James Cameron Explains Why 3D TVs Failed: “Not Everybody Is a Film Geek Like I Am”

Image: 20th Century Studios

3D TVs never managed to take off in the way that some had hoped, and James Cameron, the legendary director behind Aliens, Titanic, and the original Terminator films, has provided his thoughts on why that might be in a recent talk with IGN regarding the upcoming Avatar re-release.

“I think the jury’s out on that,” the 68-year-old filmmaker told the publication. “I know why all that failed because there was — what they did was they jumped into 3D trying to cash in the boom at theaters and treat it as a feature. So, they did 3D, but they did it with glasses that needed to be recharged and all that. Whereas just over the horizon was glasses-free, large flat screen TVs which actually look pretty good.”

“The imperative to manufacture [glasses-free TVs] and the additional cost required got out of step with the market demand, which was taking a nosedive because people experience 3D in a movie theater very differently than they do in a home,” Cameron explained. “They don’t want anything that distracts them from multi-tasking and/or socializing with other people that are in the room with them and so on.”

“Not everybody is a film geek like I am where you sit down you put the glasses on by yourself and you just watch a whole movie which is more what the theatrical experience is. So, it kind of got out of step.”

But could 3D TVs make a comeback? “I think it could but I can’t say because the home viewing experience is fundamentally different than the theatrical experience,” said Cameron. “I’m perfectly happy if the only place you can really get it is in a movie theater because it speaks to that specialness of the cinematic experience which is obviously what the Avatar re-release is in the first place.”

Avatar remains one of the more popular 3D films of all time. It is heading back to theaters worldwide on September 23, 2022, ahead of Avatar: The Way of Water, which is due on December 16, 2022.

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