There will be 15,300 digital 3D screens worldwide by the end of this year. This compares with 8,989 3D screens at the end of 2009. So says Screen Digest in its latest report, Digital Cinema Moves Into the Mainstream. Sixty per cent of the world’s digital screens will be 3D by Christmas. There will be 25,600 digital screens compared with 16,335 in 2009 – a rise of 57%.
Frantic building of 3D will come too late for distributors this summer though. I predict sharp elbows in the UK this August, with Hollywood releases pushing each other out of the way for precious 3D screen space.
August 6-8 is the crunch weekend. Warner Bros will have just released Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, while Universal debuts Step Up 3D. But Disney’s Toy Story 3 will still only be on its third weekend. One exhibitor tells me studios should brace themselves for sharp drop-offs.
With all the 3D screen building going on, too few screens will not be an issue next summer. Odeon and Cineworld both say 40-45% of their screens will have gone digital 3D. But will audiences have grown bored of the gimmick by then?