By Betsy Schiffman

April 15, Wired

Studio execs have an odd conundrum: Box-office receipts have steadily grown but the number of ticket sales have not. Thanks to the proliferation of home theaters, movies-on-demand and portable video players, moviegoers have fewer reasons to actually "go" to a movie. The studios' solution? Hike ticket prices by a couple bucks apiece and ramp up production of 3-D movies.

"It's pretty clear right now that you can charge a premium for 3-D," says Doug Creutz, an analyst with Cowen & Co., who covers the entertainment industry. "We're probably talking about the difference between $15 and $10 [tickets]. And attendance is much better for 3-D movies."

Filmmakers and studios alike have pledged their allegiance to 3-D. Disney and Pixar announced this week that it will release all of its films in 3-D, starting with Bolt, which is slated for a November release. Dreamworks Animation says that by 2009 all of its movies will be released in 3-D. James Cameron is working on big-budget 3-D sci-fi flick called Avatar, and George Lucas is working on remastering all the Star Wars movies in 3-D.

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photo: DreamWorks Animation's Monsters vs. Aliens is the studio's first movie produced in 3-D technology. It's slated for a March 2009 release.
Courtesy DreamWorks