Attention, U.S. moviegoers.
Theater owners and Hollywood studios would like to thank you for keeping the movie industry afloat these past couple of years by raising the cost of movie tickets for 3-D and IMAX showings. The price hike hits Friday, March 26 across the nation and is described by The Wall Street Journal as the steepest increase in a decade.
Theaters owned by AMC Entertainment Inc., Regal Entertainment Group, and Cinemark Holdings Inc. are leading the charge to drain your wallet.
BTIG media analyst Richard Greenfield surveyed 10 markets across the country and reported to the LA Times yesterday:
On average, they are raising ticket prices for 3-D movies by 8% this weekend. The price of a movie in 3-D on large format Imax screens is going up even faster, rising an average 10% for adults and 12% for children. 2-D ticket prices, meanwhile, are going up 4% on average for adults and 3% for children. The average surcharge to see a movie in 3-D is now $4. For Imax 3-D, it has gone up to nearly $6.
Motivated by the success of James Cameron’s insanely overrated Avatar and Disney’s current chart-topper Alice in Wonderland, studios are more committed than ever to producing 3-D fare (Warner Bros. recently announced that all it’s tent-pole releases would be 3-D), the cost of which eventually hits your pocket via theater owners who typically charge in the $15-to-$16 range for 3-D screenings, citing that the added cost goes primarily towards upgrading theaters so they can play the 3-D films.
Of course, those prices don’t go back down once the theater has been equipped, nor will any money be spent on making sure that the assholes around you aren’t yapping on their mobile phones and that you don’t get a meat thermometer to the throat should you protest.
The supposed demand for 3-D is like a Jedi mind-trick. Studios roll out their movies and marketing campaigns to make people believe that they’re missing out on something special and … it works, or so it would seem based on a handful of flicks. But, hey, 3-D is cool if done with the right movie (like Big Momma’s House 3).
Avatar sucked because Cameron is a shitty writer, but the 3-D was pretty flawless. Still, the most irritating thing about the 3-D onslaught is the fact that the majority of the titles being released this year and next (i.e. Clash of the Titans, the Spiderman reboot) weren’t even shot in 3-D, but instead converted from 2-D in post (which always looks sloppy and has a dizzying effect). How’s that for sleight of hand?
Directors are being pressured into shooting in the format regardless if the flick truly benefits from 3-D and old films are being converted for re-release (i.e. 300). Even uber-director/producer Michael Bay found himself being pushed by Paramount/Dreamworks to utilize the technology in his upcoming Transformers 3. Bay won’t be shooting Optimus Prime in 3-D, but he is still weighing the whole conversion option … begrudgingly.
I’m used to having the A-team working on my films, and I’m going to hand it over to the D-team, have it shipped to India and hope for the best? This conversion process is always going to be inferior to shooting in real 3D. Studios might be willing to sacrifice the look and use the gimmick to make $3 more a ticket, but I’m not. Avatar took four years. You can’t just shit out a 3D movie. I’m saying, the jury is still out.
Cameron has echoed Bay’s comments in recent interviews.
This is another example of Hollywood getting it wrong. Sony says, “We’re doing Spider-Man in 3D.” The director doesn’t say, “Hey, I want to make the movie in 3D.” The studio says, “You want to direct this movie? You’re doing it in 3D, motherf*cker!” That’s not how it should be.
Of course, Cameron has also announced plans to convert Titanic into 3-D for future theatrical re-release. James Cameron is an asshole.
For a list of authentic and converted (fake) 3-D films, check out RealorFake3D.com.