With more than a dozen digital 3D releases coming out this year (including James Cameron’s sure-to-be-megahit Avatar in December 2009), studios have a vested interest in making sure films can be viewed by the audience in the way they were intended. According to Variety, Paramount is now offering to pay “virtual” print fees directly to theater owners who convert at least 50% of their screens to digital, with a higher fee offered for screens converted to 3D. Jeffrey Katzenberg of Dreamworks Animation wants there to be more than 2,000 3D-enabled theater screens in the country when their Monsters vs. Aliens is released on March 27. Currently, there are only 1,250 digital screens (out of 5,620) that have 3D capability. Read More »

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Dreamworks May Start Charging $5 Extra for 3D Movies

Variety reported this past week on some important goings-on in the world of 3D at the 3D Entertainment Summit in Century City. Apparently, 3D is the future of cinema (not surprising, given the summit’s title), but there were also some interesting statistics revealed:

  • Despite the growth in the number of 3D screens in America, they consistently generate twice the audience and three times the amount of revenue of 2D screens
  • The 3D screens playing Bolt, Meet the Robinsons, and Chicken Little outperformed their 2D counterparts by 2.5 to 1.
  • For Dreamworks Animation, the cost of making a film into 3D is an extra $15 million

One of the most significant quotes comes from Jeffrey Katzenberg of Dreamworks. According to Katzenberg, 3D is “a premium experience and has the consumer paying a premium price.” Katzenberg stated that Dreamworks will start charging $5 extra for their 3D films starting with Monsters vs. Aliens in 2009.

I’m quite ambivalent about this news. On the one hand, I understand that more work is required for 3D films, both from the producers of a film and from the theaters that must somehow project the images and have the infrastructure in place to distribute glasses, etc. On the other hand, I don’t feel like the quality of the 3D films I’ve seen recently (specifically Bolt and Beowulf which both would have cost me about $10-12), would have motivated me to fork over an extra $5 just to catch them in 3D.

Editors (Peter Sciretta) Note: In San Francisco, most theaters charge a $2.50 surcharge for 3D films, but I’m not sure if that is the case all around the country.

Discuss: Do guys think it’d be worth it?

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