3D Movie Glasses


The scourge that is the recent rash of 3D movies is about to get worse… and even more expensive. That's because Sony Pictures Entertainment (via The Hollywood Reporter) recently sent a letter to theater owners informing them that after May 1 of next year, the studio will no longer provide 3D glasses free to patrons attending its movies projected in the 3D format.

Said Sony worldwide president of distribution Rory Bruer. "This is an issue that has to be resolved between us and our exhibition partners. We are trying to give them a very lengthy lead time in regards to the change in policy."

Now, the logical assumption would be to think that theater owners might simply pass that extra cost on to we movie-goers. But being the grumpy lot we are, tacking on another couple of bucks to the already high premiums we pay to see 3D movies isn't likely to go over very well. And theater owners know this. They're already reeling from the costs of having to install fancy digital 3D projection equipment and aren't likely to easily accept anything that may keep even more customers away in droves.

The issue of who should pay for the glasses has always been unclear, but the studios quelled concerns a few years back when they offered to take the hit to encourage owners to convert their equipment. But now that the format is widely available across the world, they say it's time for theaters to start carrying their share of the load. The ownership model is already in place in many countries across Europe, but it will be a completely different pitch here in the States where the glasses have always been free.

What this all boils down to is that the studios are tired of paying the $5 to $10 million additional it costs to launch 3D tentpole movies worldwide, and are now pitching it to exhibitors as a new revenue stream. In other words, they want us to buy a new pair of 3D glasses and keep them for future 3D events. That all sounds good, but what happens when I attend the first movie post-free 3D glasses and I realize my pair is sitting at home on the dresser? Yes, I'll have to fork out another two bucks for a new pair.

Here's an idea. How about you drop the $3-4 3D surcharge (what is that for anyway?), then maybe I'll think about buying my own glasses. On second thought, no I won't. I'll just pop on down the hall and watch it for a few dollars cheaper in crisp, shiny 2D. Like I've always done.