Steven Spielberg & Peter Jackson Rant About 3D Ticket Prices

Published 3 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 8:47 pm,

Moviegoers are constantly trying to decide between 3D and 2D movie experiences. Without question, the ticket prices for 3D showings scare some people away. But if legendary directors Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson have anything to say about it, all tickets would be created equal – except IMAX.

Studios are making a fortune on 3D ticket prices these days. Five of the top seven grossing films of 2011 so far included 3D releases and Harry Potter just smashed almost every record in the books with its opening weekend take. As 3D continues to become the industry standard for blockbuster action movies, our eyes turn to its future. Where will ticket prices go as the medium becomes even more customary?

During the press conference for The Adventures of Tintin, both Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson addressed the issue. Both are making major strides into 3D territory, with Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit pushing the boundaries on multiple levels – just like James Cameron’s Avatar did recently.

Listen to their 3-minute response to a query on the future of 3D:

Click here to play or download

It’s refreshing to hear two of the most renowned filmmakers of all-time embracing the new technology with the right mindset. The format is still in its experimental stage and even Martin Scorsese is giving it a try with Hugo. But only a handful of filmmakers have put the effort in to shoot 3D the right way – and refrain from the easy post-conversion path.

Still, not all “shot-in-3D” movies are great:

Peter Jackson: “With the right movie, 3D can enhance the experience. Absolutely it can make a good film a great film and a great film a really amazing film to see and that’s what I hang on to. But certainly the projection brightness issue needs to be addressed.”

Peter Jackson: “The audiences have now come to realize that there are bad movies that can be in 3D as well and on top of that you being charged an extra $5 to see a movie that was as bad as one you saw in 2D. [The increased ticket prices] are starting to backfire a little bit.”

Spielberg: “Not every movie in my opinion should be shot in 3D. Little love stories I wouldn’t shoot in 3D. But there are movies that are a perfect for 3D. I think the last great 3D movie I saw that enhanced the experience for me was the last Transformers.”

Spielberg’s main goal with 3D seems to be full integration in entertainment. He wants it to be the norm and prices to reflect it. If you are a Spielberg fan, you may become even more of one after his comments on 3D.

Steven Spielberg: “I am certainly hoping that 3D gets to a point where people do not notice it. Because once they stop noticing it, it just becomes another tool and helps tell a story. Then maybe they can make ticket prices comparable to a 2D movie and not charge such exorbitant prices just to gain entry into a 3D one, with the exception of IMAX – we are getting a premium experience in a premium environment. But to show a 3D movie in a similar theater in a multiplex next to another similar theater showing a 2D movie, hopefully someday there will be so many 3D movies, prices will come down – which I think will be fair to the consumer.”

There is no question that 3D is here for a while. If it goes away, it won’t be for a few years. A number of high-profile movies are planned for 3D and as long as the money is coming in, the Hollywood landscape won’t be changing. Still, it is a difficult environment to live in as a consumer because some films really do lend themselves to 3D, leading to massive box office numbers.

Discuss the state of 3D in our comments section and let us know if you agree or disagree with Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg.

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  1. “The audiences have now come to realize that there are bad movies that can be in 3D as well and on top of that you being charged an extra $5 to see a movie that was as bad as one you saw in 2D. [The increased ticket prices] are starting to backfire a little bit.”

    Jackson deserves another Oscar for telling it like it is…..

    • Representing New Zealand! That’s just how we are; honest (sometimes ruthless), we tell it like it is because we are not afraid about upsetting people.

      • that’s a great attitude.. kudos..

  2. The insanity of trying to take a family to a movie is ruining motion pictures in the long run. Why shell out that kind of money except for the most blockbuster movies when you can wait and buy the DVD or rent on cable. The end result is that we get movies that cost millions but have little value and small beautiful movies that die unseen. Anybody ever heard of the concept of lowering costs and increasing volume?

  3. I agree and disagree with Spielberg and jackson. I agree that ticket prices for 3D should be the same as regular and only IMAX should charge higher. However, I only think 3D would work for three to four films a year.

  4. My only fear is, those that decide pricing will not lower the cost of 3D tickets but instead raise the price of 2D. It’s a deceptive and underhanded but all too common business practice.

  5. So far i’ve seen every action movie that has come out this year in 3D, and i’ve ended up disapointed with most of them with the exception of Drive Angry, the 3D effects came out of the screen alot, it did not stay within the screen. The 3D in Transformers was good not great, there were time that it look like something was going to come at you and got cut premature into the next scene. when I go to see a movie in 3D, I want to see debri coming at me, bullet shells, broken glass, swords, ect.

  6. I don’t know why everyone raves about IMAX so much. It’s basically just like sitting in the front row of a regular theater. I personally like to sit dead center all the way last row in the back. I hate the front and IMAX cause you gotta move your head or keep moving your eyes around to follow the movie cause you’re so close.

