'Avengers: Endgame' taught us something really important about 3D ticket sales

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“Studios used to report the 3D percentage in the opening weekend tell-all and they rarely do that now because there is no reason to report it because it’s so dismal,” Jeff Bock, senior analyst at Exhibitor Relations, said.

Once considered pure spectacle, 3D has lost its luster with audiences. Not only are the plastic glasses uncomfortable, but the 3D elements aren’t always purposeful. In many cases, the technology is an afterthought and the films are converted to a 3D version in post production.

“Nobody is shooting exclusively in 3D, except for maybe James Cameron with ‘Avatar,'” Bock said. “When ‘Avatar 2’ comes out people probably will go see that in 3D because it was made for 3D.”

For films that aren’t produced with 3D as a priority, the foreground images remain crisp and pop during the viewing, but the background tends to get blurred and out of focus. For this reason, many moviegoers consider 3D to be more of a distraction than an experience.

Kids, of course, are more enthusiastic about 3D films. On average, 7% of this group cited 3D as the reason they wanted to see a film, according to Comscore’s PostTrak audience survey. For comparison, parents averaged around 4% and general audiences cited 3D as the reason to see a film about 3% of the time.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior analyst at Comscore, noted that the success of 3D is very content-centric. Meaning certain films fare better than others when it comes to 3D showings.

For example, 22% of kids said that they wanted to see “The Angry Birds Movie” because of 3D, 12% of parents said they wanted to see “The Crimes of Grindelwald” for the 3D and 14% of general movie audiences wanted to see “TMNT: Out of the Shadows” for this reason.

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