In theaters, 3D movie prices about to spike

Prepare for a sudden jolt to the price of 3D movie tickets, as theater chains try to cash in on the trend.

On Friday, 3D movie prices will increase by an average of 8.3 percent in theaters across the United States, according to market research firm BTIG, as reported by CNN Money. Also, IMAX movie tickets will become 10 percent more expensive, and regular 2D movies will see a 4 percent price jump.

Total box office sales are up 10 percent in the United States so far this year, and theaters believe that consumers will pay an even higher premium for the experience of seeing 3D movies in theaters, BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield said. Following the success of Avatar, other 3D moves include Alice in Wonderland (pictured), Clash of the Titans and How to Train Your Dragon.

Exact price changes will vary by region, but at an AMC theater in Boston, a 3D movie ticket will cost $15.50, which is $2 more than before. A Regal Theater in Seattle will charge $15, up from $13.50. At an AMC theater in New York, tickets for a family of four to a 3D film will cost $63. "These are major prices changes for an industry that has historically instituted gradual prices increases," BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield said.

Theater chains walk a fine line with this kind of move. Consumers are used to gradual increases in movie tickets, and anyone who's been watching movies in theaters for the last 5 or 10 years knows prices aren't what they used to be. But suddenly increasing prices, particularly on 3D movies, could have a chilling effect, and families may not want to spring for 3D every time. I wonder how movie studios and hardware manufacturers feel about this, as they're hoping the enthusiasm for 3D in theaters spills over to the home.

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