Google Search

Sunday, December 12, 2010

3D Is Killing Movie Theaters

3D movies have been around since I was a kid. About every 8 to 10 years, it seems, Hollywood would come out with a new 3D movie and proclaim that movies would never be the same. Supposedly, 3D was the next step in movie evolution. Every time it turned out to be nothing but a cheap gimmick and the American public barely even noticed.
Here we are again, in 2010, in the middle of another 3D revolution but this time, 3D has actually made some headway in changing our movies. It's actually expected now, that every big budget movie will be made in 3D. It's become the norm now rather than the cheap parlor trick.
There are two reasons why it's finally succeeding. First, the 3D technology has truly improved by leaps and bounds. Some movies, the ones that are made for 3D, are really fun to watch. The other reason is the powerful marketing machines of the big studios have gotten behind it and convinced us that we have to have 3D for a bigger and better movie experience.
However, the current 3D revolution is only good news for the studios and little kids who don't pay for their own movie tickets. Sure, 3D is fun to watch, but it's not worth paying lots of extra money to see. A few nights ago, I took my wife and two kids to see one of the newest 3D movies and it cost us $48.00 for tickets. Each ticket had $3.00 added for the privilege of watching in 3D. Only, it wasn't a privilege because we weren't given an option of watching that movie in non-3D,. We'd already promised our girls that we'd be watching that particular movie, so we went ahead with it. A stop at the snack bar cost me another $13 for a medium popcorn and a medium drink. By the time I sat down in my theater seat, I felt sick knowing I'd just spent $61 for a movie that I'll be able to rent at the Redbox, in a few months, for $1.
Here's my point. The economy is still way down and money is tight for most of us, and first run movie theaters are the only businesses that don't get it. I understand that their hands are tied. I'm sure big budget movies come with a hefty price tag for the rights to be shown. But, the whole industry is broken if a Mom and Dad have to pay $61 dollars to watch a movie with their kids. Fifteen years ago, movie theaters were justified in raising their prices. The movie experience was fun and unique and way better than VHS movies or watching on TV with all the commercials. Today, we have many more options for our movie entertainment; DVD, Blue-Ray, and Pay-Per-View movies on high-def t.v.'s. Not-to-mention downloadable movies right to your home computer. The competition is intense now, and the movie theaters have responded with over-priced 3D.
How long will this 3D revolution last? I predict not too much longer. Very soon, maybe in 2011, 3D ticket sales will decline as the novelty wears off and the American public realizes it's not worth the cost. We love movies and we love going to the movie theater, but as the price goes up we'll choose the movie theater experience less and less. If theaters want to stay alive, they should give us 3D at the price of the non-3D movie, giving us more reason to come back, and come back again.
Considering all the competition, and the high prices of tickets, I don't see how first run theaters will still be around in 5 to 10 years, at least not in the form they are now. If they do stay around, I expect them to change into some kind of upper class entertainment experience more like a night at a performing Arts center to see a live play.
I hope, before that happens, they'll see the writing on the wall and find a new way of delivering new movies to us in an affordable way so that we can keep going to the movies. If that does happen, I sure hope they'll also figure out a way to bring down the price of a bag of popcorn.

No comments:

Post a Comment