As the director of Avatar, James Cameron deserves a lot of credit for the massive (and yet mercifully brief) 3D movie fad, and even though you no longer have to see the 3D version of a movie in order to get the full experience, theaters all over the country are now fully equipped to screen uglier versions of new movies that require audience members to wear stupid glasses over their real glasses just so they can get in an extra “ooh” or “aah.” Still, while most moviegoers are pretty much over 3D, Cameron himself is still fully committed to the format, to the point that he recently promised that the next four Avatar movies—yes, four—will all be in 3D and they’ll all “look sumptuous.”
Cameron dropped that sumptuous quote during a culture and technology event in Australia called Vivid (via VFXBlog), and while he was there he talked a bit about the current status of 3D. He notes that the technology that makes movies like Avatar possible is now “ubiquitous,” which makes it “not remarkable,” so even though there are 70,000 3D-capable theaters in the world instead of the 3,000 that existed when Avatar came out, the technology no longer seems special. He also pins some of the blame for that on Hollywood, which made a habit of shoehorning 3D onto non-3D movies with post-conversion, leaving audiences disappointed by half-assed effects and giving 3D a bad name.
Cameron goes on to say that he hopes people eventually get sick of reaching toward 4K resolution, because production technology has “basically stalled” over the last three or four years and isn’t in place yet for “the next big thing.” Naturally, he wants that to be real 3D that you don’t need special glasses for, saying that technology for “good 3D” is in the works but that it will only happen if people can be convinced to want it. He’s hoping Avatar 2 is sumptuous enough to make the case for 3D, but if not, at least Avatar 3, Avatar 4, and Avatar 5 will all have some cool effects.