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Is 3D Still Cool or a ‘Tax’ on Moviegoers? 3 Top Directors Say the Format’s Overused

Alfonso Cuaron, Marc Webb and Edgar Wright weigh in on the format's ubiquity

Alfonso Cuaron, Edgar Wright and Marc Webb discussed everything from high school teachers to Buster Keaton at Comic-Con on Thursday, but there was one subject where they were all in agreement — 3D.

Even though both Cuaron and Webb's next films were shot in 3D — "Gravity" and "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," respectively —  they both acknowledged there are too many 3D movies out there.

"In most cases it's not necessary," Cuaron said. "In most cases with movies being released in 3D, 3D is an afterthought."

He said "Gravity" would be in 3D because the format was "still cool" when he conceived the film five years ago. The title page of his original screenplay called it a "space suspense in 3D." He has taken great steps to make sure the film looks good, which helps explain why it's taken almost five years to make.

Also read: Comic-Con 2013: Alfonso Cuaron Calls ‘Gravity' ‘An Amazing Miscalculation'

Though 3D has been around since the inception of cinema, it has recently been universalized, making it, in Cuaron's eyes at least, uncool.

"I hate 3D because the blacks and whites suck," Cuaron said. "It takes away color and takes away resolution."

In spite of those misgivings, the director of "Children of Men" and "Y Tu Mama Tambien" said he still prefers watching "Gravity" in 3D.

Webb was the least eager to jump in the fray, defending the use of 3D on "Spider-Man." Though he said movies in 3D can be exquisite, he acknowledged they "can also be really terrible."

Wright, whose "The World's End" is in "fabulous 2D," said the ubiquity of bad 3D can make the higher price of 3D movies feel like a "blockbuster tax."

Also read: Box Office: 3D Hits New Low Domestically With 'World War Z,' 'Monsters University' 

"Why most people are lukewarm on the format is they see too many bad ones where it's been done after the fact," Wright said. "Sometimes you see movies where it becomes a dark experience."

While movies like "Life of Pi," "Avatar" or those of his compatriots on the panel merit 3D, "people get tired because it's just slapped onto every film every week," Wright said.

American consumers have begun rejecting this "tax": Smaller percentages of moviegoers are going to see movies like "Monsters University" and "World War Z" in 3D than previous animated and action films. Yet 3D remains popular overseas, so U.S. moviegoers can expect more of it.

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