AlexPKeaton wrote:3D is pretty crap in terms of movie viewing, it is only good for charging more money for novelty.
It was also very conveniently timed to happen during the transition to digital projection. RealD requires dcinema equipment to show 3D movies.
Hollywood (and their pals the exhibitors) have been wanting movie theaters to install digital equipment for a while but it is expensive. Very expensive. Prohibitively expensive for most independent theaters (and as such is helping push them out of business).
At the same time, the cost to produce reels of film for a given movie cost several thousand dollars each. I forget the exact amount (say its $3,000); when a movie opens on 4,000 screens that would be $12,000,000 of the take devoted solely to creating film prints with a very finite useful lifespan.
A hard drive delivered to the theater with a JPEG2000 file on it costs a small fraction of that, and even less if the file is sent over internet or dedicated satellite feeds.
Avatar 3D - a must see event - arrived conveniently in time to give the theater owners an impetus to install the d cinema projectors. And since few people are willing to pay a premium to see a digital vs 35mm print, 3D is a good substitute to jack up the ticket price.