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September 28, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

The ticket surcharge for seeing movies in 3D may be going up. Sony on Tuesday became the first studio to announce that it will no longer be providing free disposable 3D glasses to see its movies, suggesting that theater owners will have to buy them and distribute them to moviegoers (and pass the costs on to them) or the moviegoers themselves will have to buy their own and keep them. Sony said it will cease providing the glasses beginning in May, the start of the summer blockbuster season, when it is due to release The Amazing Spider-Man and Men in Black III in 3D. Sony’s decision was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.
UPDATE: The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) rebuked Sony, saying that the studio “is insensitive to our patrons, particularly in the midst of continuing economic distress.” In a statement, the group said, “Since the onset of the digital 3D revolution in 2005 it has been understood that exhibitors would bear the weight of technological and facility modification costs related to 3D, while distribution [i.e., the studios] took on the cost of 3D glasses. Any changes to that understanding must be undertaken through the mutual agreement of both sides of the business.” Sony quickly responded, saying that no such understanding exists. “There never has been any such agreement,” the studio said. “In fact, we have been speaking with people in the industry for a long time about the need to move to a new model, so this certainly comes as a surprise to no one in the business.” It offered to meet with NATO to discuss the matter further.