EDITORIALS

DreamWorks Animation Charging an Extra $5 to See 3D Movies!

by
December 9, 2008
Source: Variety

DreamWorks Animation Charging an Extra $5 to See 3D Movies!

Last week I attended a few presentations at the 3D Entertainment Summit, mainly in search of Avatar footage and a chance to chat with James Cameron. While I didn't catch every discussion, Variety did, and they bring some very alarming news from a keynote chat with DreamWorks Animation's Jeffrey Katzenberg. Since Christopher Campbell already tackled the more broad discussion on 3D, I'm going to focus on one specific issue that Katzenberg addressed. Katzenberg claims that the format "offers a premium experience and has the consumer paying a premium price." That price - an extra $5 more to watch 3D movies. And starting with Monsters vs Aliens, that price change will be in effect around the country.

Whether this extra charge is a veiled publicity gimmick to account for the bad economy or an actual way of claiming that the value is higher, I'm not entirely sure. However, I do know that this is one of the worst decisions ever made in Hollywood and glorifies exactly what I hate about 3D - that it isn't a premium experience. As I've explained before in previous articles, 3D was only "discovered" as a viable format because a few years back, some studios and exhibitors tried it out, realized it drew more audiences than normal and made them copious amounts of money, and in turn proclaimed it was the "future of cinema." There are people, like James Cameron, who are trying to develop 3D as an actual filmmaking technique, and there are people, like Katzenberg, who are trying to develop it as a moneymaking technique.

Katzenberg proves right here that he doesn't believe in 3D as a filmmaking technique, but purely as a way to make money. And obviously it's such an excessive (and expensive) process for him at DreamWorks, that he's now forced to charge an extra $5 to see his movies in 3D. IMAX also charges a premium for their format, but unlike 3D, it actually is worth the higher price and is a premium experience. Cameron believes that in the future, 3D won't be a technique that filmmakers are consumed with when shooting, instead, it'll be another element like lighting and sound that they need to consider. Katzenberg is only worried about money and how he can use 3D, the new "hot commodity" in theatrical exhibition, to make more. "Just at the moment exhibition and distribution got together" on 3-D, Katzenberg said, "there's no money."

Unfortunately I believe uneducated moviegoers are simply going to literally buy into this gimmick. And I'm worried that if this extra charge proves viable and successful for DreamWorks, studios like Disney will cave into it as well. "Premium pricing is the heart of a new incremental revenue stream for movie theaters," Screen Digest analyst Charlotte Jones said in a presentation at the 3D Summit. I wonder if it really is the only way to go, though? Shouldn't we be focusing on so many other ways to improve the moviegoing experience? And shouldn't studios be focusing on making better movies that audiences will enjoy? Monsters vs Aliens will be the real judge of whether Katzenberg's price increase falls through or not.

