DreamWorks Animation executive Jeffrey Katzenberg told SCI FI Wire that viewers will have to pay $3 to $5 more to see Monsters vs. Aliens in 3-D when it opens on March 27 to cover the extra cost of adding that third dimension. (The movie will also screen in 2-D in conventional theaters, where the ticket costs won't include the extra charge.)
But he said it will be worth the extra money. "You know, I wish the timing were different in that regard," Katzenberg said with a sigh when we asked if he had some concern about lower audience attendance because of the extra cost. "But if you look at the patterns of what people have done, you see that people want to have the opportunity to see it in 3-D, and they will pay the extra charge to go see it. And, over time in the next two years, it will be the norm to see movies in 3-D anyway."
Katzenberg likens the situation to when the animated animal romp Madagascar was also available on 3-D screens and on IMAX. "That showed that people will pay $3 to $5 to see it in that form," he said. "Less than 20 percent of the venues were on 3-D screens, but it was 40 percent of the business. Any time you offer a 3-D version, audiences seem to migrate to it."
The change to 3-D movies admittedly has slowed because of the economy. "The credit and financial markets slowed the 3-D rollout," Katzenberg said. "It costs about $20,000 to $75,000 to turn a screen into 3-D."
There are about 5,000 screens that will play Monsters vs. Aliens in a 3-D format, and Katzenberg said the $150 million film cost about $15 million more to make in 3-D. The movie still requires glasses, but Katzenberg said they're making the eyewear more comfortable, and he also sees a day when the glasses won't be necessary.
"But that is a technological thing that I don't understand," said Katzenberg, who had trouble turning on his hand-held mic while talking to selected press people. "Look, I can't even turn the microphone on; I don't think you want me talking about that."