Fox, Regal don't see eye to eye on 3-D

People wear 3-D glasses at the 3DX Film Festival at Golden Village in Singapore.


Kai Ryssdal: I suppose this weekend's box office receipts testify to the movie business being recession-proof: $34 million worth of tickets were bought to see the new Hannah Montana movie. It is Hannah's second turn on the big screen. Her concert film last year was a 3-D spectacular. And there are some who think -- again -- that 3-D's the future of movie-making. Off-screen, there's a bigger battle brewing. Over who's going to pay for those silly glasses you have to wear. Jill Barshay reports.

JILL BARSHAY: "Monsters and Aliens." "Journey to the Center of the Earth." More than a dozen 3-D movies have been released since 2005, and the movie studios have paid for all those plastic glasses.

But Fox wants theaters to pick up the tab when it releases "Ice Age" this summer.

George Solomon is the CEO of Southern Theatres. He says the studios are trying to take a big bite out of his revenue.

GEORGE Solomon: They want their cake and to eat it too. If Fox is going to continue their stance on this, then we would just show it 35 mm and pass on 3-D totally.

But this dispute is about more than $1 glasses. Studios have also been paying most of the $75,000 to upgrade movie screens to digital, so that they can show 3-D. Most theaters still need the upgrade. Marla Backer is an entertainment industry analyst at Research Associates.

MARLA Backer: This has been the age-old question between the studios and the movie theaters: who pays? So the glasses is just really a symbol of who is going to bear the bigger cost of actually putting in the equipment.

Theater owners are threatening to boycott "Ice Age" in 3-D. But the movie studios are betting that 3-D's popularity will force some theater owners to chill out and pay the bill.

In New York, I'm Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

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They will still charge you the 3D upcharge even if you keep your glasses. The upcharge is not just for the glasses but the technology used to produce 3D. The theaters that have the RealD experience have shelled out thousands of dollers on digital projectors. The charge is to help pay for the cost of the technology.

Not the movie theater had to "bear" cost of 3-d glasses. I had to pay 4 dollars extra for Monsters Vs Aliens movie in 3D here in Chicago.

The theaters here (Marcus Theater chain) charge extra for a a 3D movie to cover rental of the glasses - viewers don't get to keep them.

It's funny. The theaters that we have in town indicate that 3d movies have extra fee's(I believe it is a $) associtated with the 3d ticket prices and glasses. We saved our glasses from Monster House in hopes to use them again.

My husband and I kept our glasses from Coraline so we may use them for future 3-D flicks. Hate to waste. If the theaters are responsible for the glasses, maybe that will be an incentive to set up 3-D glasses recycling bins similar to those in theme parks.

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