Theater Chains Raising 3-D Ticket Prices Today

Beginning today, the Wall Street Journal reports that many major movie chains, including Regal Entertainment Group, Cinemark Holdings Inc. and AMC Entertainment Inc., are raising prices for 3-D movie tickets. It reflects the steepest price increase in a decade. 3-D ticket prices are rising by as much as 26% in some areas, though the average increase will be closer to 8%. The average increase for IMAX screens is 10%. Some theaters in metropolitan areas will be charging nearly $20 for IMAX admissions.

The WSJ article, which is behind a subscription-wall, acknowledges that movie studios are wary the price increases could spark a consumer backlash:

Some movie-studio executives expressed concern that the price increases might be too much too soon. “The risk we run is that we will no longer be the value proposition that we as an industry have prided ourselves on,” said a distribution executive at one major studio, who added that he was worried movies would become “a luxury item.”

But studios also like the increases because they split box office proceeds with theater operators. Dan Fellman, who is president of domestic distribution at Warner Bros., a studio that can’t even be bothered to make true 3-D films, approved of the price increases. “The exhibitors are trying to push the needle on ticket prices and see where it ends up,” he said. “Sure, it’s a risky move, but so far charging a $3 or $4 premium has had no effect on consumers whatsoever, so I’m in favor of this experiment to raise prices even more. There may be additional revenue to earn here.” Warners will open Clash of the Titans, a regular film that has been retrofitted for 3-D screens, next week.

Related reading in today’s Wall Street Journal: a piece called Will This 3-D Fad Fizzle Too? In the piece, Peter Decherney, a professor at UPenn, drew a smart parallel to the first 3-D bust. He said that in the 1950s, “3-D died out when the studios realized that television was a boon for Hollywood, not competition.” He predicts the same will happen again. “As studios find ways to profit from Internet and mobile distribution, they will be less interested in competing with new technologies.”

Read more 3-D

  • http://spungella.blogspot.com Jean-Denis Haas

    Yeah, not a big fan of that. With Netflix, Netflix streaming and Blu-rays on the big screen, there are not that many reasons to go to the theater anymore. 3D is not going to motivate me unless they get rid of the glasses.

  • Donald C.

    That’s not a smart idea if they want 3D to continue.

  • carlos

    I’m done with 3-d movies. It’s already hard enough to shell out $9 for a regular movie, forget about whatever they charge for you to put on silly glasses and watch a bunch of pho’ 3d.

  • http://tillmyhands.blogspot.com Adam VM

    No way in hell will I pay 15.50 a ticket. Oh well. So long 3d, and so long motion sickness and headaches.

  • Thomas Dee

    Just when they found a short-to-live gimmick to trick suckers into seeing their slop, they go on ahead and smother out the spark. Genius move.

  • Mike Johnson

    This is a VERY bad idea. In our faltering economy, with ticket prices already too high as it is, not to mention the cost of concessions or the constant barrage of rudeness we all have to face from our fellow theater-goers who can’t seem to put down their damn cell phones for two hours, will only trigger the inevitable demise of 3D.

    I am one of the people who has always enjoyed 3D, and it is sad that greedy executives (are there any other kind?) can’t pull their collective heads out of their collected behinds long enough to realize that they are slitting their own throats.

    Damn….

  • http://www.ovinedelcu.com ovi

    i could be wrong(i doubt it), but i think this is called INFLATION.

    you know, when the government prints money like its free?

    yeah, like that.

  • creepy

    I could care less for 3D and dislike wearing the terminator glasses where the picture gets dimmed out anyway. Avatar was able to scam a couple of billion while the picking was ripe. Its down hill from here for 3D ticket sales.

  • Chris

    Naw… INFLATION is for stuff we need not luxury items that can wait to be purchased..too too bad. oh well I guess my 3D movie days are over maybe unless if its a movie Ive been dying to go see will i shell out 20 bucks per person..Last 3D ticket I bought was 16 bucks for Alice in Wonderland no way i’ll be shelling out that much dough for something that will be on DVD in 3 months!

  • http://www.coveringthemouse.com Kurtis Findlay

    Up here in Vancouver, BC ticket prices are normally $12, and $15 if you want to see it in 3D!! I’d be perfectly happy not to see movies in 3D but I find that I don’t have the option. The last couple of movies I saw in 3D Alice and Up, didn’t have non-3D showings at any theatre in Vancouver or the surrounding area!

    I don’t support this price hike as I’d already rather just buy the movie on DVD for $15 and not go to the theatre. Raising prices won’t be helping anything.

