Why Kiddie Movies Are All 3-D

Slate's Culture Blog
March 26 2010 5:19 PM

Why Kiddie Movies Are All 3-D

How To Train Your Dragon* comes out today, and my husband and I are considering taking the kids (6 and 3) to see it-a convenient way to kill some time on what promises to be a rainy Sunday afternoon. Like many other kiddie movies that have come out recently ( Monsters vs. Aliens , Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs , Alice in Wonderland ), it will be in 3-D. And I suspect that every kid-friendly movie that comes out in the future will be in 3-D, too. This is highly annoying, because our local multiplex does not offer child rates for 3-D movie tickets. And my informal survey-of co-workers and Facebook friends (all in different cities) and various theater-chain Web sites-shows either that 3-D ticket prices nationwide are the same for adults and kids or that both have been inflated. Either way, it's not a cheap afternoon, especially when you factor in the snacks.

When my husband and I go to a movie by ourselves, we buy our $10 tickets and maybe split a Coke. If we go to a regular 2-D movie with the kids, we buy our $10 tickets, the kids' $7 tickets, and then lay out another $20 on popcorn, lemonade, and whatever else we need to keep them in their seats. In other words, the theater more than recoups the discount it offers on tickets. But taking a family of four to see a movie in 3-D quickly becomes a $75 outing, not counting any lunch or dinner out. And even excluding concessions, you stand to lose $50. (Random thought: Could the kiddie-ticket hike help explain the rather astonishing success of Alice in Wonderland , which broke Avatar 's record for a 3-D premiere?)

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Is it worth it? That depends on the movie, of course. Monsters vs. Aliens was a treat in 3-D (although it's pretty good simply in hi-def). When Pixar re-released Toy Story and Toy Story 2 for a limited 3-D run last fall to promote Toy Story 3 , it was a mediocre experience since the movies hadn't been filmed with 3-D in mind. For the most part, though, parents today are lucky in that kids movies are at least watchable for adults, if not downright enjoyable. So, yes, I'll probably be among the first in line for Toy Story 3

* Correction, March 29: The post originally identified the movie as How To Train a Dragon .  

Rachael Larimore is a Slate senior editor.

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