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  • Warren J
    I'm a little confused. A few months ago this site was married to DreamWorks - loving the grounds in Glendale and heralding the creative work. They opened their doors and treated you as a legitimate site, to which I applauded them (as I enjoy firstshowing.net a lot). Now, two straight bash parties. First Madagascar 2 bashing. Now 3-D. Did someone not invite you to the DWA Christmas party? Sheesh. 3-D is still expensive. The glasses are expensive. Katzenberg has done wonders for the technology and the promotion of the new format. And he's done what he can to make it affordable and commerically available. Your article has no basis so I'm glad it is an opinion piece. Katzenberg redefined animation more than once. He's doing it again. He is a pioneer. I ask you to please do much more research before bashing one of film's finest leaders and his strong role in providing 3D format.
  • Pickle
    This is NOT the way to go!
  • Tim C
    I don't think the masses are going to pay an extra $5 dollars to see something in 3D, especially in this economy. If they offer two versions of the film at the theater the non 3D version will be the version I go to see. If they offer only the $5 3D version.. I'll wait for Blu-ray. This will backfire on them and I hope it does. Right now they need to be thinking of getting people into those seats and charging a premium to do so won't cut it.
  • Jesse
    Wow I already have trouble seeing 3d movies, but an extra $5 seals the deal looks like I'm done.
  • troy
    $5 extra count me out and almost every other common moviegoer.
  • Waynson
    Hahahaha Yeah not gonna happen.
  • Ferley
    Nobody likes 3D..but everybody is offering it. Now you charge an extra $5.00 per ticket on top of crazy movie prices. I will not pay but fools will!
  • Butters
    has anybody ever gone to a 3d movie and actually enjoyed the fact that it was 3d? I refuse to go to a 3d movie for the price of a normal movie, how could anyone in their right mind be willing to pay another $5?
  • Warren - First off, how did you know we went to the DreamWorks campus? As far as I recall, I never actually wrote about my trip... maybe on Twitter, but didn't do an article on it... And no it has nothing to do with not being invited anywhere, it has to do with my honest dislike of DWA and Jeffrey Katzenberg. I have done enough research by watching the industry grow, hearing Katzenberg speak numerous times at events like ShoWest and the 3D Summit, and even meeting him, and I've continually come to the conclusion that what I said above defines him better than he will ever admit. I would be glad to do an interview with him, although I don't think he would approve that at this point, which is even more suspicious. Walt Disney is a pioneer. John Lasseter is a pioneer. Brad Bird is a pioneer, Andrew Stantion is a pioneer. Steve Jobs is a pioneer. Jeffrey Katzenberg is not. It was him and DWA that almost ruined Toy Story, at least until Pixar backed out and save themselves. I don't believe he is an innovator anymore... He may have helped start DWA back in 1997, but he is damaging the industry now.
  • Sumit
    "It was him and DWA that almost ruined Toy Story, at least until Pixar backed out and save themselves." What happened? Please elaborate!
  • I'll probably pay the $5, because I will honestly see just about anything in 3-D, and except for once, I've never been invited to a press screening for a 3-D film. Currently, we pay about $2-3 extra anyway, and Katzenberg's increase doesn't seem too much. I just hope it's really to pay off the digital conversion and not his share holders. Stay tuned to my column next week for a broader discussion on the idea of ticket cost being equal to movie value.
  • Lady Aerin
    I don't understand. 3-D movies are already more expensive than regular movies. Does Katzenberg not know this?
  • It costs enough as it is to go to the cinema, just make good films.
  • As #12 said, my local theaters already charge an extra $2-$2.50 for 3D versions of movies. This is pushing it IMHO, and I'm a fan of 3D. Vic
  • Warren J
    Alex - Thank you for your repsonse to my response. If memory serves me correctly - it was Jeffrey Katzenberg who revived Disney in the late 80s/early 90s by creating some of their most loved hand drawn films (and most financially rewarding): Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, the Lion King... It was Katzenberg who took Disney into the digital realm for animation and helped them align with Pixar. He was the first to successfully use star talent in animated films and on motion picture soundtracks. He laid a lot of groundwork and by always being so public and opinionated in the media eye, he has also taken on a lot of scrutinty. He's never backed down from the next big challenge nor has he denied his failures. He continues forward. I have no problem noting the success and great talent of Brad Bird, John Lasseter, Steve Jobs, and others, but to discount what Katzenberg has done and continues to do for the film industry is naive and wrong. Furthermore: To pit his intentions vs Cameron's doesn't make sense. Cameron is a film director while Katzenberg is a studio head. Of course they see things differently but that shouldn't play into your arguement above - at least not in my opinion - about why they are pushing 3D. They both see it as adventageous and the next big leap for the industry. The speak together at these Summits not as two adversaries but as the filmmaker and the studio head. I'm fairly confident that the $5 charge is not just a Katzenberg decision and while his film will be the first to use the additional charge, it probably won't be the only one. And at least you are aware now. Save up! One less frappacino! Nice to discuss this with you.
  • tzarinna
    Damn, do they need a bail out package too? 😕
  • D-9
    Alex, My GOD! What old news is this? This has been the way of 3-D the last few years. "Nightmare", U2, we have allready paid this extra $. C'Mon!
  • Berko
    I'd happily pay $5 extra for a premium experience. But a premium experience to me would be a higher quality film
  • gl3nk
    Nope; I'll pass.
  • 3d Movies
    $5 is too much! $2-3 is ok Regards Johny

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