The research firm says the boost in ticket sales for movies released in 3-D cited in this study is likely to climb with increased marketing support and consumer education. While moviegoers have an appetite for 3-D flicks, they often lack the awareness of where to find them and knowledge about the technology. In a recent Nielsen survey, 48% were unaware that their movie choices were available in 3-D.
Nielsen PreView's 3-D study analyzed more than 4,000 theaters in the United States. The research found that theaters with at least one screen exhibiting in 3-D had a 65% increase in box office sales compared to their 2-D counterparts. Those theaters that chose to exhibit in 3-D on more than one screen saw ticket sales climb to 100% from the total revenue expected, indicating that one 3-D screen per theater may not be enough to satisfy consumer demand.
In a deal announced earlier this year, Disney, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, and Universal Pictures agreed to help finance and equip 10,000 screens in the U.S. and Canada to show 3-D movies.
Beginning with the release of "Bolt" in November, all Disney and Pixar animated features will also debut in Disney Digital 3-D. Disney's newly converted 3-D versions of "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2" are scheduled for 2009 and 2010, respectively, along with the new release of Rapunzel in 2010. In May 2009, Pixar Animation plans to release "Up" in 3-D, followed by "NEWT" in 2011 and "Cars 2" in 2012.
Although it's too early to outline marketing and promotional efforts for upcoming 3-D movies, box office figures have shown that 3-D movies can attract two to three times more moviegoers willing to pay several dollars more per ticket.
Theaters have picked up where "Rocky Horror" left off by integrating live performances into the theatrical experiences. Consumers are attracted to 3-D releases--but as Nielsen suggests, many don't realize they have a choice that also includes Metropolitan Opera simulcasts, live concerts and video conferencing.