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Marcus Theatres Working on Adding 3D to UltraScreens

Posted on Friday, March 12th, 2010 2:31 PM

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Entrance to UltraScreen 1 at the Marcus Majestic Cinema in Brookfield, WI. Photo copyright 2007 SVJ Designs, LLC. All Rights Reserved.Marcus Theatres Corp. is working on adding 3D capability to their large-screen UltraScreen auditoriums, according to a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today:

Currently, the digital 3-D systems used by Marcus Theatres work only with conventional screens and cannot be displayed properly on the company's UltraScreens, which are up to 75 feet wide and 32 feet high.

But tests will begin soon on a digital 3-D system for the UltraScreens, said Doug Neis, chief financial officer at Marcus Corp., which owns Marcus Theatres and Marcus Hotels and Resorts.

Neis' comment came at the end of a presentation he and company CEO Greg Marcus made at Gabelli & Co.'s Digital Cinema and Movie Conference in New York.

Click the Read link below to read the full article.

According to our records, Marcus has at least one UltraScreen auditorium in 12 locations:

Marcus is definitely buying into 3D technology, as they just announced earlier this week that they were going to install 19 additional 3D Digital Cinema systems by April. The new installs will allow them to provide 3D at 43 of their 54 locations.

The article goes on to say that Greg Marcus told the conference attendees that "company executives have concluded that 3-D is more than just a fad, noting the box office success of the 3-D film Avatar."

Call me cynical, but I think it takes more than just one movie that has been hugely successful to make 3D an ongoing concern in the marketplace. After all, that movie took 12 years and had a budget of $237 million, and that's not going to be repeated very soon or very often. Many of the 3D movies coming up in the next two years are likely going to be conversions to 3D, like Clash of the Titans 3D. The decision to convert that movie to 3D came after production was complete, so it was not created with the intent of being shown in 3D (unlike Avatar, which was created from the beginning as a 3D movie).

How long will audiences be willing to pay a 30% or more upcharge to see a movie? I know those upcharges are great for theaters and movie studios, but they bring the ticket price of an evening show for two adults to $25 (at the Marcus Ridge Cinemas for example). That's about the price of a new release on Blu-ray high definition disc, so the inevitable comparison of cost and value are going to come into play.

Maybe 3D is here to stay, I don't know. If audiences like it, and theaters like it, and the studios like it, everyone wins. While I really enjoyed Avatar in 3D, I'm just not that convinced yet...

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