This week, in movie-theater news: The five major movie studios have come to an agreement with the nation’s three major-theater chains over partially covering the costs of converting around 14,000 screens to the digital 3-D format. The chains will still have to raise about $1 billion to complete the digital conversions, but getting the commitment from the studios — which will be paying a “virtual” print fee but will ultimately be saving money by no longer have to ship physical film prints — was the expected first step. The entire process is expected to take three years.
Studios are betting heavy on the spectacle of 3-D to boost theater revenue, with the hopes that eventually people will be so enamored by the technology they’ll show up to the multiplex not just for movies but for concerts and games as well. Plus, theaters can charge more per ticket, which is also the idea behind the luxury-theater trend that isn’t going away — Gold Class Cinemas, a new luxury chain, is opening up in suburban Chicago today with some preposterous amenities. A $35 ticket gets you valet parking and a personal crony who’ll bring you slippers and a blanket; the duck tacos, Dom Perignon, and Wagyu-beef burgers are extra. Obviously, the timing here is a bit awkward, but both the 3-D and luxury trends are gearing up for the long haul — the future of moviegoing, if you will. To which we say: Ha! Everyone knows in the future movies will be beamed directly into our brains.