    As for 3D, I’d love for it to die off as soon as possible. I was thrilled when they added a 2D midnight showing to Captain America last night. I went and exchanged my 3D tickets and saw it in 2D.

    • good choice the 3D stayed within the screen for most of the movie I threw my money away on this one. the movie as a whole was not bad i’ll give it 3 1/2 stars out of five.

      • The best kind of 3D does not “pop out” at you at all. AVATAR’s 3D succeeded brilliantly because it was like a window into another world and the 3D was used as a serious visual tool instead of a gimmic with crap flying in your face. AVATAR did it right.

  7. 3D could be used to show the story as if you were watching a stage production. I saw the Royal Metropolitan Opera house do “Carmen” in 3D and it was amazing because the 3D made me feel like i was in the audience of a live show.

    Thats what 3D should strive for, not cheap gags

    • hehe, it’s either the Metropolitan or the Royal, it’s rarely both.
      But in this case, it IS the Royal Opera House. (Met is New York, Royal is London)
      I didn’t know there was a 3D version of any opera showing, but this is BRILLIANT marketing on the part of the Royal Opera. I can only hope that our local theatre will also get the 3D versions of some of these operas.

      I also completely agree with you regarding the gimmicky side of 3D. I HATE seeing crap come “flying out of the screen”. That’s for 3yr olds. That was why I enjoyed Avatar so much: the 3D was immersive instead of taking you out of the story by tossing distracting stuff at you.

  8. I agree that 3D may enhance the experience but it also runs a risk of “gimmick”. If the audience is looking for the effect or notes the effect the fourth wall is shattered and the audience (even for an instant) is removed from the story. In extreme cases the audience is just looking for the effect and may be removed completely or extensively from the story. My hope is that the effect becomes part of the story. This will happen in time as the novelty factor matures to mere enhancement. Just like with color. It will (or has the potential at that point) then be only another tool in the collaborative art of storytelling.

  9. I’m glad to know they have the same take on 3D as most people do.

  10. I hate 3D

  11. Thank u Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg.

  12. Personally I don’t like 3D. To me, it doesn’t really add anything to the movie. Most of the time it’s unnecessary. I hate how the studios release just about every major blockbuster in 3D. It’s refreshing when you see guys like Nolan, Abrams, and Favreau refusing to give into the studio pressures.

    If you do some research, you’ll see that 2D ticket sales are outpacing 3D sales. I think people are very tired of the format and it will be a short lived fad. I don’t think there’s a real market for 3D because of the inflated prices. It’s expensive enough to go see a movie in 2D. At my local theater, a 3D matinee costs $11.25 per ticket. That’s ridiculous. Why would you pay that when you can get in for less money and see the same exact movie?

    Hopefully the fad dies off sooner rather than later.

  13. I totally agree with what Peter and Steven were saying. The dimness really needs working on. Right now I would rather see the movie with brighter and more vibrant colors, than I would in 3D.
    And the glasses are still annoying to were if it isn’t enhancing the movie. Steven is absolutely right in saying that 3D is not for every movie. Even action ones. At times it can become a distraction from the movie and that’s the exact opposite of what it should be. If it’s not enhancing the movie, then don’t shoot (or convert) the movie in 3D. All your going to do is make people hate your movie and hate 3D.

  14. The only blowback is at my Captain America 2D screening yesterday the damn screen was so dark it was hard to make out what was going on sometimes….thanks again to idiotic theater owners not changing the bulbs. I even told the manager who said that’s not the case to which I showed him a link discussing it and he looked dubmfounded. I informed him that not all moviegoers are lemmings, some of us appreciate paying out the ass for tickets and then expecting a top-notch presentation. What happened yesterday makes me weep for how Cowboys & Aliens will look on the big screen. I may just avoid the theater altogether now.

    • Why are you worried about Cowboys and Aliens? As far as I know, it isn’t being shown in 3D. Or did I miss something?

  15. I saw Dark Knight on IMAX, the first and so far only I’ve seen in the format. It was pretty impressive when the IMAX scenes were shown, and we all know the movie is great. However I didn’t feel as though I would have missed much had I seen it in the regular style. And I’d have saved a bit of cash too, but it’s all good. I will see TDKR regular. As for 3D, I enjoyed Avatar but I don’t tend to go for the 2D showings even on blockbusters. As well as the extra cost, I already wear specs so it’s damn annoying to have to put another pair over them. I had heard one big film will ‘only be in 3d’. I forger which. Guess I won’t be seeing whatever it is.

  16. i’ve been disappointed in 3D so far. i just seen the new harry potter. before the movie started, the theater had a promo for their 3D capabilities. it actualy looked like i was going to get hit by balls that were flying around. it was great! then the movie started and it was no better than if i woulda watched the 2D version. love the idea but not worth the money

    • Don’t judge 3D based on post-converted crap like Harry Potter. Watch a movie that was actually shot using 3D cameras–Transformers 3 is the most recent one, and it looks awesome, even though the rapidly moving camera takes much away from the experience. For absolutely amazing 3D I’d recommend Avatar, but it’s no longer in theaters.

