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3-D PRICES: Studios Continue To Shoot Themselves In the Feet


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#21 of 36 ONLINE   RolandL

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Posted July 09 2014 - 09:52 AM

The 2D version of a movie just sells a lot more than the 3D if I'm reading the list from Home Media Magazine correctly. Is that 9% for 300: Rise of an Empire of the 51% Blu-rays sold, or 9% of the Blu-rays and DVD's sold?


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#22 of 36 OFFLINE   Josh Steinberg

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Posted July 10 2014 - 05:02 PM

There's no real reason for 3D discs to be significantly more expensive than their 2D counterparts.  It's greed, pure and simple.  And, in the theatrical market, that's doing as much to harm 3D as anything else.

 

We're not asked to pay extra for any other movie innovation -- color is the same price as B&W, stereo and surround sound is the same price as mono or silent, widescreen is no more expensive than 1.37:1.  But somehow, magically, we're supposed to pay more for 3D?  I get that studios may have spent some more money on making movies in 3D, and that exhibitors may have spent more money buying new projection equipment.  But that's the name of the game, having to pay for new equipment and new technology.  The problem was that box office admissions were declining.  3D was supposed to be the solution, but not by charging more per ticket, but just by being a cinematic wonder that drew people out of their houses back to the theater, to see something they couldn't get at home, something truly spectacular.  I had no objection to some of the fees, especially at first, when it was a "new" thing.  But by this point in time, theatrically, there's no excuse for a $5 surcharge.  In my opinion, it should be the same price as 2D, provided you bring your own glasses.  (A lot of people may not realize that, despite the recycle notices posted at theaters, RealD glasses are yours to keep after the movie.  RealD makes its money selling the glasses to the theater, and they sell -- not rent -- them to you.  If you return the glasses, the theater just sells them back to RealD, who clean them and repackage them and sell them back.  IMAX glasses are technically loaners, so it's understandable that an IMAX theater would want them back, but I feel theaters are taking advantage these days with the RealD specs.  They profit from them twice, first when they sell them to you, and then again when they sell them back to RealD.)  And since IMAX charges a surcharge anyway regardless of whether or not its 3D, I think they could probably stand to drop the extra 3D surcharge that they add for 3D and still do okay.  If you don't bring your glasses, then sure, charge a dollar to loan out a pair or something, but adding $5 or more to the price at this point is crazy.

 

(An IMAX movie in NYC has just gone up to $22.  Which means I could have pre-ordered the new "Transformers" movie on Blu-ray for less than the price of seeing the same movie in theaters.  How long before people start doing that with everything?  No matter how cool or how big the IMAX screen is, where's that line in the sand where people will say, nevermind, I'll see it at home for less?)

 

I wonder if, for example, Digital Surround Sound would have caught on at home and in theaters if they charged more for it.  You'd probably go and check it out when it was new, but then you'd spend far too much time paying attention to just that part of the movie, and mentally deciding if each extra sound added up to being worth the extra $5 (or more) you paid to experience it.  Could anything live up to that kind of scrutiny?  Maybe you'd get people leaving theaters the same as they do now, saying things like, "Yeah, the movie was really good, but the surround sound didn't add anything to it.. save the couple bucks and see it in stereo."  But we don't do that, because we understand that surround sound is just one of many components that make up a movie.

 

In my opinion, the continued growth and survival of 3D is dependent on it being recognized as an important artistic component to films.  But for the most part, what's coming out in 3D lately doesn't have 3D used in ways that could be described as important or artistic or even as a real component to the film.  And if the 3D doesn't contribute to the movie and is an afterthought to raise prices, for how long will people pay higher prices for something that doesn't add to the experience?  The studios have brought that on themselves by following up the spectacular, "you have to see it in theaters" spectacle of "Avatar" with the poor cash grab conversions of "Alice In Wonderland" and "Clash Of The Titans" immediately ahead.  Just as "Avatar" was starting a legitimate conversation among filmgoers about films that truly needed to be seen in 3D, those two came out almost immediately after with a message of "nah, doesn't really matter if you see it in 3D, we just want your extra money".  And I think audiences noticed and got that message, meaning that almost from the start of this 3D revival, people were asking themselves "is this worth extra money" instead of just being able to watch a movie.