  • http://deleted OtherDan

    Did Walmart buy IMAX too?

  • http://www.forthebirdsblog.blogspot.com Michael J. Ruocco

    The only people who lose here are the people who thought this strategy would work, & the suckers who are willing to spend that much money for seeing a 3D movie.

    I live in NYC, & as everyone knows, everything in New York is expensive & movie tickets are no exception. I’m an average movie go-er, but also a college student, so the last thing that I want to do is spend money that I could be spending on tuition, art supplies or food on something as expensive & unbelievably unrewarding as a 3D movie ticket. I’ve gone to a few 3D movies & they were ok, but definitely not worth the extra 5 bucks. I’m well satisfied seeing a movie in 2D, so if anything, good riddance!

    By the way, I never gave back any of the glasses like I was supposed to. If spent hard-earned money seeing this movie in 3D, I’m keeping the stupid glasses! I can use them for Halloween next year, when I dress up as a Blues Brother.

  • http://thisisonlya.blogspot.com robcat2075

    Geez, I feel like I got in on the end of an era when I saw Avatar for only $8 yesterday. That was for the first show in the morning, now $10.

    “3-D died out when the studios realized that television was a boon for Hollywood, not competition.”

    No, 3D died out way before that. He’s manufacturing a factoid to support his thesis.

  • humming

    Perfect timing guys, with a promising blockbuster that just opened TODAY.

    Here’s a solution, all of you: go scout out a theatre that does NOT show the film in 3D! I live near NYC, I refused to see BOLT in 3D after hearing about the executive meddling, and found that the closest theater that had a standard reel of film was in the Bronx! It’s a longer trip, but may be worth it!

  • fishmorgjp

    Eh, 3-D died out in the ’50s, in the ’80s… because it was used to boost mediocre product. Not at all like today. What, we’ll all soon have 3-D TV? Wow! All those good programs and commercials in 3-D! Hey!

  • http://mayberabies.blogspot.com Raven M.

    Pfft… seeing as how I’m in BC and already can’t afford movie tickets, this will be solidifying my inability to see movies in a theater. Even if I could scrape up enough to see a regular movie (which I’ve thought about doing since there’s some stuff coming up that I’m interested in), there’s no way I’m going to fork over for the “3D experience”. I’d rather go to a museum or a zoo or something for the extra cash. That’s just me though. Maybe other people will prove me wrong.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    “What, we’ll all soon have 3-D TV? Wow! All those good programs and commercials in 3-D! Hey!”

    The only way I see 3-D working is if the porn industry backs it up, it’s a proven fact. Otherwise, it’s price hike’s not making me any more interesting in setting foot into one of those places anytime soon (unless the newly formed Rave Motion Pictures that operates the theaters in my town try to keep prices down anyway).

  • Mitch Kennedy

    Ticket prices are already too high, and 3D ticket prices even higher! The movies I want to see are often in 3D — I don’t want the 3D, I just want the movie, but I’m forced to buy into the whole package. I can’t use my previous movie’s 3D glasses because the price of the new movie’s glasses is already included in every ticket. All of these bloated prices have severely reduced my theatre attendance to once every few months. If I have to pay any more, I will just stop going entirely.

  • Ken Layton

    Raising prices in a bad economy is a stupid move. It already costs too much to go to a theater!

  • PipEye

    My gripe with 3-d is that they go out of the way to add unnecessary “thrusting” scenes just to get you to say “wow, that sure was 3-d!”. If it wasn’t 3-d, the scene would never even have been done. The 3-d parts are just gratuitous, and story wise3-D adds little to nothing.

  • hannah

    i’m glad i live near a theater that has a $3 matinee

    3d more like 3dumb

  • droosan

    Just shelled out $17 to see HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON in 3-D, in Burbank. It was $16 for ALICE IN WONDERLAND, just last week.

    Thing is, if the ticket prices for either movie were still the standard (LA metro-area) $10 .. I’d probably have gone to see both two or three times each.

    But at $17 .. once is ‘enough’ for the theater. Then I’ll just wait for the blu-ray/DVD.

  • View Master

    The 3D up to now has looked like crap… Hopefully this last greedy price hike will kill it off and we can get back to our regular viewing…..

    Greed, for lack of a better word……was not such a good idea.

  • Steve

    Yet another reason to boycott 3D movies. The other being the fact that this 3D fad discriminates against traditional hand drawn 2d animation.

  • Gobo

    Whoops! Way to go, AMC & Cinemark, et al. You just killed your new cash cow.

