With 3D screen revenue dwindling in North America and concerns now being raised in even the most conservative quarters, the technology’s outlook suffered another blow today.
The Hollywood Reporter says that Sony has sent a letter to North American theater owners announcing that as of May 1st 2012 they will no longer pay for the 3D glasses that go with their 3D movies, with other studios expected to soon follow suit.
3D glasses account for about 50 cents of a theater ticket, and cost a studio up to $5-10 million per tentpole picture. The move would bring the U.S. in line with other foreign territories like the U.K. and Australia where moviegoers buy their 3D glasses at the theater (in Australia it’s around $1 per pair).
While 3D screening revenue has been in decline in the United States this Summer, there hasn’t been as significant a dip overseas. Yet even in those markets, the taste for the tech seems to be dwindling. BBC News reports that according to a recent poll only 19% of British filmgoers said that 3D actually improved the film. 41% saw it as “just a gimmick”, while 52% said they’d be more inclined to see a 3D film “if they did not have to wear the glasses”.