James Cameron Doesn't Want 3D TV's to Come Back

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James Cameron is having a busy year. Not only will "Avatar" be re-released in a week in IMAX 3D (in 48 FPS no less), but in December the long-awaited sequel - "Avatar: The Way of Water" - will finally be released in theaters (where I personally predict it will be a MAJOR hit)! As such, he's making the press rounds to promote his new projects. While he was doing the rounds, he was asked about 3D TVs and why they failed. He answered:

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," he explained. "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. ... 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.

What's more, Cameron revealed a surprising opinion on whether or not he wants 3D TVs to return to the living rooms.

I think it could, but I can't say because the home viewing experience is fundamentally different than the theatrical experience. 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.

He then continued to talk about how annoyed he is that kids will binge four- or five-hour long TV episodes in a row but not watch a three-hour movie...but honestly, we're not going to get into that one. We're also going to gloss over his opinions on why he thinks 3D TV failed. While I agree that the types of glasses and quality of screens played a big role in the demise, that is a loaded question that we have delved into multiple times on this site (and will continue to do so in the future).

What stood out to me (and what may stand out to you) is that Cameron is ok with 3D not coming back to the living room. He likes the idea that the best way to experience his movies is on a big screen. While I'm certain the knee-jerk reaction is to rail against him, keep in mind that this is not a new way of thinking for filmmakers. Back in the day, many filmmakers railed against the idea of their movies playing on television (an airing of the Best Picture-winner "Bridge on the River Kwai" was deemed 'Black Friday' by many in Hollywood back in the day). For that matter, while we may be enjoying the 40th-anniversary IMAX re-release of "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial," if Steven Spielberg had his way seeing the movie in theaters would be the only way to watch the film.

Yep, at one point Spielberg refused to allow 'E.T.' to be released on the newly successful VHS format, and he only wanted it to be seen in theaters. Eventually, he came off this source and 'E.T.' would go on to become one of the best-selling VHS tapes of all time, but it goes to show that filmmakers will ALWAYS want their films seen in theaters rather than at home! Will Cameron get his wish? I have no idea. There has been no movement on bringing 3D TVs back into the living rooms, so for the time being this may very well happen. I still believe that once "Avatar: The Way of Water" becomes the huge success I believe it will be, some TV manufacturers will gladly make a deal with him to make a great 3D TV so long as they have exclusive rights to the movie on their set (kind of like what happened with the original "Avatar").

Because money talks and money walks, and if there is money to be made in 3D someone will jump on it. It will help that there is more 3D content available now than twelve years ago. What's more, it would actually take less bandwidth to stream a 3D film than it does a 4K film, so if a TV manufacturer did make a TV there would be new content most of these streaming services could offer to take advantage of that audience (VUDU has a leg up on the competition in this case). Keep in mind that this is all me dreaming. Whether "Avatar: The Way of Water" is a big enough success to bring 3D TVs back is likely a pipe dream. But hey, you may say I'm a dreamer...but I'm not the only one!