Movie Theaters May Start Charging For 3-D Glasses

In case you thought that part of that higher ticket price you pay for seeing a 3-D movie goes to pay for the glasses required to see the often poorly done, post-production 3-D effects, you’re mistaken. It’s the studios behind these big-budget cash-ins that have been footing the bill, but that could all change in the next year.

Sony Pictures Entertainment has notified theater owners that as of May 2012, it will no longer pay for its RealD glasses, meaning that the theaters will be forced to pay for them — which really means that you’ll end up paying for them in one form or another.

Theater owners have already had to pony up to convert their screens to show 3-D movies, so it’s expected that this news will not be greeted warmly by exhibitors, especially when glasses for one 3-D movie can cost a studio anywhere from $5 to $10 million, the Reporter says it comes out to about $.50 per theater ticket.

From the Hollywood Reporter:

Sony, along with other studios, is in favor of moving toward an ownership model, requiring moviegoers to buy their 3D glasses at the theater (the studios argue that it could be a new revenue stream for exhibitors).

Such a system is already in place in a number of foreign territories, including the U.K., Australia, Italy and Spain. However, American consumers are now used to getting the glasses for free when they pay a 3D surcharge (usually 3 or 4 dollars), and the habit could be hard to break.

Fox has previously tried to stop paying for the 3D glasses needed for its movies, but those plans have never been realized because of the negative response from exhibitors. If the Sony deal proves successful, expect the other studios to follow suit.

Sony to Stop Paying for 3D Glasses in May 2012 (Exclusive) [Hollywood Reporter via AVclub.com]