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#23 of 36 OFFLINE   phillyrobt

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Posted July 10 2014 - 09:51 PM

Excellent points. There are exceptions though...for example House of Wax, because of lab damage, needed extensive work done. And to quote Mr. Furmanek in a Hondo thread...mastering and re-aligning in HD for dual-strip 35mm 3-D material is not cheap Semi on topic I picked up This Is Cinerama. While not a 3d title, I expected to pay more for it because of the excellent presentation and care put into the product. Saying this to any industry people browsing the forum in the hope it influences their decisions....



#24 of 36 OFFLINE   FoxyMulder

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Posted July 11 2014 - 06:09 AM

with the poor cash grab conversions of "Alice In Wonderland" and "Clash Of The Titans" immediately ahead.  Just as "Avatar" was starting a legitimate conversation among filmgoers about films that truly needed to be seen in 3D, those two came out almost immediately after with a message of "nah, doesn't really matter if you see it in 3D, we just want your extra money".  And I think audiences noticed and got that message, meaning that almost from the start of this 3D revival, people were asking themselves "is this worth extra money" instead of just being able to watch a movie.

 

Parts of Alice In Wonderland were shot in native 3D, i haven't watched it yet but i browsed through some of it and it looked okay, i especially liked the opening scenes when she visits Wonderland, some good depth and nice popout during those moments.

 

Maybe i'll change my mind when i view the whole thing but it can't be worse than all these 2.5D movies coming out.


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"Maybe it's a sheep dog... let's keep going" 

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#25 of 36 OFFLINE   bruceames

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Posted July 11 2014 - 07:13 AM

The 2D version of a movie just sells a lot more than the 3D if I'm reading the list from Home Media Magazine correctly. Is that 9% for 300: Rise of an Empire of the 51% Blu-rays sold, or 9% of the Blu-rays and DVD's sold?

 

9% is the percentage of overall sales in 3D.   Since that includes DVD, the percentage of 3D sales on the BD format would be 100/51 * 9% = 17.6%



#26 of 36 ONLINE   RolandL

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Posted July 11 2014 - 07:24 AM

I use to pay $70 and I think once $90 for one VHS tape of 3D titles in the field-sequential 3D method back in the early 80's. It was better than anaglyph but did have some flicker. But now I always wait for sales before I buy a Blu-ray 3D title.


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#27 of 36 OFFLINE   FoxyMulder

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Posted July 11 2014 - 07:31 AM

I use to pay $70 and I think once $90 for one VHS tape of 3D titles in the field-sequential 3D method back in the early 80's. It was better than anaglyph but did have some flicker. But now I always wait for sales before I buy a Blu-ray 3D title.

 

I want to buy Frozen but it hasn't moved down in price yet, somehow i don't think it will come down, i'll keep waiting and if it stays the same i'll buy it for Xmas.  The local cinema advertises 2D films at £5.50 and 3D films at £7.50, so that's a good mark up, i once paid the equivalent of $110 for a pan and scan version of Lethal Weapon on VHS, that was the eighties and i guess i must have liked the film a lot, i don't like paying too much these days as i have become used to low prices.


     :Fun Movie Quotes:

"A good body with a dull brain is as cheap as life itself"   

"Maybe it's a sheep dog... let's keep going" 

"Please doctor, I've got to ask this. It sounds like, well, just as though you're describing some form of super carrot"

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#28 of 36 ONLINE   RolandL

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Posted July 11 2014 - 07:39 AM

I want to buy Frozen but it hasn't moved down in price yet, somehow i don't think it will come down, i'll keep waiting and if it stays the same i'll buy it for Xmas.  The local cinema advertises 2D films at £5.50 and 3D films at £7.50, so that's a good mark up, i once paid the equivalent of $110 for a pan and scan version of Lethal Weapon on VHS, that was the eighties and i guess i must have liked the film a lot, i don't like paying too much these days as i have become used to low prices.

 

You can get it on eBay for less if you don't mind it being used.


