I’m currently trying an experiment to see which customers prefer, 2D or 3D and what drives their choice either way. The results are just as frustrating as I’d expected. After a couple of weeks of 3D & 2D Pirates 4 and doing performances of Kung Fu Panda 2 at identical times in both formats , in order of preference the choice seems to made by the following:
1. Time of the performance.
2. 2D preferably. It’s cheaper and the kids don’t give a monkeys. They don’t wear the glasses most of the time.
3. 3D if it’s on at the time I want.
Admittedly it’s not the most scientific of experiments and I’m sure the multiplexes have had swanky expensive consultants working this out, but it throws up some interesting thoughts.
As a business we have benefited from the initial rush with films like Avatar and Alice in Wonderland, however the glasses are phenomenally expensive to maintain. Xpand are now charging over £40 a pair and as much as I love your sweet little children normally, I hate them when they return the glasses with chewed ears or worse with cracked and broken lenses, rendering them useless.
Sadly they can’t be repaired so any 3D profit on that show has gone right out the window, and with the Xpand glasses it happens a lot. I could have chosen the passive glasses system but as anyone who has seen a 3D screening at a multiplex will know Real D is horribly dark, that combined with the need for a silver screen, making all other films look like crap, I went with the system that gives the best picture quality. Something I will always do. Can’t help myself.
So should I drop 3D?, it would be less stressy and the picture looks better. However, I don’t want to lose customers to the opposition and, certainly initially, that was why I put 3D in to The Picture House. On the evidence of the last few days most customers don’t care, they just want the film on at a time convenient for them. I also don’t want to put people off coming because I am only showing the film in 3D. It’s not always possible to offer both formats due to screen space.
Ultimately I think the 3D fad will pass, but until it does I will always be torn about how to handle it. With both Hobbit films in 3D it looks like we’ll have to wear it until at least Christmas 2013. Ho hum.