Marchon debuts 3D glasses vending machines inside theaters

Select moviegoers could soon have an additional stop to make before finding seats in crowded auditoriums. After standing in line for concessions and hitting the restroom (not necessarily in that order), they'll also have the option to feed money to a 3D glasses vending machine. But with spotty summer 3D ticket sales, will customers bite?

California-based cinemas Ultrastar and Cinemark reached an agreement with 3D glasses manufacturer Marchon3D to install the novel vending units into their theater lobbies. A new line of "stylish" 3D glasses by Marchon called EX3D - which are RealD compatible - was a major motivator behind the venture.

Options include frames that target both kids and adults. And while nothing can beat the usual theater price of free, the $22 to $30 fee is manageable compared to store prices. The companies also hope patrons with extravagant tastes are tempted by the concept. Special "limited selection" glasses that top off at $70 per pair will be available. All varieties are compatible with some home 3D entertainment devices, such as TVs and PCs, promised Marchon.

"Summer blockbusters are enticing millions of people to theaters, and 3D movies continue to be hotter than ever," said David Johnson, Marchon3D President. "Unveiling these EX3D vending machines will reach consumers as they walk in, and remind them that EX3D glasses provide the best viewing experience from a technological standpoint as well as guaranteed comfort and style that speaks to each person's personality."

The overall profitability of theatrical 3D remains a blind spot for the industry. Michael Bay's "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" impressed audiences and posted strong 3D ticket sales, but several 3D movies released after James Cameron's blockbuster "Avatar" set records have failed to deliver.

Would you buy a pair of 3D glasses from a vending machine in a theater lobby? Let us know in the comment section.

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