  • http://www.michaelspornanimation.com/splog/ Michael Sporn

    In New York they’ve taken the opportunity to raise rates on normal 2D films as well. An extra $.50. 3D’s a horrible fad so that Jeffrey Katzenberg can throw things at his audience. Not to mention headaches, digital breakup and watering eyes.
    In NY there’s no option. See it in 3D for $16.50 (the new price) or don’t see it.

  • richard fox

    I disagree about the fading of 3d as a fad.
    I think film and animation has become as
    much about technological advancement as it
    has about good story telling. We are techno
    junkies, looking for the next enhancement of
    the natural senses. 3d might fade, but tons
    of other technological novelties will take its
    place.

  • http://www.cineforum.ca/ Reg Hartt

    There is BIG difference between the 1950′s and now.

    The reason people got splitting head aches watching 3D films was not due to the films but to the projectionists in the theaters.

    3D requires equal intensity from both projectors. If one is off the effect is lost. If the films are run out of sync that brings on the pain as well.

    With the move towards digital projection those problems no longer exist.

    I saw a POPEYE cartoon on this site that had been converted from 2D to 3D. I wondered how it was done, surfed the web, found out and found out a good deal more.

    Primarily I found that the common opinions regarding 3D in the 1950′s are wrong.

    3D films were embraced by the public eagerly. Films like DIAL M FOR MURDER and HONDO that supposedly had limited 3D release I found out had the reverse and that in spades. As well, the 3D presentations outgrossed the 2D ones. And the ratio of good 3D films to poor ones was very high.

    There is nothing more beautiful than watching a stereoscopic film.

    After decades of seeing Monument Valley in John Ford’s films to see it in 3D in TAZA, SON OF COCHISE is breathtakingly beautiful.

    I installed in The Cineforum the most advanced 3D technology in the world. Then I tracked down nearly every 3D motion picture ever made. I even acquired a process that allows me to convert 2D films to xlnt 3D.

    Two weeks ago I had a professor by from Austria who came because he had heard about what is happening here. To his surprise the academics he spoke with at Toronto universities knew nothing about me or this place but that’s how it has always been with those closest to us.

    He came for the animation program.

    I showed him a bit of the 1933 KING KONG in 3D. He was staggered.

    Interestingly, stereophonic sound was introduced at the same time as stereoscopic films. The critics were as opposed to it as they were to 3D. Bosley Crowther, in his review of THE HOUSE OF WAX, complains about the sound coming from all over the theater.

    I am not talking about anaglyph (colored glasses) 3D.

    I am talking about state of the art digital 3D seen with wireless shutter glasses.

    I converted METROPOLIS, THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI, DRACULA, FRANKENSTEIN, THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, 200 MOTELS, FIGHT CLUB, FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, EASY RIDER and more.

    They look astounding.

    Buster Keaton in 3D is a whole new experience.

    Before you go investing in 3D television sets take a look at what else is available.

    For the cost of one 3D television set you can get a whole lot more and it will be way better.

    If you are in the Toronto area come by and take a look.

    There are always those who can’t see the future except through the eye of the past. Those are the people who called SNOW WHITE Disney’s folly.

    • http://www.lumenactus.com Tom Konkle

      Hi

      What have you converted of Buster Keaton? Can we see it as a file here in LA?

  • Marc Baker

    ‘Yet another reason to boycott 3D movies. The other being the fact that this 3D fad discriminates against traditional hand drawn 2d animation.’

    HAHA! Good one! In my area, (Western Pennsylvania) ticket prices tend to go up slowly. The prices tend to be in the $7.00 range, but one theater charges $5.00 for tickets before 6PM. I don’t know if either of them jumped onto the 3D bandwagon, but i wouldn’t be surprised. Hollywood’s greed never ceases to amaze me.

  • Justin Spurlin

    What’s a “value proposition”?

  • http://fantazmigoriuh.wordpress.com Charles K.

    Wow. Having read all the above comments, It seems somewhat unusual that I have yet to see any film in 3-D.

    Fortunately, the main cinemas around Baltimore have offered 2-D versions of all the 3-D films that I have been more than happy to go and see for the simple reason that I am unable to view 3-D images at all (weak right eye, etc.).

    Personally I think 3-D is a gimmick that adds no value whatsoever to the movie-going experience, which only means that I am now more open to doing something else on a Friday/Saturday night besides going to the pictures.

    Adding a couple of bucks for the sake of 3-D means, as any good economist can explain, you reduce the size of your market. It’s like making you pay an extra $10 a month for HD TV. For some (myself included) that’s $10 too much to makeit worth my while.

