This reviewer has just returned from purchasing two tickets to Dreamworks’ new release How to Train Your Dragon. Fresh on the tails of the popular (though loathed) Alice in Wonderland and hyper-mega-blockbuster Avatar, HTTYD is also being released in multiple flavors of 3D, and this time, it’s going to cost you.
For the record, I rarely see a movie without using Regal/Edwards discount tickets (available from Costco and AAA fo $15/pair). For quite a while, these tickets would get me into any movie at my local Edwards cinema, be it a normal screen or an IMAX, 2D or 3D. It was an oversight on their part not to charge more for the IMAX movies, but they corrected that oversight when they added a $5 surcharge for IMAX films when The Dark Knight was released. Fair enough.
However, my recent purchase for HTTYD in IMAX 3D required an additional $1.50 per ticket for the privilege of 3D viewing. I inquired as to the new surcharge and the ticketing attendant informed me that price increase went into effect yesterday. Even with my discounted Costco ticket, this movie cost me $14.00. Babbler Johnny just watched Alice in Wonderland in non-IMAX 3D and paid an additional $3 on top of his discount ticket. Theater prices are going up from coast to coast as evidenced by this story from Fresno, California and this story from New York, NY.
Avatar was a fantastic movie-going event, but it was a double-edged sword. It proved to the industry that 3D works as a medium and that it sells tickets by the ton (by the metric ton, internationally). It broke new ground and now it’s going to start breaking our wallets. 3D is the cash cow that’s going to allow theaters to start making money on tickets, and not just on concessions (which, as a matter of personal thriftiness, I almost never buy.) I think I’m going to have to find a niche post somewhere reviewing only those movies that have hit the $1,$2, and $3 theaters.
Look for my review of How to Train Your Dragon soon; it might be last review of an opening-weekend movie for a while!