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Sony to stop paying for your 3D glasses

09.28.2011

This news item might be cause for celebration for some, as it could signal a big step in the slow and steady decline of 3D movies.

Many people don't know this, myself included until a few minutes ago, but when you're shelling out $3-$4 extra for a 3D feature, that price does not actually include the 3D glasses that you're handed before you walk in. I long figured that was the bulk of the price, as outside of the one time conversion of the theater to 3D, what else was there to pay for? As it turns out, just "the experience."

So who's footing the bill for the glasses? The studio. Way back when, in order to help get theaters to convert to 3D, Disney offered to pay for the glasses themselves. Other studios followed suit, and thus the standard practice was born. But with glasses adding $5 to $10M to the cost of a big budget film, many studios are mulling over the idea of ditching this policy, with Sony being the first to act.

The studio says they will no longer shell out for glasses, and it's now the responsibility of the theater to pay for them. With razor thin margins on ticket sales already (the majority of a movie theater's revenue comes from concessions, which is why 5 cents of popcorn costs $5), they're not going to be too happy.

Why does this signify the death of 3D? Well, if all studios follow Sony's lead (I imagine at least a few more will), and the theaters have to eat the cost, they're not going to have nearly as much incentive to plug 3D. And if the cost is passed on to consumers instead, increasing ticket prices for 3D movies even further? With the format already suffering, it's enough to make people walk away from it for good, and could ultimately kill 3D as more than ever, moviegoers realize it's simply not worth the 30-100% markup.

Extra Tidbit: Perhaps they'll just make people buy glasses once, and if you bring your own you don't have to pay extra? That seems like a bit of a logistical nightmare though.
Source: THR

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