Exhibs race to meet audience demand

There were 120 3D screens in Scandinavia at the end of last year, which reps 6% of the total 2,000 venues, many of which are situated in rural areas and equipped with only one screen. The research company Screen Digest projects the number of 3D screens to rise to 250 by 2013.

SF Bio, which has up to 70% share of the Swedish market as well as 20% of the Norwegian market, is one of the largest exhibitors in the region.

In Sweden, the company has 23 3D screens with another 13 tapped for upgrade out of a total of 241. Those screens cannot be available soon enough, as it is proving tough to keep up with audience demand as the number of 3D releases rises. At the 14-screen Gothenburg multiplex, when “Avatar” was showing in both 2D and 3D, twice as many seats were sold for the 3D version.

“The problem today is that we need more screens,” says Mats Kullander, VP building and development for SF Bio, “because we have 3D films coming one after another, and as we have only one or two 3D screens in each multiplex, we often have to move the pics around a bit too quickly.”

He says the aim is to have one 3D screen in every multiplex by the end of the year, and the longterm objective is to have three screens — one large, one medium and one small — in each, so films can be moved down.

Kullander is convinced that 3D has a strong future, both artistically and commercially. “I know that Ingmar Bergman would have loved 3D,” he says. “3D will just be another way of telling stories. When people like (James) Cameron and (Tim) Burton use 3D, they do it in a very artistic and thoughtful way.”

SF Bio charges a 30 SEK ($4.15) premium for 3D on top of the 95 SEK ($13.13) standard ticket price, or 32% extra.

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