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NATO isn't happy about Sony's 3-D plan

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Sony sent shock waves through the film industry when it announced yesterday that, starting in May 2012, it would no longer subsidize the cost of 3-D glasses for its releases.

Understandably, the bold move has many parties concerned. After all, someone has to pay for the hordes of expensive frames.

But according to the National Association of Theater Owners, exhibitors don’t want to be the ones to do it! NATO has just issued a rather disgruntled response. Check it out below:

(Washington, D.C. And North Hollywood, CA – September 28, 2011) Recent press reports indicate that Sony has decided to stop providing 3-D 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 3-D glasses to patrons is well established as part of the 3-D 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 3-D revolution in 2005 it has been understood that exhibitors would bear the weight of technological and facility modification costs related to 3-D, while distribution took on the cost of 3-D 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.

What do you think? Does NATO have a point here? Are you concerned that Sony’s decision to no longer pay for 3-D glasses will lead to even higher 3-D surcharges for you at the theater?

Read more:

Sony to stop funding 3-D glasses next May. So who will pay for them? Perhaps you.

‘The Lion King 3D’: Is it the dawn of the 3-D reissue?

Summer 2011 box office hits record $4.4 billion, but…

Follow Grady on Twitter: @EWGradySmith