Theaters Raising 3D Ticket Prices

Posted March 25th, 2010 at 10:28 am

There has already been much written here about how the studios now pushing forward with more 3D films given the success of Avatar and even more recently Alice in Wonderland. The LA Times has an article today that states theaters are raising ticket prices by about 8% this weekend. That coincides with the release of How to Train Your Dragon, and a week later Clash of the Titans. The average surcharge on 3D will now be $4. IMAX is also going up about 10% with the average additional cost over a regular ticket being $6.

Will audiences continue to pay the higher prices for 3D, and on a more frequent basis rather than as an “event”? I’m not so sure about that. I feel like people are going to become more selective over the course of the year. That feeling has already set in for me. I’ll be seeing Dragon in 3D, but I’ll be skipping that version of Titans and seeing it in regular form. Alice, converted to 3D in post-production, showed that conversions (arguably) do not enhance the experience enough to justify the extra costs. Titans is a conversion and early reports are the 3D is underwhelming with that as well. Dragon was created with 3D in mind and is supposedly exceptional.

I wondered leading up to Alice’s release whether there would be some backlash from audiences who expected what they got with Avatar and ended up leaving disappointed. We won’t know that really until we’ve gone through a few more 3D offerings to see if any trends are changing. Raising the ticket prices though could end up as the tipping point in whether moviegoers put up with the prices or if it changes the way the value of 3D is perceived.