Should moviegoers pay for 3-D glasses?

One major movie studio has said it will stop footing the bill for 3-D glasses next year. So who picks up the cost?

By Kim Peterson Sep 30, 2011 4:01PM
What if moviegoers had to pay for their own 3-D glasses? That could be a reality next year, because the Hollywood studios that have been footing the bill are tired of it.

Sony Pictures Entertainment has said it will stop paying for 3-D glasses by next May, and other studios are likely considering the same thing, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It can cost a studio as much as $10 million to provide 3-D glasses for each blockbuster movie.

So who's going to pay for those glasses now? The burden shifts to theater owners, and they're not happy about it at all. Regal Entertainment (RGC), which saw its stock price drop more than 8% this week, warned studios this week that it may show fewer 3-D films as a result.

"We would be forced to evaluate this new economic model and program our screens accordingly," Regal said in a statement.

Director James Cameron thinks all films will be in 3-D in a few years. Check out his comments in the following video.

Post continues after video:
Sony suggested that theaters charge customers for the glasses, and allow them to re-use the glasses at other movies. That's the way they do it in Europe, where a pair of glasses costs about $1.36, the AP reports. Besides, it's better for the environment, Sony added.

Customers already have to pay more for a 3-D ticket, largely because theater owners have paid to convert their screens to 3-D. Will moviegoers accept another $2 or $3 charge for glasses, especially after getting them for free for years?

The controversy comes as 3-D appears to be losing steam in the U.S. Audience enthusiasm for 3-D movies has waned lately. Maybe that extra $3 to $5 in ticket price has something to do with it.

About 85% of domestic box office revenue for "Avatar" was from 3-D in 2009, according to The New York Times. But that dropped to only 47% for "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides."

Perhaps people felt that 3-D just wasn't necessary for every film. After all, many of them weren't filmed with 3-D cameras, but were later converted into 3-D.

Asking moviegoers to pay for their own 3-D glasses isn't going to help ticket sales one bit.

Tags: Hollywood
Sep 30, 2011 5:39PM
If your "goal" is to KILL an already struggling 3D movie market. Then go ahead and start charging customers for the glasses...
Sep 30, 2011 7:17PM

Hey all the blind people running movie theatres I have a tip for you!

Afraid that your market share is drying up? People not going to the theatre like they've done in the past? They're renting instead?

STOP PRICING THEM OUT OF YOUR THEATRE! I would go out to the movies once a week if I could afford it. I used to do it all the time, I enjoyed it! But then you started to charge two or three times more for a single ticket, than it costs to rent a dvd that my whole family can watch. $6 for a SMALL popcorn (butter EXTRA), $4 and up for a box of candy I could buy for 75 CENTS in any CVS, $5 for a MEDIUM pop when I could buy 4 two litters for that much!

For cripes sake! Start using some common sense! If you advertised that your theatre charged HALF what other theatres charged for their concessions you'd have more people coming to YOUR theatre and buying from YOUR concession stand. And you'd be selling out and still making a decent profit, instead of it going stale on your shelves while people snuck their food in!

Sep 30, 2011 5:58PM
I never returned my glasses after I used them.  I paid for them didn't I.
You know what Sony... you go right ahead and do that douche bags... and we the customers promise we'll stop going to see the movies too... because *EvErYbOdY* wants to pay 15.00 for the movie and 6 bucks for the soda... Besides *NoBoDy* will decide "screw Sony and download their movies for nothing... Keep crying corporate types about how much you're losing, this economy is a buyer's market... so keep jacking up the price and taking away the amenities - ask NETFLIX how well that worked out for them... Eye-rolling 
Sep 30, 2011 5:53PM
Other than Avatar, I really don't think 3-D is worth the extra effort or money.  I'm just as happy with standard 2-D.
Sep 30, 2011 6:13PM

"I think in our romance with technology, and our excitement at exploring all the possibilities of film and video, I think we've particularly lost something that we now have to reclaim. I think it's time to renew our romance with the word." -- Steven Spielberg


He's takling about the script, It's time to get back to well-written scripts and good, solid stories.


