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Did you know that when you shell out 3 or 4 extra bucks for a 3D movie ticket, that doesn't even include the price of the glasses? Turns out the 3D surcharge is something that's been slapped on by the movie exhibitor for the sake of the "enhanced experience"-- and to cover the cost of installing the 3D systems to begin with-- and the glasses themselves have been paid for by the studios, which will shell out as much as $5 to $10 million to provide the glasses for their 3D releases.
But that's probably not going to last much longer, and it could mean that your 3D movie tickets will get even more expensive. THR reports that Sony has sent a letter to theater owners announcing that as of May 1, 2012, they will no longer pay for the 3D glasses that go with their 3D movies, which next summer will include Men In Black III and The Amazing Spider-Man. The expectation is that other studios will follow suit--the only reason they started paying for the glasses to begin with was an attempt to get the theaters to adopt 3D, and now that the technology is installed in theaters pretty much everywhere, the studios seem to think they've done their part.
On some level you can't blame the studios for trying to get out from under this cost-- they put in the money to make the films in 3D, and it's not like they pay for other things to enhance the moviegoing experience, like more comfortable seats or sound systems in theaters. But every movie theater owner knows now that 3D revenues are on the decline (events like The Lion King in 3D notwithstanding), and the idea of charging customers even more to help cover the cost of 3D glasses ought to seem suicidal. With every new 3D release moviegoers seem to learn that the novelty is wearing off and the extra cost isn't worth it; if 3D prices jump even higher, won't the decline just get all the more steep?
It seems inevitable that 3D ticket prices will go up once studios stop paying for glasses, but there might be a silver lining: theaters may limit the number of 3D showings, knowing that they'll be less popular and more expensive. The 3D trend may not be dying out as a result of this, but is it naive to hope we might get more 2D screenings instead?
(Image via Deklofenak/Shutterstock)