By Phil Contrino
While Hellboy 2: The Golden Army finished in first place this past weekend, a lot of industry types may have been paying more attention to the film that finished in third place.
Journey to the Center of the Earth, which started its theatrical run with a solid $21.02 million, is only the beginning of a trend that audiences will see a lot more of in the coming months and years.
Upon the release of official weekend numbers, sales for RealD 3D showings of the film were revealed to be 3.7 times that of 2D showings, indicating that audiences opted to experience the film as it was intended to be seen.
“I think this is just another kind of data point for people this past weekend which confirms that if you give a customer a better experience they are willing pay more and more people are going to show up. That’s really been our business proposition from the get go," said Michael V. Lewis, Chairman & CEO of RealD, the company that partnered with Warner Bros. to help make the film possible in the 3D format.
The ratio of box office receipts collected in RealD 3D versus that of 2D for Journey 's opening weekend is the strongest of any film that RealD has been a part of. Plus, if the past is any indication, that ratio will only increase in the weeks to come.
"Our history of 3D has been that the ratio increases over time because 3D and RealD have held in later weeks more than 2D does. We think it’s going to look pretty good over the next few weeks," said Lewis.
Of course, any discussion about 3D is not complete without bringing up the digital conversion issue that is causing some controversy throughout the industry. Yet Lewis remains optimistic and he sees a lot of potential in a format that has already grown so much.
"In two years we’ve gone from 0 RealD 3D screens to now we have 1,400 installed and we have 5,250 screens that have contracts. So as soon as the digital gets figured out, then those screens will be equipped with RealD. I think over the next 18 months those issues will get solved and this past weekend is just another point to kind of say to everyone, both distributors and exhibitors, that we need to get this 2D stuff figured out."