"People can say whatever they want about my movies, but they are technically precise, and if this isn’t going to be excellent, I don’t want to do it," Bay said about 3D to Deadline last year, so I'm guessing the unspoken subtext of this letter is, "Show my movie right, or I'll blow your house up." Anyway: I'm seeing Transfomers 3 tonight, which I'm pretty goddamn excited about, so here's hoping they've got the lamberts cranked right the fuck up to the ultimate max or whatever.

Via, with thanks to Mike Russell.

SLAY Film Fest
In person at the Clinton St. Theater 10/29 & 10/30