RealD Records Loss Amid Sliding Popularity of 3D Movies

Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis
 Kevin Winter/Getty Images

In spite of hits like Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness and Man of Steel, 3D movie company RealD on Wednesday posted a quarterly loss and declining revenue.

"We had a challenging first quarter, as moviegoers were more selective than expected regarding the films they chose to experience in 3D," said CEO Michael Lewis.

On the bright side, RealD also announced what Lewis called the company's "largest new contract win in several years," whereby it will install its 3D technology in up to 700 Cinemex auditoriums in Mexico.

RealD said that in its first fiscal quarter, revenue dropped 13 percent to $59.2 million and the company lost $1.5 million, reversing a $3 million profit in the same quarter a year ago.

The box office generated on RealD screens was $838 million during the quarter, with $407 million coming from international screens. In the same quarter a year ago, box office on RealD screens was $933 million.

Other titles available on RealD screens during the quarter were The Great Gatsby, Epic, World War Z, Monsters University and the 3D rerelease of Jurassic Park.

Titles in the current quarter include Despicable Me 2, Pacific Rim, Turbo and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. Also, RealD will handle the 3D version of the Morgan Spurlock boy-band documentary, One Direction: This Is Us.

On a conference call with analysts, Lewis lamented -- without naming names -- that some filmmakers, exhibitors and marketers aren't taking their 3D offerings seriously enough.

"We gotta make consistently a great product. That includes everything from how a film is made and conceived to how it's being delivered in the theater," Lewis said. "When those things are done right, then the percentages are very, very high."

He used Life of Pi of an example of a movie that earned a large percentage of its box office from 3D showings.

"The director believed in it. He promoted it. He said, 'This is the way you should see it.' The quality of the film was fantastic, and exhibitors went through great lengths to show it at the proper brightness level," Lewis said.

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