Thursday, January 15, 2009

Screening problems for 3-D films

Last summer The LA Times reported on the potential for 3-D feature films. However, Brookes Barnes in The New York Times says that though Hollyowod is keen, distribution problems remain.

Apparently, Disney alone has 15 3-D films in the pipeline (although quite what that means isn't clear) and Fox are planning to release Avatar directed by James Cameron in 3-D at the end of the year.

The problem is that there still aren't enough 3-D screens to make it worthwhile.
“It’s starting to look like there will be a lot of disappointed producers unable to realize the upside of these 3-D investments,” said Harold L. Vogel, a media analyst and the author of “Entertainment Industry Economics.” Filming in 3-D adds about $15 million to production costs, he said, but can send profit soaring because of premium ticket pricing.

Only about 1,300 of North America’s 40,000 or so movie screens support digital 3-D. (Imax adds 250.) Overseas, where films now generate up to 70 percent of their theatrical revenue, only a few hundred theaters can support the technology. It costs about $100,000 for each full upgrade.

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