If 3D died tomorrow, I couldn't care less.

Sep 30, 2011 7:31PM
That's funny thought we already paid for the 3d glasses when we buy tickets to see a 3d movie.
Sep 30, 2011 7:42PM
What ever happened to the good ole make out place called the DRIVE IN???
Sep 30, 2011 6:53PM

Don't know where this author is from but you pay extra for the glasses here $3.00 a person and have been for YEARS!


We kept ours for the next movie we went to see that was 3D last year...and were told we would have to pay the $3.00 AGAIN even if we brought in our OWN glasses (and that is on top of the extra movie price)


Our Solution? We stopped going to the movies altogether and just watch the oldies on Netflix or rent them from Redbox. Carmike theater gets no more money from us.... and guess what ..we haven't missed a thing.


The kids didn't even want to see the latest Harry Potter movie.. said they would rather wait until it comes out on DVD... and enjoy it at home with their own snacks and relaxing on the couch.


And for us - a movie night at the theater is MORE than the cost of buying the movie or the blue-ray. NOT counting popcorn OR the glasses. The kids (who are all older now) said they won't pay to go to the movies with their friends either that it just costs way too much.


Now that they have to work for their money (just like we do) they all have realized the cost of goods and services and they too have chosen to not spend their money on that form of entertainment anymore either.


That is the only way this will change if people choose not to pay for it or go to the movies.  


Sep 30, 2011 5:47PM
I never go see 3-D movies.  Why pay $3.00 for a pair of glasses then I have to turn them in at the end of the movie.  "No way Jose".  I'll stick with the regular movies.
Sep 30, 2011 5:40PM
They already charge more than 2x the price for 3-D. I can live without it.
Sep 30, 2011 5:38PM

Hey hollywood the movies that you guys have been coming out with really SUCK!!!! So no wonder you want to charge for the glasses. (your movies aren't cutting the bills)


Sep 30, 2011 5:32PM
Looks like i will be headed to a 3D movie tonight so i can stash one in my pocket for later use ! Hot
Sep 30, 2011 6:02PM
Oh yes, yes, yes they don't make enough money.  In fact they should raise the price of admission.  I just feel so sorry for all those million-air people they really do need more money to keep up their life style.  Don't you think.
Sep 30, 2011 8:10PM
Hopefully this will kill this silly 3D trend.  It's nothing but a way for studios to milk more profits.  Very few films are worth seeing in 3D...heck, fewer and fewer are worth seeing at all.  Just seeing a regular movie has gotten too expensive for a lot of people.  I rarely go to the theatre and never pay full price.  I either wait for it to show at the 2 dollar discount theatre or catch it for a buck from Redbox.  Companys need to do like the rest of us in this country and realize there is a new economic reality in America. 
Sep 30, 2011 7:08PM

maybe they should take the $10 million they say it's costing them to supply 3D glasses out of the obscene salaries the actors are paid


Sep 30, 2011 5:56PM
We have been paying a $7.00 surcharge for 2 years now. What movie maker has been paying for these? I will nevr go see another 3D movie it is a waste of time and money.
Sep 30, 2011 5:37PM
WELL if you where not paying extra for the glasses being USED and returned , what was the couple extra dollars for?
Sep 30, 2011 5:52PM
We keep paying extra for a 3D film and we recycle the glasses. If we keep the glasses, when does the extra charge end or do they just keep tacking it on. As it is the prices keep going up, concessions keep going up, the size of what you buy keeps getting smaller. At what point should we just watch everything on DVD and skip the theaters? Most of the 3D flicks are just as good in 2D, they just want the extra money.
Sep 30, 2011 5:51PM

So the answer to a slagging 3-D market is to up the prices?


I've been avoiding 3-D whenever possible - I think Avatar may have been the last one I went to in 3-D...primarily because the only 2-D showing was in the middle of the work day around here.

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