More than 39 million American adults would go to the movies more often if Hollywood offered more feature-length films in 3-D, according to a new survey by Opinion Dynamics Corp. (ODC).
Results from a nationwide survey of 900 adults show that 12% of Americans roughly 26 million adults would go to the movies more often to see 3-D movies. Another 6% 13 million adults would go more often depending on the types of films offered in 3-D.
Sounds like a flashback to the early 50s when movie studios were losing audiences due to the rising popularity of television. Studios lured audiences back with 3-D films, but their success was short-lived. Today, the movie industry is again faced with diminished ticket sales. In 2003, there were 29 films that grossed $100 million or more in the U.S.; in 2004 there were 24 such films; and only 15 to-date in 2005.
Ticket price increases have somewhat offset the decrease in ticket sales, but the movie industry as a whole is showing signs of wear. Studios, movie theaters, production and distribution companies, projection systems makers and other industry influencers are trying to determine the content, formats and dissemination methods that can lure consumers back to the theater. Once again, companies in the industry are investing in 3-D technology, which has been updated and refined for the modern audience. According to the latest public opinion research, moviegoers are warming to the trend.
The survey by ODC gauged consumers' attitudes toward feature-length 3-D films, which have been primarily limited to animated fare. Last year, Warner Bros. blockbuster, THE POLAR EXPRESS, grossed close to $290 million worldwide; almost $50 million of that came from the IMAX 3-D version of the film. This year, the IMAX 3-D reissue of POLAR EXPRESS has generated nearly $5.5 million despite the regular DVD bow. Meanwhile, Disney funded the nationwide installation of 85 digital projection systems with brand new, state-of-the-art 3-D capabilities for the release of CHICKEN LITTLE, which also showed significantly higher per-screen averages for the 3-D version of the film.
"Given that there were only two feature-length 3-D films released in 2005, there appears to be pent-up demand for 3-D films, especially when feature-length, live-action 3-D films come to market," said Richard Greif, project director at ODC. "Studios and theaters need something compelling to offer moviegoers, and 3-D could be a big draw if enough highly entertaining films can be made. A well-made 3-D movie can provide an audience with an unparalleled cinematic experience."
The ODC survey, titled "Measuring the 3-D Film Revolution: Understanding the Impact of New Technology on Movie Theater Visitation," is available in white paper form at www.opiniondynamics.com/audience.html
Key findings include:
* Fourteen %, or 30 million adults, would pay $2-3 more to see a feature length film in 3-D, and another 6%, or 13 million adults, would also pay more depending on the films offered in 3-D.
* Almost one-half (48%) of Americans have seen a 3-D film (of any length), with 22% seeing it at a regular movie theater, 19% at an IMAX theater and 7% at both types of theaters.
* If they were to see a 3-D film, Americans are somewhat more likely to prefer 3-D effects that appear to come out of the screen at them (37%) as they are to prefer 3-D effects that give better depth to images on the screen (31%).
* More than one in four (28%) Americans go to the movies once a month or more; 29% go several times a year; 23% go once a year or less and 20% do not go to the movies at all.
The future of the 3-D movie is the latest research effort by Opinion Dynamics Corp. (www.opiniondynamics.com
) to measure consumer attitudes regarding entertainment. Founded in 1987 and headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Opinion Dynamics is a national leader in market research, public opinion polling and consulting with a specialty in entertainment and media.