What is the Future of the 3D Surcharge?

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Wed, 08/11/2010 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

In an admittedly unscientific and random survey we posed this question to exhibitors and movie patrons on various social media sites: How much longer will you pay/charge a premium to see a 3D movie? Here are some of the responses: Rod Sterling chief engineer
 JVC Technology Center The content is vastly different in quality agreed and some movies are worth it. But there are other things that are driving this as well. I’ve been to too many showings where the left and right eyes were reversed and I had to wear my glasses upside down. I complain to management some take it serious; others have no idea what you are talking about. This goes for digital and film based. I have seen one eye is correct and other eye the filter or glasses are rotated 90 degrees to cause ghosting in one eye.
If you want to charge a premium for 3D (or any other content) it had better be a premium system with content that is done correctly glasses that match the content and overall a better experience than the non-premium screen next to it don’t forget the audio as well.
3D is a system more than 2D and needs to be treated as such. You can have a great movie and shown poorly. We need more education to NATO and others if they want to continue to gain additional revenues.
I would even recommend creating a mastering logo or such that lets the customer know if real 3D or converted. I’m sure some directors would be for this Cameron as an example but the studios may not. This is also running into the homes as we see poorly done home systems and we don’t want to kill 3D because we did not show the effort to do it correctly.
 Tom Bert product marketing manager Barco I heard someone recently compare 3D movies with a trip to Disneyland. If it's something you don't do often you're thrilled about the trip and willing to pay the extra ticket fee. 
If you would go to Disneyland weekly after a while you'll start missing your local fair. 

I'm not a believer of 3D becoming the norm for watching any content in the coming years. The curve of available 3D content is somewhat overshooting now but will flatten out in the coming years. 

I'm afraid that all efforts from the 3D TV makers to push it in the home won't work. People don't want Disneyland in their living room; they want it to remain a special family event. What's better than a trip to your local cinema theatre (popcorn included of course ;-)) 

All this to come to the answer to your question: as 3D movies should/will remain something off the ordinary paying a premium will never be a problem. Adam MacDonald senior sales manager Datasat Digital Entertainment Great question and it really poses a problem. Many of the larger cinemas have done/are doing great business on 3D in many cases getting a return on their investments and before too long paying off their equipment. 

So in time they can and no doubt will reduce or stop charging for glasses or 3D premiums. But then what about the many many smaller sites and independents who are yet to get 3D? When they eventually do they will not really have a unique selling proposition over their rivals and if the have to charge and their rivals are not charging where does that leave them? 

Like the whole industry at the moment more questions than answers. Bernard Mendiburu strategic adviser Volfoni It's just like organic marketing and green washing. Paying a premium for organic food is okay Paying a premium for organic-labelled chemically loaded soap is not. Now the question is will there be a 3D quality label? I doubt it. And will the audience sort it out? My bet is that they'll wait for word of mouth. It's an especially damaging move when 3D screen scarcity reduces the box office window to two weeks four at best. The golden goose is still alive but there are a couple foxes in the hen house.