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Italian biz sees red in 3D rules fight

Health ministry warns that specs may be a risk

Italian exhibitors and distributors are up in arms over proposed regulations on 3D glasses that they claim would turn Italy into the planet’s most 3D-unfriendly territory.

The clash stems from last week’s health ministry directive recommending exhibitors use more hygienic disposable 3D glasses rather than reusable ones.

It also warns parents that 3D is “not advisable” for children younger than 6 because they have not developed binocular vision — the ability to use both eyes together — and that adults should limit 3D viewings to one show per day to avoid fatigue.

The directive is infuriating the local industry.

Italy, which has 500 3D screens out of roughly 4,000, touts itself as at the forefront of Europe’s 3D evolution. Roughly half of the 3D screens use reusable glasses, mostly made by Dolby.

The recommendations were issued by the health ministry in response to complaints filed by local consumer org Codacons.

“We are talking about a technology used all over the world, and no other nation has turned the glasses into a problem,” said Universal Pictures Italia topper Richard Borg.

Last month, Codacons’ health concerns prompted police to inspect 3D venues and confiscate some 7,000 pairs of 3D glasses.

Last week, the Cinelandia circuit, which operates 12 screens, canceled its 3D screenings of “Alice in Wonderland” and “Avatar,” fearing a second wave of police action.

The 3D box office does not seem to be suffering. “Alice,” in its third frame last weekend, held on to the top spot, pulling in $4.3 million from 650 screens.

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