3D MAY OR MAY NOT BE HERE TO STAY, BUT THE GLASSES ARE
Okay, without getting too technical about it, here's how 3D movies actually work: The screen is actually filled with more visual information than normal, and the glasses are actually light-filters that render certain specific areas of that visual clutter invisible, creating the illusion of layers and thus depth. Y'know what this same basic technology can also do? Let you see things on a screen that aren't otherwise visible at all.
Back in 1960, this was the gimmick to William Castle's original "13 Ghosts." Audiences were given "Illusion-O" ghost-viewing cards with separate blue and red vision-slots. Looking through the blue slot would keep the film's optical-effect ghosts invisible, while "brave" viewers could get a clear look through the red slot. Can you think of good modern applications for that concept using our much more advanced modern 3D tech? Because I can.
Actually, I can think of some BAD ones, too - imagine 3D glasses acting as a kind of cinematic "ad-block" option: Buy a "regular" ticket and the background of a given film might be packed with product placement (i.e. "real" products on billboards, signs, props, etc), but pay extra for the glasses and watch the film with such things filtered out. That'd be pretty awful all around, but don't think for a minute I'm the first person to imagine it as a possibility.
But what I'd rather think of are the more beneficial applications: Alternate-language subtitles visible on a case-by-case basis, for example. Or perhaps an "info-graphic" set-up a'la "Pop-Up Video." In certain cases, I could even imagine it being utilized to project an R and PG-13-rated movie on the same screen, by making certain instances of bloodletting or nudity invisible without the glasses. And that's just off the top of my head...
WHEN YOU BUY POPCORN, THE REESE'S PIECES WILL ALREADY BE MIXED IN SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO BUY A BOX AND DO IT YOURSELF
...Other people do this, right?
Bob Chipman is a film critic and independent filmmaker. If you've heard of him before, you have officially been spending way too much time on the internet. Recently, he wrote a book.