During the last few days, I spent some time reading different articles about certain companies quitting developing and manufacturing processes of 3D technologies for end consumers - more specifically: 3D TVs.

Then I thought about what impact it could have on the development and the continuation of this technology, but in connection to theaters.

From my perspective, 3D has begun to slowly disappear (may be it's only for private users). But I also know, that 3D still has its fan base and theaters and film companies will try very hard to stick with 3D technologies and improve the experience.

Is there any evidence that the use of 3D in Theaters is decreasing and that they are returning back to the 2D standard?

Or is it the opposite? Can we expect any technical advantage in the near future, that has already been announced or is rumored to be coming soon to Theaters, to bring 3D to the next level?

  • I don't have time right now to produce a decent answer, but offer up this resource for anyone else to use MPAA Theatrical Market Statistic Reports, the latest one released in 2016 for the year of 2015. This contains metrics for 3D screens in theatres that can be used to base trends upon. Basically, 3D screens were on a rise (at least back in 2015).
    – user43022
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 9:21
  • 3
    I'm guessing the downvote was given because this could be interpreted as an "opinion" based question. The resources I've supplied would answer the question of trends for 3D in theatres.
    – user43022
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 9:25
  • Thanks for the answer and your resource. It states that the pace of growth is slowing down. It seems this could be one of the reasons for the decision those companies made. However, I thought my question was well formulated, because you clearly can answer with actual articles and reports, but I have to admit that there is some room for interpretations. I will edit my question.
    – Patrick L
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 11:09
  • There appears to be a cinema history question here; and there appears to be an opinion-based, "what does the future hold" question here.
    – John
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 13:50

1 Answer 1


3D viewing figures appear to be broadly flat over the past few years.

According to the latest MPAA Theatrical Market Statistics Report (pdf) for 2016

enter image description here

You can see here we had an initial boost in 2010 (Avatar was released in December 2009) of 21%, whereafter the figures declined and hovered around the 15% level.

The linked report has other charts for different statistics, but this one seems (at least at first glance) to be core in terms of box office sales.

For those who might assume the MPAA report is USA centric, there's worldwide stats in there too (where there's a greater proportion of 3D enabled theatres in the Asia/Pacific region).

As to future technology, it's anyone's guess. We can assume that technology will advance to make the 3D effect more real/smooth. Having said that, the box office figures lead us to believe that people may prefer the more comfortable, non-glasses, experience of traditional 2D.

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