SONY has warned it will stop paying millions per film for disposable 3D glasses starting next summer.
The move was announced in a letter sent to cinema owners in the US, and will coincide with the release of blockbusters -- The Amazing Spider-Man and Men in Black III -- in 3D. The abrupt policy change comes as studios are struggling to adapt their business to falling DVD sales, while digital sales have not made up the difference.
Moviegoers, who already pay an additional premium for 3D movie tickets, could be annoyed if they are burdened with a new expense amid high unemployment and a weak economy.
Sony's worldwide president of distribution, Rory Bruer, said that the studio was trying to give cinema owners a long lead time before the move goes into effect.
It is unclear who will pay for the glasses: cinema owners, who are financing the billions of dollars necessary to equip theatres with 3D and digital equipment; advertisers; or even by consumers who might have to buy 3D glasses and keep them for their next visit.
At least one rival studio said it is not jumping on the bandwagon. Warner Bros said it was keeping its current system in place.