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On Star Wars and the Ridiculous Cost of 3D Movies: A Mother's Rant

3d movies

Is the extra movie price for 3 D movies worth it?

I was in elementary school when the Star Wars movies came out, and it wasn’t long until my little brother and I became obsessed. I had a massive plastic Stormtrooper helmet — God knows how many phthalates I was inhaling when I wore it — as well as a multitude of Kenner Star Wars action figures and even Star Wars sheets. When the next trilogy of Star Wars movies was released, it was exciting for me to share my childhood joy with my son. He caught on quickly, as evidenced by the life-size cutout of Clone Trooper Captain Rex upstairs in his bedroom right now and a DVR set to record Star Wars: The Clone Wars every Friday night on Cartoon Network.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that the entire family looked forward to seeing The Phanton Menace in 3-D this weekend. We thought it would be cool to see whatever new features would show up in the 3-D version of the film. Fifty-four dollars and a couple hours later and we all stood up from our stadium seating and looked at each other quizzically. What the heck was the point? There was nothing appreciably different about the 3-D movie to us, other than the subtitles floating out in space when the flying blue dude with the spaceship parts store was speaking. $54! As we left the theater, my husband said he wanted to personally throttle George Lucas.

This is what really peeves me about the movie industry right now. Every movie that comes out that may be of any interest to kids must be in 3-D, and parents must then shell out even more money to take their children to see it. (Sure they also offer a 2-D version, but it’s usually shown on fewer screens at fewer times.) Have I mentioned we spent $54?!! That’s not including refreshments at the concession stand. And we all agreed that what we saw didn’t feel much different from the movie we had already seen. Grrrr.

Movie theaters are charging about three dollars more per ticket for 3-D movies.  The average movie ticket is nearly eight dollars, and I can’t understand why what feels like minimal additional effects should add almost 50% to the price of a ticket.  Is it me?

The Cinema Blend website does reviews of 3-D movies, comparing them to their 2-D versions and giving recommendations as to whether the 3-D movie price is worth it. They gave Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace in 3D a score of 28 out of 35, explaining, “Scenes set in space especially have a real sense of expanding depth, as if that star there is just a little bit further away than that star there.” Maybe it’s because we’re not professional movie reviewers but we just didn’t see that, and in my world if the consumer doesn’t get the benefit then it doesn’t count.

The Hollywood Reporter says movie tickets hit an all-time high last year, and that there were more 3D releases in 2011 than ever, “… but the average take for a 3D movie was down from the previous year.”  Wanna know why the average take went down? Probably because parents got tired of paying so much and getting so little. Especially when all we have to do is wait a year or two and then watch the movie with the entire family for between $3 and $5 on DirecTV or VUDU.

Stop it with the 3D craziness already. Parents aren’t fooled anymore.

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