IMAX Is Moving Away From 3-D: ‘Consumers Have Shown a Strong Preference’

The giant screen company says fans want two-dimensional films instead

IMAX thinks it’s time to ditch the plastic glasses.

After releasing disappointing second-quarter earnings late Wednesday, IMAX Entertainment CEO Greg Foster said in a conference call the giant-screen company would cut back on 3-D releases to rejuvenate the business.

Foster cited the strong early performance of Christopher Nolan’s WWII drama “Dunkirk,” which was filmed on IMAX cameras and generated nearly a quarter of its box office gross from IMAX theaters its opening weekend.

And it was not shot in 3-D — unusual for IMAX’s recent tentpole releases, but something Foster said to expect a lot more of going forward.

“It’s worth noting ‘Dunkirk’ was showing exclusively in 2-D, which consumers have shown a strong preference for,” Foster said on the call.

“Dunkirk”  grossed more than $50 million domesticcally after its July 21 opening — impressive for a period war movie that does not involve the United States.

“We’re looking forward to playing fewer 3-D versions of films and more 2-D versions,” Foster added, mentioning that Warner Bros. “Blade Runner 2049” will be shown in 2-D exclusively at IMAX theaters when it opens in October.

As it moves to ditch 3-D, IMAX has recently opened its first virtual reality centers, where people strap on eyewear of a different kind to jump into immersive VR experiences using high-end rigs like the HTC Vive. And while Hollywood produced a record 68 3-D releases last year, the MPAA reported an 8 percent drop in attendance to those films.

All entertainment goggles are apparently not created equal.