UPDATE: Theaters Are PISSED That Sony Doesn’t Want to Pay for 3D Glasses Anymore

Yeah, so last week, we reported that Sony had decided it was not going to pay for 3D glasses anymore.  Patrons were outraged at the idea, especially with ticket prices already through the roof for usually pretty bad conversions.

Well now, the National Association of Theater Owners has put out their own statement, and it turns out they’re pretty angry as well:

“Recent press reports indicate that Sony has decided to stop providing 3D glasses to consumers and wants moviegoers to buy their own glasses. NATO believes Sony’s suggestion is insensitive to our patrons, particularly in the midst of continuing economic distress. Sony’s actions raise serious concerns for our members who believe that provision of 3D glasses to patrons is well established as part of the 3D experience.

While each exhibition company must make its own decision as to how to handle its business arrangements and how to respond to this development, we are concerned that Sony’s attempt to change this business model would unilaterally upend long-standing industry practices. Since the onset of the digital 3D revolution in 2005 it has been understood that exhibitors would bear the weight of technological and facility modification costs related to 3D, while distribution took on the cost of 3D glasses. Any changes to that understanding must be undertaken through the mutual agreement of both sides of the business. The recent uproar over four studios’ unilateral decision to radically shorten the theatrical release window for their failed DirecTV premium VOD experiment vividly illustrates the downside of movie studios announcing fundamental changes to business models without negotiating with their exhibition partners first.

Sony would be well advised to revisit its decision.”

Wow…that last line almost sounded like a threat, didn’t it?

Sony, itself, issued it’s own counter response to NATO, saying:

“There are constructive ways to deal with the cost of 3D glasses that will not adversely impact consumers, and can also help the environment.

NATO’s statement that it has been “understood” that distributors would always bear the cost of 3D glasses is incorrect, because there never has been any such agreement. In fact, we have been speaking with people in the industry for a long time about the need to move to a new model, so this certainly comes as a surprise to no one in the business.

We invite theater owners to engage in a collegial dialogue with us about this issue, including at ShowEast next month. By working together on a business-to-business basis, we are confident a reasonable solution can be reached that brings benefits to consumers, the entertainment industry and the environment.”

Yeah…I don’t think there’s any way that Sony is going to be winning this war.  We’ll see where this goes in a few weeks, but something tells me that 3D will be dead in the water very, very soon…

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