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IMAX just put another nail in the coffin of 3D movies

3D movies haven’t quite been the phenomenon many in the movie industry were hoping for, and now the format has moved closer to extinction.

While last year saw a record 68 3D titles released, figures from the MPAA show attendance at these films dropped 8%.

Now IMAX, one of the format’s biggest original advocates, will be cutting back on 3D releases following disappointing second-quarter earnings (via).

The compny’s Entertainment CEO, Greg Foster, announced the plans during a conference call this week, saying consumers have “shown a strong preference” for 2D.

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Foster pointed to the recent popularity of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk – which was not shot in 3D – as evidence of 3D’s declining popularity.

Nolan’s latest WWII epic was filmed on IMAX cameras, and during its opening weekend, almost a quarter of its box office gross came from IMAX theatres – where it was shown exclusively in 2D.

Foster’s comments during the earnings call suggest the future will bring more movies shot using IMAX cameras without the 3D element, in an attempt to ape the success of Dunkirk.

The Entertainment CEO said: “It’s worth noting Dunkirk was showing exclusively in 2D, which consumers have shown a strong preference for.

“We’re looking forward to playing fewer 3D versions of films and more 2D versions.”

Foster also pointed to the upcoming October release of Blade Runner 2049, which will only be shown in 2D for its screenings at IMAX theaters.

This latest move from IMAX comes as the company tries to branch out into new areas to reinvigorate its business.

VR has played a large part in this, with the company opening virtual reality centres in Los Angeles and Manchester, allowing the public to try out the technology without paying the high prices for home VR systems.

The centres will function as pilot schemes, which if successful could lead to VR centres in the lobbies of IMAX theatres in the future.

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