Why Hollywood Will Never Stop Experimenting with 3D

It seems like Hollywood is churning out more projects than ever in 3D.  With the success of super-large IMAX screens and the advancement in three-dimensional cinematography and projections, movie studios are investing heavily in 3D technology in the hope that it will be more than just a gimmick.  Filmmakers like James Cameron are betting that this isn't just a trend but rather the future of cinema.

The reasons are clear -- wide screen televisions, high definition video, surround sound, and other high-end features are now making the home theater experience much closer to the cineplex experience.  So movie studios need to up the ante and give customers an entertainment option that they cannot get from their living rooms.  IMAX, with its jumbo screens, and 3D flicks, are the current answer.

Whether this is indeed just another fad in the long history of 3D attempts, or whether this will be the first step in how all movies will eventually be made is yet to be determined.  In my opinion, even with HD wide screen TVs, home theaters still do not compare to watching a film in movie theaters.  The film screens are still much bigger (even not counting IMAX) and the sound much better.  Even though people have TV nights with friends, the social experience of going out to dinner and a movie isn't something that will be easily replaced.  And some people complain about noise from fellow filmgoers, but there are arguably just as many distraction at home as well (although some folks do like to pause and rewind the movies they watch at home, which you can't do at a theater.)

The eventual dream of Hollywood is to create content that completely immerses the viewer so that they feel like they are right in the middle of all the action.  This will be great for action and fantasy blockbusters, but is it necessary for more intimate dramas and comedies and some smaller budget documentaries?  Or will the continuing success of 3D IMAX marginalize those smaller films even further?