Although some filmmakers and studios are touting 3D as the future of filmmaking, 3D has also been the past of filmmaking. Several times over. While the fad seems like a new one, 3D as a trend has actually been coming and going since the first 3D movie was produced in the early 1900s. Hit the jump to see a painstakingly detailed infographic about the history of 3D cinema.
This chart was created by Sony, who makes 3D projectors, cameras and television sets — it’s worth noting that the company has an active interest in showing 3D in a positive light. That said, the infographic includes nearly every 3D movie ever made, so we can’t really accuse them of skewing the numbers. The chart goes into a fair amount of detail regarding not just the years and titles of 3D movies, but also the display methods used for each of the films, allowing you to see each new technology taking over the last one. Click on the image below to see an enlarged version.
As you can see, the popularity of 3D cinema has been rising and falling for decades. What’s interesting is how regularly the trend seems to resurface — every 30 years, just about. The 1920s, 1950s, 1980s, and 2010s all mark periods of interest in 3D cinema, and with the exception of the current 3D bubble, each has been followed by sharp drop-offs in 3D filmmaking toward the end of each of those decades.
It’s clear from even a quick glance that the last couple of years have been the biggest in the history of cinema. But with no information on 2012 and beyond, it’s tough to say whether we’ll be seeing another steep decline in the coming years, or whether 3D really will become an integral part of the cinema experience. If 3D is indeed dying out, though, it’s safe to say it won’t be happening this year — roughly 50 3D titles are listed for 2011.
Discuss: Do you think the new 3D will stick around? Or will it crash as it has so many times before, only to be rediscovered by the next generation in the 2040s?