Katzenberg: ‘The Bloom Is Off the Rose’ for 3D

“There were unfortunately a lot of people who thought they could capitalize on what was a great, genuine excitement by moviegoers for a new premium experience and just deliver a low-end, crappy version of it,” mogul says at Aspen conference

Jeffrey Katzenberg may be the Billy Graham of 3D.

But not bad 3D. And he's seen a lot of bad 3D movies recently.

The studios' greed — charging premium prices for poor-quality 3D movies — has dampened the public's enthusiasm for 3D, he told attendees at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen.

For the public, that means the "bloom is off the rose" for 3D, he told attendees at the Fortune Brainstorm conference in Aspen. 

"There were unfortunately a lot of people who thought they could capitalize on what was a great, genuine excitement by moviegoers for a new premium experience and just deliver a low-end, crappy version of it and people wouldn't care or wouldn't know the difference," he said.

"Nothing could have been further from the truth," he added. "Hollywood has managed to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory here."

It's not all bad. Upcoming 3D films by master filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson and James Cameron will reenergize the genre.

Also, TV viewers, at least, can look forward to Katzenberg describes as "OK" 3D without glasses in "a very few years" and high-quality 3D without glasses in four to six years. (Three-D movies in theaters without glasses is 10 or 15 years away, although Katzenberg expects it to arrive in his lifetime).

The format's problems reflect a broader malaise in filmmaking, Katzenberg said. Studios are focusing too much on commerce and too little on their art.

The last seven or eight months have seen some of the worst movies of the last five years, he said.

"They suck," he said. "It's unbelievable how bad movies have been."

Add to that a killer recession and new distribution technologies that have caused DVD sales to plummet.

By contrast, the television business — particularly cable — is "on fire", driven by "brilliant" shows like "Breaking Bad" and a strong demand for content on hundreds of channels, Katzenberg said.