Italian exhibs reach truce over 3D glasses

Health authorities raise issue with reused specs

Italian exhibitors and local health authorities have reached a truce in a clash over health concerns involving 3D glasses after some 7,000 pairs were confiscated.

At the center of the spat are three separate issues, each of which could be considered a potential “point of failure” for the 3D system, although local exhibs org Anec was quick to address them.

The first, and main, bone of contention involves charges by Italian consumer advocacy group Codacons that some exhibs were not providing “Avatar” auds with properly sanitized glasses. In some cases, the group claimed, reusable glasses were not being disinfected after each screening.

Codacons also has charged that most 3D glasses in use in Italy are made in China and do not have a European Union certification known as CE, which is required for certain products.

Third issue focuses on reports that Italian kids have begun stealing 3D glasses, using them as “cool shades.” This reportedly involves both disposable and reusable glasses.

The Codacons complaints prompted Italian police to inspect 3D venues all over the country early last week and confiscate about 7,000 pairs, 500 of which were from one unspecified location.

In a statement, Anec pledged to step up efforts to ensure that 3D glasses are disinfected prior to each use and said that an Italian “hygiene protocol” for this procedure is being devised in collaboration with the U. of Rome. Anec also said that CE certification of the glasses is not required by Italo law.

“These glasses are only for temporary use, and even if they lack the CE mark, they are not dangerous, as certified by the Italian society of ophthalmology,” said Anec topper Paolo Protti.

Since the Anec response last week, there have been no further raids by Italian police on 3D cinemas.

Meanwhile, Dolby, which provides most of the 3D glasses in use in Italy, issued a statement saying its Italian distributor has started providing “necessary notifications” that its glasses, which are reusable, must not be used outside movie theaters as sunglasses. Dolby added that the issue with Italian authorities has been resolved. As for hygiene, Dolby and its distribution vendors provide “recommended dishwasher vendors and an equipment requirement list” for exhibitors using its 3D glasses.

RealD, which provides disposable 3D glasses to Italo exhibitors, has reiterated that under EU rules the CE mark isn’t required and that its glasses are “intended for one-time use only.”

Italy, which claims 500 3D screens out of a total of roughly 4,000, touts itself as being at the forefront of Europe’s 3D evolution.

“Avatar,” which did not suffer much from the 3D glasses raids, is solidly ensconced at numero uno after six frames with a boffo $80 million cume-to-date, the alltime highest Italo theatrical intake.

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