Blockbuster ‘Avatar’ to Accelerate 3D Revolution

The runaway success of science fiction blockbuster Avatar will accelerate the 3D movie revolution, which has already powered Hollywood to a record year at the box office, analysts say.

James Cameron’s futuristic fantasy is on course to become the highest-grossing movie of all time after smashing the US$1-billion barrier in only three weeks over the weekend.

The film, which has a reported budget of between $300-500 million, has been hailed as a landmark in movie history and its impact will be felt across the industry, experts say.

“The ramifications of Avatar’s performance are huge,” said Jeff Bock, chief analyst with box office tracking firm Exhibitor Relations. “Ripple effects are going to occur fast and furiously.”

Bock said the stellar success of Avatar, which is already the fourth highest-grossing movie in history, would persuade other studios that big budget 3D films represented an attractive investment.

“The gains far outweigh the risks right now and if you can have someone like James Cameron helming your 3D film, then you’re okay to spend $300-500 million on your film because you’re going to get your money back and then some,” he added.

“Right now, 3D is going to be all the rage and studios are going to jump on a big bunch of 3D films.”

According to the organizers of a recent 3D film festival in Belgium, more than 150 3D films are currently in various stages of production.

Among them is the long-awaited movie adaptation of comic-book hero Tintin, directed by Oscar-winner Steven Spielberg and tentatively scheduled for release in 2011.

Cameron is reportedly mulling a 3D version of his 1997 mega-blockbuster Titanic, which remains the top-earning film in history with $1.8 billion.

The 3D boom has been made possible by technological advances, according to movie industry insiders.

“There has been a real resurgence in 3D because the technology of digital cinema has allowed 3D to be sharper and brighter on screen and a much better audience experience,” Mark Zoradi, former president of Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group, said in a recent interview.

“It gives moviegoers just another reason to actually continue to go to the cinema. It’s something you can’t experience at home. It’s here to stay and on many movies it has to be experienced.”

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