'Gravity' Was No Magic Bullet for 3-D Cinema
Not even the massive success of 'Gravity' was enough to pull the 3-D business out of its black hole.
The Sandra Bullock sci-fi drama, with its long tracking shots of astronauts orbiting in deep space, set records for 3-D ticket sales when it was released in October. That was supposed to translate into a change of pace for RealD Inc., the film industry's chief supplier of 3-D technology and the main beneficiary of solid 3-D ticket sales.
But the Beverly Hills-based company posted another quarterly loss on Wednesday for the three months when 'Gravity' did most of its business. The movie's success helped boost RealD's revenue, but not enough to push the company into the black.
RealD announced a net loss of $271,000, or one cent a share, compared to the loss of $4.2 million a year earlier. Revenue for the quarter was $55.4 million, up from $46.9 million.
The results highlight the new normal of the 3-D business, which has slumped so low that not even a blockbuster like 'Gravity' can compensate for poor performance elsewhere. When 'Gravity' opened in October, a sky-high 80% of its opening-weekend tickets were sold for 3-D showings -- far outpacing the 40% seen for most 3-D releases last year. Three-D ticket sales have consistently fallen since 2010, when the record-setting receipts of James Cameron's 'Avatar' filled the marketplace with other movies trying to cash in on the craze.
But in the years since, audience's appetite for 3-D has declined rapidly. When 'Gravity' performed exceptionally well, RealD and executives in Hollywood said it was because the scale and quality of the movie fit the souped-up format and price jump. The movie has grossed $264 million from domestic theaters so far.
RealD, for its part, has tried to trim expenses and find business outside traditional moviegoing. The company announced in November it was laying off 20% of its workforce, bringing its headcount down to 140 workers. The firm has also ramped up efforts in 2-D and 3-D consumer products to try to find cash outside of the movie theater.
Despite the falling 3-D ticket sales, around 30 movies will be released in the format this year, including major releases like 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' and 'Transformers: Age of Extinction.' The next 3-D release, 'The Lego Movie,' comes out on Friday.
这部由桑德拉•布洛克(Sandra Bullock)主演、远景呈现宇航员悬浮于太空的科幻大片自去年10月上映以来创下了3-D电影的票房纪录。RealD公司(RealD Inc.)作为向电影行业提供3-D技术的主要供应商以及3-D电影票房卖座的主要受益人，理应能借《地心引力》成功扭转颓势。
尽管3-D影片票房下跌，但今年仍将有大概30部3-D影片上映，包括大片《X战警：逆转未来》(X-Men: Days of Future Past)和《变形金刚4：绝迹重生》(Transformers: Age of Extinction)。最新3-D电影《乐高大电影》(The Lego Movie)将于周五上映。