Movie Business... in 3D

Before I talk about Pixar's wonderful and heartfelt animated movie Up, just wanted to discuss the business of 3D movies.

You probably won't believe this, but I didn't see Jolie in 3D by missing out on Beowulf. And so Up is actually my first 3D movie. First thing that struck me was the price: $16.50! That's a ~30% premium over the regular $12.00 price tag (which by itself is rather ridiculous)! This of course awakens the consultant.

So I did some background research in Google (NY Times, Wired, Cnet articles) to see how everybody makes money off me. Turns out the cost to make a movie become 3D is $10 to 15 million. To me, that's SHOCKINGLY low: any 2D blockbuster that is expected to gross $100M should do 3D!

As for the viewing experience, I didn't find it justifying the 30% premium. In fact, I took off my glasses at some point and was shocked to find that the picture was the same as the one I saw when I have my "3D glasses" on! PNGF, however, swears that Jolie's boobs were much bigger in 3D (the exact words she used was "Beowulf was really good in 3D", but I knew what she meant)... so my verdict is that the 3D premium isn't justified for Up for now.

In the end, it's about the customer experience. My guess is that cartoons and Disney movies (target audience: kids and their families) and horror movies (target audience: young males) will greatly benefit from 3D. For kids, any novelty will grab their attention. For young males, heightened senses in 3D will surely boost the feel of a horror film. However, that market will end there as well.

Quick comment on building 3D theaters. According to the article, it takes $100K to outfit a 3D screen, and nobody wants to pay for it. Movie theaters are a concessionier business, meaning they make money from selling popcorn and not the movie. 2D or 3D, the drinks and pop corn still sell, so I don't really see any theater rushing to make itself 3D. Studios will love it obviously due to the ticket price premium. Besides, if these are blockbusters to begin with, why would any theater shell out the money? I doubt many movie goers knows whether it is 2D or 3D when they head to their neighborhood shows. Studios, pay up!

Quite fittingly, this was the sky we saw as we walked out of the theater after watching Pixar's wonderful animated movie .

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Absolutely loved the movie, especially these very "there's sand in the wind" moments for Josekin:
  • The first 15 minutes where our main character Carl doesn't speak a word but you learn everything about him
  • The middle-end 5 minutes where Carl movers on to his next adventure
By the way, the very delightful Russel features the voice of an Asian American Jordan Nagai, first in Pixar movies, according to IMDB.

Anyway, back to the movie: Pixar never disappoints. I loved the simplicity of the whole thing. Simple, yet deep in some respects. Dreams should never be abandoned... because they will bring back the memories. And yet sometimes you just have to let go of the dreams if you become too obsessed with it.

Verdict: Highly recommend 2D. 3D if you don't mind a few extra dollars also highly recommended.


shmoo said...

There's another reason for theaters to go 3D, though. In these days of DVD, home theater, and ever-increasing television dimensions, it's a way to make the theater-experience unique. However, a 30% premium (though it was only $3 extra on a $10.50 ticket for me yesterday) will at least partially offset that.

shmoo said...

Also, regarding the Asian character: to be fair, most Pixar movies do not feature people.

Or are you talking about the actor? In which case I guess I'm surprised he's the first.