Sony Fires Back at NATO Over 3D Glasses

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Sony wants to stop paying for the glasses required to view theatrical projection in 3D.

The studio calls on theater owners to engage in "collegial dialogue" after being rebuked for saying it will no longer foot the bill for the lenses.

Sony Pictures Entertainment has called on theater owners to engage in "collegial dialogue" over the hot-button issue of who should pay for 3D glasses.

Sony issued its statement only hours after coming under attack by exhibitors for its decision to no longer pay for 3D glasses, effective May 1, 2012.

"There are constructive ways to deal with the cost of 3D glasses that will not adversely impact consumers, and can also help the environment," Sony spokesperson Steve Elzer said.

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Earlier on Tuesday, the National Association of Theater Owners said Sony was being "insensitive" to moviegoers, and that Sony should have held more discussions with exhibitors before sending a letter out last week announcing the new policy.

But Sony took issue with NATO's comments.

"NATO’s statement that it has been 'understood' that distributors would always bear the cost of 3D glasses is incorrect, because there never has been any such agreement. In fact, we have been speaking with people in the industry for a long time about the need to move to a new model, so this certainly comes as a surprise to no one in the business," Sony spokesperson Steve Elzer said.

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"We invite theater owners to engage in a collegial dialogue with us about this issue, including at ShowEast next month.  By working together on a business-to-business basis, we are confident a reasonable solution can be reached that brings benefits to consumers, the entertainment industry and the environment," Elzer continued.

Like NATO, Regal Entertainment also issued a statement questioning Sony's decision. Regal CEO Amy Miles went so far as to say the circuit may give less play time to 3D movies should Sony's policy stick.

Sony has two high-profile 3D releases in summer 2012 -- Men in Black III and The Amazing Spider-Man.