If you’re one of the millions of theater-goers annoyed by the extra surcharge tacked on to every 3D ticket, we’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that the price differential between a 3D ticket and a 2D ticket will most likely be shrinking. However, before you start cheering and writing "thank you" letters to the movie theater chains, realize that in order to offset the price reduction many theaters will just raise the price of a traditional 2D screening ticket.
That’s the idea being floated by Spotlight Theaters CEO Joe Paletta in a recent article appearing in Screentrade Magazine (check out the online copy here).
Paletta says that the future of movie exhibition looks bright and that big changes are on the horizon. One of the biggest, as he sees it, will be a move to eliminate the 3D movie surcharge. The increased price of a 3D ticket has been justified in several ways since Hollywood decided to wholeheartedly embrace the technology a few years ago (primarily based on the cost of keeping a supply of re-usable 3D glasses and the price of retrofitting theaters to exhibit films in the format), but Paletta thinks that’s about to change. He envisions a future where 3D and 2D ticket prices will “blend” together – with 3D prices coming down and 2D prices rising to make up the difference. What a glorious future for all of us!
As Roger Ebert points out, this feels a lot like punishing consumers who don’t enjoy 3D and don’t care to view films in the format.
Plus, it’s based on weird logic that could only come from people in the movie industry. 2011 was the worst year for theaters since way back in 1995 – and the main cause cited by consumers for staying away in droves was the price of a ticket. While this plan will make 3D tickets more affordable, everyone else winds up paying more than they already were. Since 2D films are still the standard, this means most people will be paying more – not less – to see a film in the theater. That’s sure to get those attendance numbers up.
Of course, this is all just the speculation of one industry insider – and maybe it won’t come to pass. One thing seems clear, though: Hollywood needs to address the issue of 3D ticket prices before patrons become frustrated with the format. This is one way to do it – but probably not a way that’s going to sit well with most customers.
What do you think? Would you be okay with paying more for a 2D screening in order to have cheaper 3D tickets? Let us know by sharing your thoughts below.