Monday Morning Quarterback Part II

By BOP Staff

February 11, 2009

Just look at all that roid rage.

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Now! Fabulous scares in 3-D! And smell-o-vision!

Kim Hollis: Do you see the price of 3-D tickets continuing to skew overall box office revenue or do you expect more of a balance as Real-D technology becomes more ubiquitous?

David Mumpower: There are two main reasons why I expect the pricing inequality to continue. The first is that as long as the technology is considered high-end, a mark-up is to be expected under the same rationale that currently makes Blu-Ray disc pricing so outrageous. The second is that in order for a movie chain to exhibit the Real-D technology, they have to go through expensive upgrades of their facilities. While Real-D does have some revenue sharing incentives in place to offset the costs somewhat, major movie chains have strongly hinted that we won't see heavy penetration of this technology until such a time as movie studios are willing to subsidize the expenses in order to sell the best (and most expensive) versions of their products.

Moving forward, this is a crucial aspect of 2009 movie discussion. We have already seen the introduction of two Real-D titles, My Bloody Valentine and Coraline, into the marketplace. The rest of the 2009 schedule currently shows 13 (!) more Real-D titles. That means we will be at least somewhat discussing this topic every three weeks from now until the end of the year. In case you are curious, here are the Real-D titles expected in 2009: Jonas Brothers: Burning Up Concert, Monsters Vs. Aliens, Up, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs , G-Force, Final Destination: Death Trip 3D, Toy Story (3-D re-release), Astro Boy, Horrorween, A Christmas Carol, Planet 51, Avatar (the biggest of the bunch) and The Princess and the Frog.


Brandon Scott: Yeah, the disparity will continue and the upgrade cost for theaters is noteworthy. We touched on this in past weeks, but I feel that theaters are going to need this in order to attract audiences in the next decade or so. Again, with DVD/Blu Ray discs in home theaters being a more affordable alternative (once the upgrades to a widescreen TV, for example, have been made), theaters will continue to need to offer something more unique to keep asses in seats. Yeah, current economic situation seems to insinuate that this might not do well, but it's a double or triple-edged sword in that regard, I think.

Max Braden: That list of 13 titles is more than I expected, but it still represents a small fraction of the total number of movies a theater will show in a year. So the theaters are going to have to decide if those markets - animation, concerts, and horror - are going to be worth upgrading for and will sustain the cost. I would think that parents with a gaggle of kids would rather pay the conventional price than the higher price for 3-D. Eventually as it just makes sense to replace old technology with new then we'll see closer ticket pricing, but I don't think it will be in the next two years.

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