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#29 of 36 OFFLINE   theonemacduff

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Posted July 11 2014 - 08:32 AM

I agree with Dick and Josh; the premium added to 3D is outrageous. The differential between DVD and BR at, say, WalMart is around $2 or $3, $22 for a just out DVD, $24 or $25 for the same title in BR. Yet for 3D, the price on a BR never seems to dip below $40 or even in some cases $50, and Disney is one of the worst offenders. It's worse too up here in Canada, where even Amazon prices are higher than they are in the States, even though  you are not shipping internationally. And why? Simple greed, that is, the knowledge of the producers that they can get away with charging a premium on certain products. Disney can do it because potential purchasers have kids tugging at their pant leg -- Daddy, we really really want to see Brave again. Can we please? -- and Daddy caves. In my local emporium Brave 2D has never yet dipped below $35, and most days it's closer to $40. And Brave in 3D? Forget about it. Another example: any Spielberg film. Of course, quite often, a Steve-O film will go down in price, but on initial release, they are almost always at a higher price, and they typically take longer to go down, because the producers know that Spielberg has unparalleled name recognition, and they can get away with the premium.

 

Of course, it is kind of a vicious circle that 3D is trapped in at this point. Originally, it's new tech, it costs a lot, and the early adopters are willing to pay a premium for content. And one expects that, as the market expands, the prices will drop, and more content will come on line. Problem is, it hasn't really happened that way, because first, prices on TVs and players didn't begin to drop, in my market anyways, until the last few months, so people who might have adopted, if prices had moved lower sooner, hesitated, with the result that prices stayed high; when I went to Costco to price out a 3D TV, I was told that they stopped carrying them about a year ago, because of low sales. As well, on discs, prices have remained high, so after my Costco trip, my thought was, well, never mind, there's not a lot of point mayebe in investing in the tech, if I am going to be chained forever to these through the roof prices on content. And do I really want a copy of Jack the Giant Killer anyhow? For every Gravity (which I saw in the theatres), every Cave of Forgotten Dreams, there are probably going to be two or three Giant Killers, or Transformers 4, and there's not been a lot of older 3D content re-released either, and the 3D back-conversions are not great, and on and on, and in fact, a thousand reasons not to invest, and, staring you in the face, every time you go look for a disc, are those top dollar prices. But I'm whining too much, I fear, so I will close with the obvious observation that if the studios really wanted to sell a lot of 3D, they have probably missed the boat. It's become a niche market, of sorts, and so they continue to feel justified in charging the premium that afflicts other niche products.


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#30 of 36 OFFLINE   Josh Steinberg

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Posted July 11 2014 - 09:35 AM

Jon Paul - agreed that the pricing is outrageous, the examples you give are spot-on.

 

I appreciate that Disney's Marvel releases are at least experimenting with bringing the prices lower -- Avengers and Iron Man 3 were released in the BD3D/BD2D/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack that goes for about $35 (suggested retail price closer to $50), but for Thor: The Dark World and the upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier, they've dropped the DVD and knocked about ten bucks off the price, so that's progress I suppose.

 

And some smaller labels, like Lionsgate, are now providing the 3D copy on the same disc at no additional charge.  Which is great.  What's less great is that the selection from them is still pretty limited, and not as much to my liking ("Dredd", "Step Up Revolution", "I Frankenstein"), but I like the idea.  It's one less product for them to design and manufacture, and one less SKU for stories and online retailers to deal with.  I'm hoping that we get more of that in the future, but not exactly holding my breath.  At least there's a little precedence - remember when DVD first came out, if a title had a DTS track, there was often a separate DTS-only release at the beginning of DVD.  Eventually they stopped doing that and just included the DTS track on the same disc.  Perhaps with 3D they can start doing the same.

 

I think they just have to decide if 3D is something that's merely a gimmick to be charged more for, or if it's a vital artistic component to the film itself.  If it's a vital part of the film, you don't charge extra for it, and the reward for the studios then won't be that people are paying more for the films, it's that they're paying to see them in the first place.  That's what the resurgence of 3D was supposed to be about anyway -- not charging more for people to come to theaters, but fighting the decline in attendance by giving a premium experience that can't be easily matched or recreated at home.


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#31 of 36 OFFLINE   Dick

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Posted July 11 2014 - 03:37 PM

(An IMAX movie in NYC has just gone up to $22.  Which means I could have pre-ordered the new "Transformers" movie on Blu-ray for less than the price of seeing the same movie in theaters.  How long before people start doing that with everything?  No matter how cool or how big the IMAX screen is, where's that line in the sand where people will say, nevermind, I'll see it at home for less?)

