Just gotta weigh in on this one.
3D is just a marketing tool to get people out of their HT's and back down to the Cinema. Nothing more.
Step back in time a few decades and look at the Rise and Fall of Cinerama
Long-story-short, after Television's almost overnight takeover of the Entertainment field, Hollywood was desperate for something special to bring bodies back to the Theatre. For most of the 50's and 60's, it was the elaborate, 3-filmstrip Cinerama process, that yielded super-widescreen movies that blew the doors off your little TV at home.
But the economics of production (shooting with 3 cameras that magically sync'ed together, projecting likewise, to a special wide, deeply curved screen made of 7/8" strips of screen, carefully angled, etc.) forced more and more compromises, and finally, films came back to a simple widescreen format and flat screens.
There were only a handful of movie-houses designed for full-on Cinerama (here in L.A., the CineramaDome was one - but the technology dried up before it was even completed) and even the flat-screen versions (such as ToddAO films like Patton
, with it's stunning scenes using a 150 Degree lens
) died out in the 70's.Avatar
succeeded because it was a landmark advance in Virtual Filmmaking, as well a a fundamentally good movie (script, concept, direction, etc.). It would have succeeded - to a lesser degree - even as a "merely" 2D project.
3D in the cinema is in one of those stages of competition with the HT that's becoming as ubiquitous as the RCA color set of the 60's. I agree with KuroNeko - only when full-blown holographic projections come to the theatre, will 3D have really arrived.
No glasses, no hotspots, no color compromises and you can see the person next to you!
Of course - with the whimsical winds of Technology, HT Holodecks will probably be close behind...