    It’s a move for short-term gain only. Hollywood and the theatre companies would do better to look at the long-term and how much they stand to lose (economic loss) over the next 10 years.

  • hannah

    “There are always those who can’t see the future except through the eye of the past. Those are the people who called SNOW WHITE Disney’s folly.”

    and there are those that thought HD DVD was the future

    “the eyes of the past” is an awfully big assumption to make while we’re still in, ya know, THE PAST

    quite frankly, i’m still waiting for SMELl-O-VISION!!!!!

  • tgentry

    This will effectively kill off 3D. I was already looking to see Dragon in 2D because I didn’t want to pay the extra cash. With the costs the way they are I will not be taking my family to 3D movies. Putting down $50 to see a movie is a joke. The funny thing is the 3D effect is gradually wearing off to the point where I don’t even notice that things are coming off the screen anymore. It really feels “flat” again. I guess my brain has adjusted. Definitely not worth the high cost anymore. The novelty is gone.

  • Nonimus

    We’re at the grumbling boundary between yesterday and tomorrow. In time, people will forget that movies used to cost 25 cents… or $5… and we’ll get used to paying for the experience of big-screen, big-sound spectacle. After all, how much does a ticket cost for a music concert, sports game, or stage play? These events are also finding their way into movie houses. In that context, cinema-showings (of any kind of performance) are a freakin’ deal. And if you can forgo one cup o’ coffee for the week, there’s your extra $2 or $5 to cover the inflated price.

    Having said that, … fuck ‘em. It’s too expensive for my taste. I’ll stick with coffee.

  • http://www.segaltoons.com Steve Segal

    Steve says:
    “…this 3D fad discriminates against traditional hand drawn 2d animation.”

    It is more difficult, but it can be done as evidenced by the number of hand drawn shorts that came out in 1953.

  • troy joseph reyes

    yes but are the movies any good? dont dare ask me to pay more for effects if the movie itself sucks-which-so far-is the case. so- no- this wont last.

  • http://joeywaggonerstoontime.blogspot.com/ Joey Waggoner

    Sheesh.

    Eventually the ticket price will be as much as buying the movie on DVD.

  • Sprat

    Roger Ebert on Twitter: “3D is a distracting, annoying, anti-realistic, juvenile abonimation to use as an excuse for higher prices.”

  • Sprat

    Ebert, part two, from his “How to Train Your Dragon” review:

    “Note: The movie is being shown in both 3-D and 2-D. The 3-D adds nothing but the opportunity to pay more to see a distracting and unnecessary additional dimension. Paramount has threatened theaters that if they don’t clear screens for “Dragon” despite the current glut of 3-D films, the studio won’t let them show it in 2-D. This displays real confidence in 3-D.”

  • Oliver

    Reg Hartt, ‘upconverting’ classic 2D movies to 3D is as stupid and disrespectful as ‘colorizing’ Chaplin and giving his films a pop soundtrack.

    “Buster Keaton in 3D is a whole new experience.”

    One Keaton never wanted nor intended, and it’s not for you to presume otherwise.

  • http://www.cineforum.ca/ Reg Hartt

    3D adds density to a flat image.

    Would Keaton have wanted 3D.

    Well, Buster embraced technology from the get go.

    He was booked into a live theater tour at top theater prices when he turned his back on that, embraced the new medium of motion pictures (looked upon with disdain by most theater people as, at best, illegitimate theater and, at worst, bastard theater, and worked for way less money).

    So would Buster have embraced 3D?

    I can answer with a resounding YES.

    There are details in 2D films that are there but which we do not see on a flat screen. The sets in CALIGARI and METROPOLIS look even more stunning in 3D because I can see more of what went into them.

    As well, there are details in Boris Karloff’s FRANKENSTEIN makeup which we do not see on a flat screen.

    Does this make the movie better?

    Not really.

    But it does reveal more of the quality of the craftsmanship that went into their production.

    This argument is as old as motion pictures which themselves were first viewed with contempt and disdain.

    I am not a fan of colorized movies. I like them in black and white if they were made in black and white.

    But great movies sitting on a shelf because TV stations will not play them in black and white prevents new generations from discovering the genius of the people who made them.

    I have a copy of KISS ME KATE in 3D. Most of us only see it in 2D.

    The 3D experience is completely different emotionally.

    I can feel the weight of the dancers when they move. 3D adds density where there was none.

    That is what I mean about watching Keaton. Was there ever anyone so physical with his comedy.

    The 2D screen captures only a small bit of the magic of that. 3D brings out the full 100%.

