Could the days of free 3D glasses at the cinema be numbered? Perhaps. As with most things trying hard to break into a market, Sony's movie studio had been footing the bill for the 3D glasses that were being distributed before 3D films. Seeing a 3D flick already cost more than a 2D flick, leaving many feeling as if those "free" glasses weren't so free after all. But even with the increased rates, the studio is still not pleased. In an effort to grab every last cent they can, Sony Pictures has reportedly suggested in letters sent to some American theater owners that they won't be paying for the glasses starting next May.
The alternative? They're suggesting a "guest ownership model," which is already widely used in Europe and Australia. Those markets charge moviegoers separately for the glasses, and then they encourage them to bring them along the next time they visit. It makes sense, and it's probably far greener, but it's always hard to institute that kind of change when you have already conditioned patrons to expect glasses to be there for them upon return. It also makes a spur-of-the-moment moviegoing experience easier, since you didn't have to "remember" to bring along your 3D glasses.
Sony Pictures spokesman Steve Elzer stated the following: "There are constructive ways to deal with the cost of 3-D glasses that will not adversely impact consumers and can also help the environment." Regal CEO Amy Miles sees things differently: ""To the extent that Sony seeks to change the current model in a manner that shifts costs to exhibitors, we would be forced to evaluate this new economic model and program our screens accordingly."
Either way, it's a blow for 3D in America. Consumers were already paying more, but for what? If they now have to pay even more for the glasses -- well, that's just getting ridiculous, or at least we bet that's how most moviegoers will see it.