Trouble in Europe: Italy Says 3D Glasses Pose a 'Health Risk'
There's been lots of interesting things going on in the European movie exhibition industry recently, most of which flies by us because it's a whole different industry. First up, Odeon Cinemas has boycotted Alice in Wonderland from their movie theaters in the UK, Ireland, Italy, and also the Netherlands because Disney changed the "release window" from four months after opening to 90 days (we wrote about that here). Other theaters are considering following in suit. Another interesting article popped up in Reuters (via SlashFilm) stating that the Italian government thinks that 3D glasses pose a "health risk" for moviegoers. They do?
Reuters says that the Italian health ministry "confiscated" about 7000 pairs of 3D glasses and could even collect more. "Officials said the glasses pose hygiene problems if they are not properly cleaned between screenings, and that the confiscated glasses did not display tags proving they would not cause short-term vision problems to users." I would've thought this "health risk" was more about the headaches and dizziness that some people seem to experience while watching 3D, not something as simple as hygiene! "The missing glasses have had little effect on the success of Avatar in Italy, where it remains the top-grossing film in the country." Well that's good to hear, but this news is kind of amusing because it's such an outrageous claim.
At most IMAX theaters, you have to return your 3D glasses when you leave because they're quite expensive. You may have never noticed, but each theater then cleans them, usually with an industrial washer or another semi-high tech cleaning machine. But I've never picked up a pair that I've thought were dirty. Have you? I know I've had to clean the lens portion of the glasses before because it had smudges on it, but that's about it. It sounds like some health official discovered that lazy theater employees aren't properly cleaning glasses. If that's the case, yell at the theater, but there's no reason to claim that 3D glasses on the whole are unhealthy!
And as a final note, the 3D glasses specifically made by RealD are cheap, plastic, and disposable. If you see a movie that's using RealD technology, they give out those glasses like candy. The pair you'll get have never been touched by anyone before. I guess they don't use RealD in Europe? What do you make of all this?