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Can 3D Save the Movie Box Office? How a new market research method for measuring importance can answer that question.

movieticket_3dglasses3D is all the rage in Hollywood and is coming to a TV set near you if it isn't there already. 3D@Home Consortium lists no fewer than 20 movies planned for theatrical release in 2012 that will be offered up in 3D. These include Men in Black 3, Star Trek 2 and The Ring 3D.

But is Hollywood's push toward 3D the result of consumer demand? Holly McKay reporting for FoxNews.com says that less than 50% of the box office earnings for Kung Fu Panda 2, Pirates of the Caribbean, Green Lantern and Cars 2 in 2011 were from 3D showings.

But how does 3D fit in as a draw relative to the other decisions a potential movie-goer makes? Does 3D motivate an American adult to select a movie to see on a given day?

Apparently not.

TRC decided to test a few different methods for measuring importance in marketing research ( learn about Bracket™ as one of the methods). As part of this test, we asked US consumers age 18+ to evaluate how important each of 18 factors is in selecting which movie to see and where to see it. We divided them into groups and each group saw the same 18 factors, but used different methods to evaluate them. See our white paper for the methods. These consumers were pulled from TRC's panel, and we chose movie going decisions as the topic for our test.

Our list of decision factors ran the gamut from the movie itself (It has my favorite stars, It has an R rating, It's a sequel to a movie I've already seen) to the theater characteristics (It's conveniently located, It has good quality and variety of food) to how others perceive the movie (I think it will be popular, It received good reviews from movie critics). And of course, we included It's shown in 3D on the list.

And how influential is 3D to these consumers?

It's at the bottom of the decision list. It came in last in 3 of the methods we tested and third-last in another method.

So is 3D really dying? Probably not - certainly kids are influential in this area.  (The participants were choosing for themselves, not on behalf of their kids. It is animated also appeared near the bottom of the list.) And it may be a secondary decision factor - they've decided to see the movie, but whether to see it in 3D or 2D is still up for debate. But 3D is certainly not a "key driver," as much as the quantity of 3D fare coming to a theater near you would suggest otherwise.

So what does drive people to the theater? You'll have to wait for the sequel to this blog to find out....

VP / Research Management


Michele likes to hijack TRC's online consumer panel to get relevant answers to her burning research questions. She loves asking questions relating to her favorite hobbies - TV and movies, golf, casino gambling and travel - and more often than not the answers can be generalized across industries.


Contact Michele

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