Wednesday, September 10, 2008

3D Coming to a Theater Near You

Major movie theater chains and independent movie houses are trying to make the jump to 3D pictures to entice couch potatoes out of their 50-inch screen, THX powered homes. The leader in this technology area is RealD Corp., of Beverly Hills, California. In order to run 3D pictures a theater first has to upgrade to digital projection, then add the RealD 3D system to it.

Major theater chains such as Regal Entertainment Group and Cinemark USA Inc. have signed deals to outfit 1500 screens with RealD 3D projection technology. The Cinema Buying Group LLC, which represents 643 small theater owners in the US and Canada, has said it plans to add 3D equipment to 1,000 of the 8,000 screens it represents.

Digital 3D Theater Factoids
Cost to upgrade reel-based projector to digital projector: $50,000 - $70,000 per screen
Cost to license RealD 3D technology: $20,000 per screen over 10 years
Theaters with RealD screens in North America: 1200
Theaters with RealD screens in North America by the end of 2008: 3200

Premium charged for 3D ticket: $2 - $5

Movie tickets sold in US in 2002: 1.6 billion
Movie tickets sold in US in 2007: 1.4 billion
Source: Motion Picture Association of America

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