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LONDON – British cinemagoers are getting choosy about whether they will pay extra to see movies in 3D according to new research from the British Film Institute, which found that the proportion prepared to pay to see 3D movies in 3D format has fallen 23 percent compared with the same period last year.
In the first half of 2010, 78 per cent of audiences going to see movies like Alice In Wonderlandand others in 3D opted to see them in the enhanced format, with just 22 percent choosing to see a 3D film in standard definition.
But in the first half of 2011 the proportion of those choosing to pay a premium price to see a 3D movie had fallen by 23 percent, with just 60 percent opting to see titles in 3D, while 40 percent preferred the lower-price 2D experience.
With prices for an adult cinema ticket to a 3D movie as much as $29 at a top central London venue, and with 3D glasses hire charged on top of that, there are fears that high prices could be deterring customers.
However, BFI head of research and statistics Sean Perkins said it was “too early to tell” if this is part of a longer term trend.
“There are a lot of high profile 3D titles coming out this year,” he said, pointing to Martin Scorsese’s upcoming Hugo Cabret and The Peter Jackson/Steven Spielbergouting The Adventures of Tintin.
But he said there was evidence to suggest that while audiences were prepared to pay to see movies made and produced in 3D, that wasn’t always the case for 2D-to-3D conversions.
“If something is envisaged as a 3D project from the outset then people are more willing to pay. If 3D is added afterwards then people are making more of a choice-based decision on the evidence so far this year,” Perkins said.
According to the BFI’s annual round-up of the British film industry to the end of 2010, film production grew by 7% to $1.9 billion domestically and the number of screens rose to 3,671 across the UK, 1067 of which were 3D-capable.
Box office receipts reached a new record of $1.6 billion in 2010,
Feature film rental accounted for $2.6 billion and the VOD film market grew 22% to $259 million in 2010, the last year for which figures were available.
BFI chief executive Amanda Neville said the year had been one of “mixed fortunes” with the increase in film viewing and increased investment being offset by a decline in DVD sales.
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