I’m not a fan of 3D movies. I either don’t notice the effect or it’s not as strong as I expect it to be. It also doesn’t help that I wear glasses, so wearing a set of 3D glasses on top of them isn’t comfortable. Finally, I’m not a fan because ticket prices for 3D movies cost a considerable amount more than 2D.
But a recent story on FilmSchoolRejects.com points to an idea being tossed around by Joe Paletta, CEO of Spotlight Theaters: lower the cost of 3D tickets, but raise the cost of 2D tickets to cover the difference. So, basically, 2D moviegoers will be paying for 3D tickets anyway.
“Among the bigger changes will probably see the 3D-upcharge disappear. 3D charges will help increase the overall ticket-price but, as an industry, I think we’ll see a blend begin to emerge in 2012, where patrons will have a single price for both 2D and 3D films. 2D prices will increase and 3D prices will decrease.”
I hope, hope, hope this idea isn’t adopted by every theater chain. I think ticket prices in Oklahoma are fair. Very fair, in fact, especially at fantastic theaters like the Warren Theatre in Moore. I don’t go to as many movies as I used to, mostly because of time, but if prices jump in order to cover the 3D expense, I definitely don’t see myself frequenting theaters nearly as often as I do now.
If this does happen, I’d much rather wait for most movies to come out on home video. If a 2D ticket is $12, why not wait several months and buy the Blu-ray for $3 more? That way, if I don’t like it, I can sell it for $10 and only be out $5 for the experience. Plus, with a home video release, there are usually special features I can enjoy. And, I get to watch the movie in my own home and not be bothered by less-than-courteous people like there is potential of in theaters.
I don’t see this becoming the norm, for multiple reasons:
- One is I don’t think 3D is here to stay. I think it’s a fad and will have its moment in the sun, then will fade away. On the other hand, I can see this change in ticket prices happening. Reason? Well, if movie theaters bump prices up by 25 percent, and 3D does go away, then movie theaters have already succeeded by increasing prices and there won’t be lost revenue from lack of 3D ticket sales.
- Another is the overall economy of things: While ticket prices are nice in Oklahoma, they’re much more expensive elsewhere. And on top of that, concession prices are too high for the product you’re getting (no one wants to pay $4 for a box of gummy bears). If tickets go up, I’ll have to spend the $4 on that rather than my gummy bears, and that hurts the theater even more since they get very little to zero money from ticket prices.
- Older moviegoers could be considered grumpy moviegoers. The younger crowd wants to text, talk, Tweet during movies. As an older moviegoer, I’ll be damned if I went to a theater that allowed texting and such during a movie. It’s one reason I don’t go to certain movies, or go to the theater on certain days and at certain times. And if the ticket prices rise, then I’m going to have more incentive to stay home.
- The blockbuster and Netflix/streaming services: Unless a movie is based off an already-established property (like “Transformers” or “Hunger Games”), the chances of it raking in the dough is slim. Thus, people aren’t spending money on movies they’re unsure of. They’ll just wait until it hits Netflix, which they spend $8 a month on (which is less than a movie ticket, but gives you access to thousands of hours of content).
Theater chains would be wise not to be gung-ho about this idea.