There is a breaking point, just as there almost certainly is for the price of gasoline -once we cross a certain line, people will discontinue leisure travel, which will affect countless businesses nationwide. I guess it is in the nature of corporations to push people as far as they are willing to go along, and will then pull back when revenues begin to dwindle.


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#32 of 36 OFFLINE   Josh Steinberg

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Posted July 11 2014 - 04:38 PM

There is a breaking point, just as there almost certainly is for the price of gasoline -once we cross a certain line, people will discontinue leisure travel, which will affect countless businesses nationwide. I guess it is in the nature of corporations to push people as far as they are willing to go along, and will then pull back when revenues begin to dwindle.

 

Dick, I agree completely and I wonder if we might already be there, and studios just haven't figured it out yet...

 

I'm in no way advocating piracy, but I've read several articles (and other people on this forum have cited similar studies) that suggest that as much as 25% of all internet traffic is pirated movie and music downloads.  What I'm wondering is, and I don't know quite how to phrase this... with your example above, if gas prices are too high, you don't get to travel, and you stay home.  With movies, theoretically, if someone can't afford the price of a ticket or the price of a disc, that someone could still download it illegally.  I don't know how that changes the economics of the business longterm, but it's kind of a first in the history of supply and demand, where if people can't afford to buy something, they can easily (theoretically) get a copy of the exact same thing for free illegally.  Does that de-value the system as a whole?  Does it create two classes of moviewatchers, where one group is asked to pay increasingly rising prices to subsidize a large percentage of people who pay nothing?

 

(More of just thinking outloud than actually presenting any concrete ideas above)



#33 of 36 OFFLINE   Dick

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Posted July 12 2014 - 04:43 AM

 
Does that de-value the system as a whole?  Does it create two classes of moviewatchers, where one group is asked to pay increasingly rising prices to subsidize a large percentage of people who pay nothing?

Well, that, too. It is also how the health care system works. Those of us who pay, pay more (via insurance, usually) in order to take care of the indigent. Of course, movie collecting is a commodity, and is not a life or death matter. But the principle is similar.



#34 of 36 OFFLINE   theonemacduff

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Posted July 12 2014 - 12:43 PM

Yeah, I had totally forgotten about the DTS premium. I never bothered with those discs beause it would have meant splurging on another reciever less than two years after I had upgraded to a Marantz which I loved (and which is now, many many years later, due for an upgrade). Or like the Superbit releases..... 



#35 of 36 OFFLINE   FoxyMulder

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Posted July 12 2014 - 12:50 PM

Yeah, I had totally forgotten about the DTS premium. I never bothered with those discs beause it would have meant splurging on another reciever less than two years after I had upgraded to a Marantz which I loved (and which is now, many many years later, due for an upgrade). Or like the Superbit releases..... 

 

The dts premium had full bitrate 1536kps soundtracks, i was disappointed with the Superbit titles, they had half bitrate at 768kps, it might have been the placebo effect but i swear the full bitrate titles had a richer sound to them, now of course the bass was also boosted by 10db to make them all sound better than the Dolby rival, increasing bass often fools the brain into thinking it's better.

 

Dolby claimed their compression was better and 448kbps was equivalent to full bitrate dts and 640kbps Dolby was better than full bitrate dts, it doesn't matter now but it was all very interesting back then.

 

Here we are many years into the future and both audio formats are still around with dts now the master of the lossless format and Dolby fighting back with Atmos in the home, of course dts will be bringing their own new format out as competition to Atmos, all exciting times if you enjoy your audio but it's still up to the sound mixers to make everything work, forget the codec, it's the sound mix that influences things more these days, a bad sound mix will still be rubbish regardless of the lossless formats.


     :Fun Movie Quotes:

"A good body with a dull brain is as cheap as life itself"   

"Maybe it's a sheep dog... let's keep going" 

"Please doctor, I've got to ask this. It sounds like, well, just as though you're describing some form of super carrot"

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#36 of 36 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted July 13 2014 - 02:13 PM

I've stopped buying 3D new almost entirely.
Cheapest I've seen on first week is this week's Rio 2 at BB for $23*


Been buying used from MovieStop and have been averaging about $13 at view.

Lego movie prices are preposterous.
Cheapest I found it was CH for $27 and I only bought because they had a ten dollar coupon available.
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