The warning comes in a brief statement issued by the National Association of Theater Owners; Regal releases a separate statement saying new policy could result in fewer screens being used for 3D films.
The National Association of Theater Owners said Wednesday that Sony’s plan to stop paying for 3D glasses — effective May 1, 2012 — is “insensitive” to moviegoers, particularly in the midst of continued economic distress.
The trade org also issued a stern warning: “Sony would be well advised to revisit its decision.”
Moreover, NATO criticized Sony for not negotiating with theater owners before sending a letter last week stating the new policy. (Sony insiders counter the intent of the letter was to give plenty of notice so that it could work with exhibitors.) The letter was first reported by THR.
“The recent uproar over four studios’ unilateral decision to radically shorten the theatrical release window for their failed DirecTV premium VOD experiment vividly illustrates the downside of movie studios announcing fundamental changes to business models without negotiating with their exhibition partners first,” NATO said.
Regal Entertainment, one of the country’s three largest circuits, issued its own statement and warning.
“To the extent that Sony seeks to change the current model in a manner that shifts the costs to exhibitors, we would be forced to evaluate this new economic model and program our screens accordingly. This could result in fewer screens exhibiting 3D films. We are amenable to alternative models for distributing 3D glasses as long as the economics remain the same for exhibitors and our customers,” Regal CEO Amy Miles said.
Sony has two high-profile 3D tentpoles in summer 2012: Men in Black III and The Amazing Spider-Man.
NATO said moviegoers in North America have grown accustomed to being provided 3D glasses, and that it is an “established” part of the 3D experience that would be difficult to reverse.
Sony and other studios are suggesting behind the scenes that exhibitors adopt an ownership model, whereby theater owners sell 3D glasses to customers.
For their part, studios never intended to pay for 3D glasses indefinitely. Glasses can cost $5 million to $10 million per blockbuster release.
But theater owners counter that the onus has been on them to upgrade their theaters to 3D, an expensive proposition.
“Since the onset of the digital 3D revolution in 2005 it has been understood that exhibitors would bear the weight of technological and facility modification costs related to 3D, while distribution took on the cost of 3D glasses. Any changes to that understanding must be undertaken through the mutual agreement of both sides of the business,” NATO continued in its statement.
via Angry Theater Owners Warn Sony Over Decision to Stop Paying for 3D Glasses – The Hollywood Reporter.
Read more regarding Production companies and when they are planing on not paying for 3D glasses »
3dom 3D Eyewear has a solution to this change in how 3D glasses are paid for. We agree with Sony and the Theaters as well. The Bring Your Own model. It works in many other countries why not here. We think both the production companies and the theater owners need to make this model work by giving something to the viewer in return for purchasing their own glasses.
3dom 3D Eyewear has this business model in place in a test market right now. We are able to sell many different styles sized for kids and adults. Pricing starts at around $9.
If the theater owners would give some sort of incentive to the movie goers this could work. It may take some time for it to be adopted as the new norm.
We think that moving the 3D glasses out side the circle to third parties would save both production companies and theaters money. It would save the movie goer money in the long run and would be much more healthy for the environment.
If you have a theater and wish to look into this new 3D glasses model give us a call.
We work with RealD and all the major 3D glasses manufactures around the world. We have this model set up, tested and ready to deploy.
Douglas Goddard CTO at 3dom 3D eyewear.