      • I saw an awsome tire comercial in 3D during the previews before the Captain America movie. to bad the 3D wasn’t as good in the movie it self. I think that by the time the get it right the 3D phase will be dead.

        • Post-converted yet again. None of those will ever be as good as the ones shot in 3D. It’s not necessarily the converting process itself–I think you need to shoot the movie in a certain way for 3D to work. You need to show the scenes from certain angles and such for 3D to really pop out of the screen later. I don’t think many directors look at their movies with 3D in mind during the shooting itself–they think post-converting will just magically solve everything.

          Of course, 3D technology undeniably has a long way to go. Personally, the next 3D movies I’ll really be interested in are The Hobbit and Avatar 2. Both of those are bound to be a huge leap forward. Sadly, both are very far away.

  17. Hopefully we will get to the point when studios will stop converting the films. I have no problem paying the extra money if the film is shot using 3D cameras but I refuse to pay the extra amount for the converted films. For instance the next film I pay to see in 3D will be The Hobbit. I can’t wait to see Middle Earth jumping out at me. To bad it’s still over a year away.

  18. Transformers Dark Of The Moon was awesome in 3-D

  19. Post-converted 3D is crap crap crap crap. Do it right, or don’t do it at all. I refused to see Clash of the Titans in 3D specifically because of this.

  20. I don’t know, I haven’t had a decent 3-D experience since Avatar. No one has even come close matching how detailed that 3-D was in that film. I just saw Transformers 3 and I thought the movie was awesome but the 3-D did not wow me. I would give it second place to Avatar though. I’m not seeing any other 3-D movie unless it’s IMAX and shot entirely in 3-D. It’s funny and surprising Justin Bieber actually had great 3-D in his concert film. Yeah guys I’m not joking… Bieber.

  21. I had no idea 3-D prices were so high in other places. The theaters in m town LOWERED the 3-D surcharge from $2.50 to $1 per ticket. If 3-D can be that cheap here in Wyoming, it can be that cheap anywhere.

  22. Im still not a fan a 3d no matter what the prices is I just want to watch a movie thats all I dont need some gimic to enjoy it.

  23. I was reading this and agreeing with everything they said and then tried to remember the last 3-D film I saw… It was Captain America and it was a couple of days ago. I’ve honestly already stopped noticing 3D. It’s good for some things, but yes… Filmmakers should fix some of the brightness issues and theaters should lower the prices.

    Still I find it refreshing and respectable when an epic/action movie decides not to go the 3-D route (examples: Inception and Scott Pilgrim).

  24. Transformers’ 3D was awesome.

  25. I agree that not all movies shot in 3D can mean it’s worth seeing (Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides) and movies that are post-converted to 3D are also not worth seeing, (Green Lantern, Priest, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, Clash of the Titans, The Last Airbender, etc).

    But if you have a movie shot in 3D that certainly adds to the movie (Avatar, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Up, etc), then it would be more nessesary to spend extra money on the 3D.

  26. The 3D surcharge rates at the AMC chain in the Dallas area are ridiculous at $4. It was $1.50 when the 3D first hit3 years ago and the rice just jumped to $3 in one go and stayed there for a very short time before jumping to $4. I’m at the point where I just don;t do 3Dbecause of the outrageous surcharge. I know the theater needs to cover the cost of the hardware but clearly the $4 rate is far beyond what is necessary since they started at $1.50 just a few years ago.

    AVATAR is the ONLY movie I have ever seen worth paying $4 extra to see in 3D.

    On this one, the theater chains get a BIG FAIL.

  27. The theater chains are going to handle 3D surcharges over time just like the record and movie labels did with CDs & DVD’s. The extra charge will never go away even after the justification for them has but will instead be slowly phased into the ticket price itself taking the non-3D showings with it and in turn adding extra padding to non-3D ticket sales.

    Corporations with some form of retail sales like tickets at a theater can’t give up on an extra charge they’ve been getting no matter what it is. Its like tool roads with the government. Once the initial cost is covered all they can see is extra money that the buyer won’t care about because they’ve been paying it all along anyway. It angers me because its like cheating the customer.

  28. I think where the paying customer gets pissed is there’s no difference in ticket price with a movie shot in 3d vs. a movie that was converted from 2d to 3d. There’s a huge difference yet we pay the same premium.

  29. bah! its a sub-par, dated technology. at almost $15 a ticket (here in Australia),coupled with a stagnant overpriced economy, its not an enjoyable outing for people anymore.(not to mention the issue of eyerolling-rehashed films churned out from hollywoods cookiecuttter-production houses these days)
    Holographic projection is already pushing boundaries and the next development I predict will be utlized by filmmakers. All theatres will become virtual holodecks projecting the actors and sets around audience members.
    Maybe even directly into our homes with the continuing developmnent of streaming home entertainment.
    my two dollars worth…