2D & 3D ticket prices to meet halfway, says theater chain boss

Domestic theatergoers have largely turned their backs on 3D films, preferring those that don't require ponying up a few extra dollars and wearing uncomfortable glasses. Home viewers have similarly steered clear of plunking down thousands on new 3D TVs. The only device making a case for the technology is Nintendo's glasses-less 3D handheld, the 3DS. And even then, consumers only jumped on board after the company slashed $80 from its its price tag last summer.

How exactly do theater owners deal with tapering ticket sales and 3D malaise? The only way they can: a price drop.

Theater chains will shake up both 2D and 3D ticket prices this year in reaction to the bad news, said Joe Paletta, CEO of Spotlight Theaters. In an article published at Screen Trade Magazine Online, the executive laid out the idea that theater owners may bridge the current price discrepancy by dropping the cost of 3D tickets while nudging 2D ticket prices up, creating a single new price.

"Among the bigger changes will probably see the 3D-upcharge disappear," Paletta wrote in an editorial at Screen Trade Magazine. "3D charges will help increase the overall ticket-price but, as an industry, I think we'll see a blend begin to emerge in 2012, where patrons will have a single price for both 2D and 3D films. 2D prices will increase and 3D prices will decrease."

That's not all. The exec says theaters will also bump concession stand prices as they face slim profit margins and continued studio pressure to shorten the time between a film's theatrical and home release.

"Customers are becoming more sophisticated and discerning in seeking out theater menus that offer hot meals, sit-down service and dinner cocktails. The theater environment is conducive to providing this type of concession menu, which will fulfill the customer's desire for a one-stop entertainment venue," said Paletta.

There are obvious pros and cons to tweaking ticket prices. Those who enjoy a good three-dimensional romp here and there would no doubt welcome the chance to save a few extra dollars at the box office. But the vast majority of theatergoers who are happy with normal 2D films could be left shouldering the burden for a tepid response to Hollywood's 3D revival attempt. (via Boing Boing)

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