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Movie fans, get ready to be priced out of the market. We’ve been talking for months now here on Cinema Blend about over-charging for 3D ticket prices, the rush to convert more theaters to the format, and the alarming rise in the number of films slated to be released in 3D this year whether or not they actually warrant it. 3D is in heavy demand and here’s the next step: price gouging.
Right now a ticket for a 3D movie will already cost you three to five dollars more, depending on where you live. But The Wall Street Journal says with a summer full of 3D movies on the horizon they’re going even higher. Theater owners are hiking ticket prices as much as 26% in anticipation of the release of DreamWorks’ new animated movie How to Train Your Dragon. It’s Dragon that really kicks off the new 3D craze. The week after it’ll fight with Clash of the Titans for 3D movie space and from then it’s on to a summer where literally every major tentpole will be released with goofy glasses. Hollywood smells blood in the water. Unfortunately, it’s your blood. Tickets for 3D movies could shoot as high as $15 per ticket, $17 for IMAX 3D showings. In some cases tickets may flirt with $20.
None of this is a problem as long as 2D showings are available and as ticket prices continue to climb it seems inevitable that audiences will start flocking to those as an alternative. Just imagine trying to take a family of four to the latest DreamWorks 3D offering. That’s $60 without the popcorn. Seeing movies in 2D suddenly makes a lot of sense. Except… not so fast. Hollywood is rushing to increase 3D theater capacity, and by extension decrease the number of screens showing 2D. Those 2D showings you’re planning on attending are dwindling rapidly. How much do you really love 3D?
The really insulting thing here is that this price hike comes after a year in which Hollywood earned record-setting revenues. They claim that 3D cost more to produce and to some extent that’s true, but it’s not like they’re hard up for money, and it’s not like shooting in 3D suddenly got 26% more expensive overnight. Avatar seemed to have no problem turning a profit at the old price. Meanwhile the economy is in shambles, people are struggling, out of work, and more in need of the escapism movies can provide than ever. Yet here we are, on the precipice of the biggest ticket price hike in recent history, all in the name of 3D. Don’t believe it. Like Texaco setting their oil wells on fire to inflate the price per barrel, 3D is just an excuse to suck more money out of your wallet. I was lucky enough to catch How to Train Your Dragon in 2D, and it’s fantastic. 3D? You don’t need it.