Long-relegated to theme parks and carnival side shows, 3D films had become a rather tacky blast from the past. Usually consisting of a patchwork of different clips, 3D films relished in showing huge tarantulas, streams of running water and beautiful blossoming flowers. Designed to give audiences a cheap thrill, 3D movies also became synonymous with the flimsy red and green glasses that everyone had to wear.
More discerning movie audiences could have been forgiven for thinking that they had been resigned to history.
However, with Cameron's $237 million blockbuster opening in London's West End, it would appear that 3D films might have made a comeback.
Competing against the theatre district's traditional London shows, last week Avatar in 3D made West End audiences swap their usual theatres for movie theatres as box office figures went through the roof.
Thanks to the growing popularity of London theatre breaks, audiences in the capital have long been used to seeing stars of stage and screen live. Can this new trend in 3D cinema really offer the same experience to cinemagoers?
Of course, Avatar is not simply a 3D film in the same way as the early films are. The glasses are still there, albeit slightly cooler looking, but that?s about the only thing. Filmed by state-of-the-art steroescopic cameras, Cameron insists that the 15-year development of the film was down to the fact that he had to wait for the technology to develop enough to portray his vision of the film.
Initially set for a 1999 release, to follow up Cameron?s Oscar-winning smash Titanic, it would be another 10 years before the film was ready. Renowned for its breathtaking imagery and stunning visuals, Cameron said to the BBC at the film?s huge West End premiere: "Tonight we'll pull the cover back and show the world, so to speak.?
Not everyone is convinced by the latest flood of 3D films though. US movie director Darren Aronofsky said he was "unconvinced" by 3D film technology and considers it little more than a gimmick.
Since the unparalleled success of Avatar however, it seems that other production companies are keen to produce their own 3D movies. Rumours are even abound that the upcoming sequel to the 1980s Ghostbusters? franchise, Ghostbusters III, will be shot with steroscopic cameras.
So, perhaps, 3D movies will be making a triumphant return to the world of cinema. The sheer visual quality of Avatar has certainly caught the imaginations of some very high-powered Hollywood producers. However, with a price tag in excess of $237 million we?ll have to wait for a little while yet before 3D films become the cinematic mainstay. Until then, audiences are advised to simply enjoy the 3D rides when they come along.