Shrek Forever After, the fourth installment in the saga of the green CGI ogre, failed to meet even the "cautious expectations" of its producers at the weekend box office. Although the 3D film earned $71.3 million this weekend, its predecessor, Shrek 3, scored a much more imposing $122 million opening — without the benefit of inflated 3D ticket prices. Could Shrek Forever After's under-performance indicate that movie-goers are over Hollywood's transformative new technology? (Watch one fan's sarcastic review of the latest Shrek)
3D price hikes were the problem: "So much for the public's hunger for anything in 3D," says Carl DiOrio at the Hollywood Reporter. While "so-called upcharges on 3D admissions generally boost pic box office," this was beaten by both prior Shrek movies (both in 2D), and seems destined to be a relative flop for DreamWorks. In the light of this failure, exhibitors should "rethink pricing on family titles" in 3D.
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It was Shrek fatigue, not 3D, that killed this movie: Shrek Forever After's $71 million haul is still the "fourth-biggest opening weekend for a cartoon" in history, even if it does pale in comparison to Shrek 3's take, says Scott Mendelson at the Huffington Post. Though some commentators are pointing to 3D fatigue, 61 percent of tickets were sold for the premium 3D format. It's more likely the franchise's "mediocre" prior entry is to blame.
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Audiences are beginning to realise they're being ripped off: It's no wonder audiences are revolting over 3D ticket pricing, says Rich Greenfield, an analyst quoted in Barron's. We discovered theaters across New York "charging all different kinds of prices for the film" with AMC charging as much as $20, "a first ever for a movie ticket." Cinemas, now "concerned about consumer backlash over 3D pricing," seem to be squeezing dollars out of moviegoers while they can.
"DreamWorks: Shrek 4 pricing all over the place"