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3-D: An unwanted dimension?

Chris Colfer and Lea Michele in

Chris Colfer and Lea Michele in "Glee: The 3D concert Movie" Photo Credit: Handout

The movies have had a long love affair with 3-D.

Films have been shot in the extra dimension since the late 1930s, with a golden era in the mid-'50s, as well as major production periods taking place during the '80s and '90s.

But the film industry's embrace of the format has never felt so complete. Hardly a week goes by that doesn't find a new 3-D release vying for your attention.

There have been 10 3-D movies released since the summer movie season began in May, and two more - "Glee: The 3D Concert Movie" and "Final Destination 5" - hit New York City theaters tomorrow.

While a customer cringing at the inflated 3-D ticket prices - $17 for adults is the Manhattan norm - might not want to hear it, a legitimate case can be made for the format.

"I feel that [3-D] allowed the people who weren't able to go to the concert to be immersed in the experience," said "Glee" director Kevin Tancharoen. "We didn't want to use 3-D as a gimmick. Instead, it helped the staging of the choreography play out in front of you and come alive."

Tancharoen sees a viable future for 3-D, noting its usefulness as a "tool for storytelling." He hopes "the term '3-D' is never seen on a poster and that it becomes common knowledge, like color."

Down at the box office

Others aren't so sure.

"We've seen the percentage of box office from 3-D drop in the last few months from 55 percent and up ... to below 45 percent in the case of some of this summer's movies," said Ed Douglas, associate editor of

Douglas, a Manhattan resident, sees the future of the format being determined on a case-by-case basis, shaped less by an automatic impulse to impose the extra dimension on 2-D movies than by the question of whether the film's "immersive escapist experience" can really be enhanced with 3-D.

"I certainly don't think studios will be pushing for 3-D as much now as they were last year, directly following the success of 'Avatar,' " he said.

A mixed reaction

That'd be just fine for 20-year-old Staten Island resident Lisa Huben.

"3-D movies can be fun," she said. "If you're going to see an action ... movie like 'Harry Potter,' then it's definitely cool to see it in 3-D. But for others, it's not really necessary. I saw 'Toy Story 3' in 3-D, and it didn't really do much for me except rob me of another $4."

More 3-D films on the way

There are quite a few 3-D movies set to be released through the rest of the year. Here's a few that people will be talking about:
• "Conan the Barbarian" -- Aug. 19
• "The Three Musketeers" -- Oct. 21
• "Immortals" -- Nov. 11
• "Piranha 3DD" -- Nov. 23
• "Hugo" -- Nov. 23
• "The Adventures of Tintin" -- Dec. 23


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