    Hand drawn animation produced in 3D again looks damned impressive. There are the short cartoons that were done but there are also some later features that were designed for 3D.

    This is an exciting medium to work in.

    To disdain it because most of those working in it so far have not used it at its best is silly.

  • Gobo

    “Personally I think 3-D is a gimmick that adds no value whatsoever to the movie-going experience”

    Charles K, since you admit that you’ve never actually seen a 3D movie, I’d recommend actually SEEING one before making a statement like that. 3D absolutely adds to the movie-going experience, when done well. It doesn’t add $8 worth of value to the movie-going experience, however, and I think consumers are going to balk at the higher prices.

  • Oliver

    “So would Buster have embraced 3D? I can say with a resounding YES.”

    No, you can’t.

    “I like them in black and while if they were made in black and white.”

    I like them in 2D if they were made in 2D, regardless of what you fantasize these long-dead filmmakers’ to have been.

    “3D brings out the full 100%”

    If a movie is intended to be in 2D and shot in 2D, the 2D image *IS* the full 100%.

    You can’t add any more depth or detail to the 2D image as originally captured on the original negative; what you’re adding is your arrogant interpretation of what you want the films to be.

  • http://www.cineforum.ca/ Reg Hartt

    The information is already there embedded in the picture.

    I learned long ago that great photographers shoot pictures knowing that whatever the conditions are the information is there and can be brought out in the lab.

    Mediocre photographers wait for everything to be right.

    I am not saying a 2D film ought to be presented in 3D.

    I am saying that 3D adds a feeling of density and weight the 2D image can not convey.

    The reverse of your logic is that films shot in 3D ought not to be seen in 2D.

    These things are tools. In the right hand magic can be done with them but the magic is in the hand not the tool.

    To work that magic the tool has to be studied. So far, I am the only person I know who has studied 3D in depth.

  • Oliver

    Goodbye, crazy person.

  • Graham

    Ticket prices for 2D films already cost more than a gallon of gasoline. Care to upgrade it to five?

  • Scarabim

    I was unimpressed with Alice in 3D. It LOOKED like it had been converted into 3D post-production. Lame! Didn’t really add anything to the movie either, although a 3D Wonderland seems like a logical pairing, given the story’s fantastical nature. But since Disney treated 3D as a money-making gimmick instead of a story element, what could have been a really immersive experience was hit-or-miss at best. As a result, the Philharmagic 3D attraction at Disney World is far more effective than Alice. Although Alice is better than that shabby Muppet thing, but then what isn’t?

    One thing for sure – I’m not ponying up any more bucks for 3D movies. Is Hollywood the least bit aware of how lousy the economy is? Rather than paying 8 bucks to see a movie in a bare-bones cattle-car auditorium (wish the idea of the lavish Movie Palace would come back – I’d take that retro-concept over 3D any day) I’d rather wait for the video – or better yet, download a movie at 4 bucks a pop. If Hollywood keeps up its greedy ways, it’ll find out what “recession” really means.

  • http://www.ghiblicon.blogspot.com daniel thomas macinnes

    They’re just daring us all to embrace downloading, aren’t they? This is the music industry debacle all over again, and the irony is that Hollywood is desperately trying to avoid that fate. They see the handwriting on the wall, and know their business is about to be cannibalized.

    Just this weekend, via BitTorrent, I downloaded a dozen or so Rifftrax-enhanced movies. I was stunned at how quickly the movies arrived, and these were DVD-quality files. I’m reminded at how long it took me to download mp3′s a decade ago, and how blazingly fast it is today.

    Just you wait until a feature-length movie can be downloaded in minutes, and your iPod can store thousands of films and videos. Then consider the emergence of the first post-internet generation, kids who treat file-sharing as a given, and…well, Thank God I’m not an executive in Hollywood. I would be terrified if I were in their shoes.

    So I can understand the push for 3D movies, at least from that angle. What I can’t understand is jacking up the ticket prices. This feels like a smash-and-grab, not a long term business strategy. Is Hollywood daring us to embrace downloading? I still love movies, but I’m not willing to pay $15 or $20 for the trip. People are increasingly unwilling to pay that much for the DVD.

    Like I’ve said, thank goodness I’m not a Hollywood executive.

  • Scarabim

    I saw How to Train Your Dragon in 3D, and also Alice In Wonderland. And now the novelty’s worn off. So I won’t be shelling out big bucks to see a movie in 3D again. What would be the point?

  • fishmorgjp

    Eh… the law of diminishing returns will kick in, as people wonder why they must pay a premium for the same stale stories and lame humor they could get on TV.