Box office revenue generated by three dimensional (3-D) movies in North America nearly doubled in 2010, as more screens were upgraded to 3-D capability and studios delivered more 3-D motion pictures, new IHS Screen Digest research indicates.
North American 3-D movie theater revenue amounted to $2.2 billion in 2010, up 85 percent from $1.2 billion in 2009. The 3-D segment rose to account for 20.6 percent of total North American movie theater box office revenue in 2010, up from 11.0 percent in 2009.
“Almost 5,000 new 3-D screens were upgraded in North American cinemas in 2010, an annual record, for a total 3-D screen count in excess of 8,450, up from 3,548 in 2009,” said Charlotte Jones, senior analyst, cinema, for IHS. “Furthermore, 25 major feature films were released in 3-D in North American cinemas in 2010, an all-time high primed to rise further to around 40 major movie releases in 3-D for 2011. Of these 3-D movies in 2010, 18 ranked among the Top 100 films in terms of revenue generation for the year, and five of the 3-D titles made the Top 10.”
Twentieth Century Fox’s Avatar, although released in 2009, was the leading title in 3-D revenue for 2010, followed by Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3.
Along with the rising number of screens and titles, revenue for 3-D movies in 2010 was boosted by higher ticket prices relative to 2-D titles. 3-D tickets in North America during 2010 were priced in the region of $10.84, 40 percent higher than a standard 2-D movie ticket at $7.34.
The North American 3-D market was dominated by live-action titles in 3-D in 2010, whether natively produced or increasingly converted in post-production to 3-D. This marked a shift from 2009, when most 3-D titles were studio animated films. Animated features in 2010 accounted for only 43.8 percent of total 3-D revenues, equivalent to $952.0 million, down from the majority 63.6 percent share of 3-D box office in 2009.
The North American 3-D box office market has advanced quickly in recent years, rising from $7.8 million in 2005. Revenue will continue to rise in the coming years, with 3-D expected to account for 40 percent of North American box office revenue in 2015.
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