Top 12 Film Industry Stories of 2009:
#6: 3D Films Permeate Marketplace
By David Mumpower
January 1, 2010
A pair of other animation houses had tremendous success as well. Ice Age 3 earned a whopping $888 million worldwide for Fox. Sony counterbalanced the disappointment of Planet 51 with the relatively unheralded Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. The theatrical adaptation of the Judi/Ron Barrett classic quietly accumulated $122.7 million in North America. Securing the animated front to the satisfaction of all of the major animation distributors is probably the most important achievement of 2009 for RealD, Avatar excluded since that will be a later Film Industry Story.
Overall, ten of the 15 major RealD releases of 2009 (not including Toy Story/Toy Story 2) earned at least $50 million domestically. Seven went on to accrue North American revenue in excess of $100 million. If we exclude the curve skewing Battle for Terra and X Games 3D: The Movie, which bombed out with under $2 million in domestic gross, the average 2009 RealD release earned a whopping $123.6 million and that numbers will go up a lot more as Avatar continues its box office ascent. In terms of global revenue, these films averaged a whopping total of $308.8 million, and Avatar will raise that total significantly before its run is finished.
While 2009 has been a coming out party for RealD technology, we are only at the beginning of this age of movie viewing. Intentions have already been announced and standards initially defined for a home television equipped to display the full 3D viewing experience. In addition, 20 releases currently scheduled for 2010 will feature this technology including potential box office heavyweights such as Alice in Wonderland, Rapunzel and Toy Story 3. Whether the technology proves to be a staple of the movie going experience or a flash in the pan as it was a few decades ago remains to be seen. For now, what is certain is that RealD releases have earned in excess of $4 billion worldwide in calendar 2009, a mammoth number that should only grow larger in calendar 2010.