The entertainment biz is overflowing with examples of technology that fell pointedly short of their predicted mark on humanity. Smell-O-Vision, Quadraphonic sound, “Duo-Vision” and even early 3D didn’t revolutionize our quest to entertain ourselves. They’ve remained in a graveyard of footnotes and a gimmicks.

The longest lasting of these tech tchotchkes, 3D films, are the biggest analog to the upcoming VR revolution coming for gaming. Both long-imperfect technologies finally hit it big, after decades of failure, to re-capture the imagination of pop culture.

As moviegoers learned, we should be wary.

From incomprehensible action set pieces full of transforming robots, needless gimmicks, and over-inflated admissions, I can’t remember the last time I tried to convince someone to see a 3D movie without the caveats of “it’s also being shown in 2D” or “the 3D is actually kinda well-done.”

3D films, it turns out, are on the downturn. Since 2008, when 3D movies took in 73% of box-office receipts, attendance has slowed to the point where they’re estimated to account for just over a third of moviegoers’ dollars this year. Analysts don’t see the trend changing any time soon. Maybe we’re finally getting some respite from $20 movie tickets.

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Author OVR

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