3-D extravaganzas havent been Hollywood saviors

September 20 [Thu], 2012, 9:36
Comedies and swim dramas filmed in the old-fashioned two-dimensional format are leading Hollywood's summer box-office revival, calling into question studios' investment in more costly 3-D extravaganzas. The season's biggest surprises include Universal Pictures' "Fast Five," a 2-D action film that relied on car chases and shootouts to generate $206 million in U.S. ticket sales. Big performers also include a pair of raunchy comedies, "The Hangover Part II" and "Bridesmaids," and last weekend's science-fiction thriller "Super 8." Studios are finding that slapping 3-D technology onto a film doesn't guarantee audiences, and relying on the technology can be a drag on the stock. Production in the format grew after James Cameron's "Avatar," released in late 2009, became the top-grossing movie ever. In the rush to capture premium 3-D ticket prices, Hollywood made films without mastering the technology, said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations Co. "Attendance has been falling off for three years, and 3-D was supposed to be the savior," Bock said. "With the 3-D rush jobs we've had over the past two years, people are getting an inferior product." Among the recent 3-D disappointments are "Kung Fu Panda 2," which drew 45 percent of its U.S. opening-weekend audience in 3-D, and "Pirates of the Caribbean

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